Day 1, Wednesday August 24th
It’s time once again for Zürich Openair, held close to the Airport of Zürich Oerlikon in the industrial area of Glattbrugg, that is not particularly beautiful as it is close to the highway but that is great for a music festival! There’s not a bit of natural shade and as last year, the weather is super sunny and hot.
It took more than 1h wait to enter the Openair as the door opening was delayed, so the organization didn’t really do a good impression at first. But the many attractive indie and electro bands made up for it!
The Neighbourhood, Main Stage, 5:30pm-6:30pm
The American band puts on a proper show mainly thanks to its original singer. He plays hide and seek behind the curtains of the main stage, goofing around and remaining in his underwear because of the heat. This results in a fun concert, topped with humour and great music. The singer even comes down the stage and walks through the audience!
The style of The Neighbourhood has some R n’ B influences as well as rock, it is definitely an interesting mix. At this time of day there are not so many people in front of the big stage so the singer jokes saying “Hello Coachella!”, we’re not quite there yet…
Chvrches, Tent Stage, 6:30pm-7:30pm
The Scottish synth pop band is the replacement for Haim who had to cancel the entire European tour. A replacement that may have disappoint many, as the two bands are not in any way similar to each other. Chvrches is focused on electronic background and a lot of synth sounds which get quite repetitive as the concert unfolds. However the great voice of singer Lauren Mayberry attracts the attention of the audience keeping it away from the repetitive sounds.
The Last Shadow Puppets, Main Stage, 7:30pm-8:30pm
The Last Shadow Puppets is a super group formed by Arctic Monkeys’ front man Alex Turner, his bestie and ex-Rascals Miles Kane, Mini Mansions’ bassist Zachary Dawes and James Ford on drums. The band made its come back after 8 years in April 2016 with the release of the new album Everything You’ve Come to Expect. A highly awaited come back after their first masterpiece The Age Of The Understatement (2008).
No screen or no big scenography, on stage besides the instruments there is just a yellow curtain at the very back. The first to make their entrance are the three violinists and the violoncellist, the four girls take their seat on the right side of the stage. They start playing the remarkable violin sounds primed in The Age of the Understatement as the lads come in one after the other with Miles and Alex coming in last, welcomed by the screams of the excited audience.
The band breaks the ice by playing “The Age Of The Understatement” that with its marching rhythm is one of the public’s favourites. The rest of the concert is an unfolding of newer and older songs, with the new songs having a bit less classical music into them, although the arches give a great orchestra atmosphere to the songs. Miles and Alex intercalate the singing, often playing the guitar simultaneously and doing the vocals, from the grunge and very rock “Bad Habits” to the very sweet “Standing Next To Me”. For some songs the band is joined on stage by additional musicians.
As I had already noticed when I saw them in Milano at the beginning of July, Miles Kane seems the one most into the thing, interacting with the audience and such, whereas Alex Tuner is goofing around on stage making his moves. This time he has no need to comb his hair as he has no gel in it. He gets more into the gig towards the second half where he beautifully and passionately sings “Sweet Drems, TN”.
The complicity between Miles and Alex is present throughout the gig, besides sharing a cigarette, at one point they come to the front side of the stage and sing together in one microphone. They also play a beautiful and quiet version of “Everything You’ve Come To Expect”.
This might have been the first and the last time that The Last Shadow Puppets play in Switzerland as, if they announced earlier, the band is going to be over with touring at the end of the Summer with each member, sadly, going his way.
Foals, Tent Stage, 8:45-9:45pm
This year the UK indie scene is very well represented at Zürich Openair. One of the highlights is Foals, alternative rock band which has that turn of guitars and the voice of singer Yannis Philippakis which are very recognizable and incredibly attractive.
Foals play songs taken from the last album What Went Down (2015), like the eponymous song which is very rock within powerful drums and heavy riffs.
One of the best songs live still remains “Spanish Sahara” taken from the album Total Life Forever (2010), with its long unfolding, the song lasts nearly seven minutes, starting very slowly and reaching the climax half way with a burst of electronic sounds and drums’ beats, sublime!
The band makes the audience dance and sing along to the notes of the catchy “My Number”.
M83, Tent Stage, 10:45pm-12am
French band M83 transforms the Tent Stage into a dance floor, with colourful guitar riffs, keyboards keys and drums’ beats. The electronic sounds in the background are rigorously played simultaneously to the colourful lights.
Mixing rock sounds to dream pop and synthesizers the explosive effect is granted! The band also plays songs from the latest album Junk.
One of the highlights is certainly when M83 plays “Midnight City”, a great tune that gets the audience screaming and dancing along.
A first day filled with heat, craziness and indie & electro anthems!