Wiesen is a really nice festival location and we had almost perfect weather (it only rained before we came and only got a little cold towards the end). And the concerts were pretty nice – especially Mumford & Sons were great.
But first things first. We arrived, tried to find a parking space (which took a while as there were many people and then we got almost stuck in the mud) which we finally achieved when we were almost out at the other end of the parking area again. Then we strolled to the actual festival area where we (unfortunately) caught the last moments of Thees Uhlmann‘s concert (so not my cup of tea).
We got something to eat, then found a good spot at the back of the group up a small hill with an excellent view of the stage and got ready for Glen Hansard. I didn’t actually have a chance to listen to his new album much yet, but it is nice. Surprisingly, he didn’t play much of it, instead playing The Frames songs, The Swell Season songs and quite a few covers (e.g. Mic Christopher‘s HeyDay like last time I saw him life).
Glen Hansard obviously had fun, his guitar strings kept breaking and the mood was good. But the music is mostly very mellow and from time to time I caught myself a little bored, wishing for a little more tempo, a little more excitement and a little less “nicety.” Nevertheless I enjoyed myself and it was a good show.
But then Mumford & Sons came on and their show as just so freaking fantastic that Glen Hansard couldn’t keep up with them. (I had already forgotten how awesome they were the last time I saw them.) Not only were the guys really nice, they put on a great show. And I don’t have to mention that their music is really great, do I?
Unfortunately Marcus Mumford had broken his hand, but that didn’t seem to dampen his enthusiasm. It just meant that he played the drums instead of the guitar.
Apart from everything else, I absolutely loved their light design. It was so simple and yet really evocative and it reminded me of their beautiful videos.
I really can’t wait for September when their new album will finally be out. I don’t think that the show was enough to really tide me over until then.
Last band of the evening were The Kooks. I only just got into their music. I’d say it’s really nice pop music but it’s not wow. But as it’s very singalongable and pretty entertaining music, so I expected fun. Unfortunately though, somebody really fucked up their soundcheck.
Not only was the volume generally too loud, the vocals were too soft (seriously, I knew the lyrics to most songs. I still couldn’t understand them) and the bass was so amped up that it basically was everything you could hear. I actually had to flee to the very back of the area, muttering about how the rock concert was too loud and it just sounded like noise, feeling about 100 years old. But I swear it’s not my general reaction to loud music only to loud music that is very badly mixed.
And their lighting just sucked. Which was especially obvious after after Mumford & Sons’ simple but wonderful light show. The Kooks opted for more opulence and less feeling and atmosphere behind it.
As it was also getting colder, I probably would have left early, if M. hadn’t wanted to stay. At the back of the crowd it was quite okay, though. Especially whenever they played the calmer songs, the sound was quite okay, too. And the music is nice, so it ended up being fine. It was just not a particularly good concert.
Summarising: Any chance you get to see Mumford & Sons, take it.