The Rock um Knuedler is the most important open air festival to sample what’s going on in Luxembourg’s music scene. The headliners are always aimed at our parents’ generation, but the people in charge of the programme had again a good hand at picking a quite varied array of bands, even if some complained that the frugal metalcore scene should have been present too.
The festival started at 3pm with Granny’s Favouritz on the Horse stage, followed half an hour later by avant prog big band Traumkapitän on the Lion stage. I missed these two bands because I was still busy doing my radio show at nearby ARA, interviewing five of the local participating bands.
When I was discharged at 4pm, gothic pop rockers Pale Obsession had just started their set on the Horse stage, and I am sorry to say that they haven’t improved a bit since their EP one and a half year ago. Their songwriting is much too harmless, the rhythm section too rigid, and everything they do has been done much better before.
Metro played in a full d:qliq the night before, and today they were announced on the Lion stage as the band with the hit single “She Went Under” which is also used in an advertisement. Not really a lucky introduction, but their set was tight enough to entrance the already numerous audience. The sunny weather helped of course, but it can also not be denied that the quality level of local music increased dramatically the last few years, which again is due to the better attention the artists get from local radio stations.
Now was already the time for me to be banned at one beer stand, where the two women-like creatures tried to cheat me on the beer price, and I decided, not too nicely, that the stupid ****s could keep their beers. Sorry, but I don’t see the point why two stands of the same brewery use two different pricing systems. How stupid do you idiots think we are?
Metro may have brought indie rock back to Luxembourg, but Glitter and Trauma are on their way to conquer the throne. The youngsters that met at the European school have sky high egos and a sure hand for great songwriting. So who cares if they stumbled at times when they had so much passion for their show that you couldn’t help being mesmerised by their ferocious attitude. The double vocals also added cool touches. They were definitely the best band of the day!
Versus You opened for Avril Lavigne a few weeks before, and today they had an easy game with the audience at the Lion stage. Their whole attitude has become totally professional, and those familiar with the band noticed that there have been so many hits on their two albums, that they had no problem stringing one classic after another. Even three year olds clapped their hands on the shoulders of their mothers.
Miaow Miaow also convinced again and were much luckier than a few weeks before in Dudelange when it was raining hard. Their catchy indie pop has enough hooks to make them more than just an interesting addition to the local scene, and what started as something like a supergroup has turned into one of the most consistent local providers of accessible indie rock.
The Lion stage had, after half an hour delay, the Band Of Gnawa on next, and their only sales argument was to have Telephone guitarist Louis Bertignac among them. They were nothing but an average cover band with a couple of indigenously dressed Africans to give the whole thing a crossover touch between Seventies rock and Afro rock. This was no Osibisa, but a cheap attempt at cashing in on the ethnic hype.
Babyoil meanwhile rocked truer on the Horse stage, and like always, they proved to be one of the meanest and most uncompromising rock bands at the moment. I can’t add much what hasn’t been said before, only that it’s time for them to start with the new songwriting, as the old standards need some refreshing new additions.
Sulivan’s indie rock was ok, if a little harmless, and then I wandered to the Lion stage where former Supertramp vocalist Roger Hodgson was interpreting on keyboards and acoustic guitar many classics of his former band. Only accompanied by a saxophonist, he made clear that his voice is still fantastic, and even if these solo versions had deserved a more intimate setting, the thousands of fans were still mesmerised.
And that’s when I decided to head home, missing the other headliner Alan Parsons with his Live Project.
All in all, this has been one of the better Rock um Knuedler festivals. The weather was just great, the bands mostly very good, and the audience finally takes a higher interest in local music. What else can we wish for?