A hot sun welcomes the festival goers on the grounds of Zürich Openair, close to Zürich Airport, on this Monday 23rd August 2017. There are quite a few people lining up as the festival opens its doors at 3pm. The first gig is at 4pm and there are already people in front of the big stage eager to kick off this 4-day openair. So let’s see how the audience was treated!
Baba Shrimps, Main Stage, 4pm-4.45pm
Baba Shrimps are a local band, they come from Zürich so they feel totally at home at the festival. They deliver their sunny pop songs sprinkled with electronic sounds. The audience dances and waves hands in the air. The three band-members, Adrian Kübler (vocals/guitar), Moritz Vontobel (drums) and Luca Burkhalter (keys) are very talented and released a new album Road to Rome, from which they play a few songs, in June 2017. One of the liveliest songs is the single “Road to Rome”, with its very catchy pop sounds that make you sing along to it and groove.
A great Swiss band which has already opened for bands like Kings of Leon and Kodaline.
Debrah Scarlett, Tent Stage, 4.45pm-5.30pm
Debrah Scarlett has long curly red hair and a sublime crystal voice. On stage she is accompanied by Annie Goodchild as a vocalist, who is a very talented singer herself, as well as four musicians. Debrah Scarlett and her band mostly play beautiful ballads accompanied by guitars, keys and drums. It’s the perfect gig to sit down and relax, or stand up and let the her delicate voice cuddle you.
Phantogram, Main Stage, 5.30pm-6.30pm
New York duo Phantogram is formed by Josh Carter (vocals, guitars) and Sarah Barthel (vocals, keyboards). On stage with them there are two additional members. The band plays an electro-rock mixing powerful guitar riffs with electronic beats and synths sounds. The intertwining of electronic beats and guitar riffs, as well as the female and male voices add diversity to their music as well as colour, clashing with the lyrics which are thoughtful and sad at times.
Towards the end of the concert Sarah Barthel takes a moment to share a touching thought about suicide prevention telling the audience that her sister Becky took her own life a year and a half ago and that it is ok to feel sad sometimes but that is also all right to tell others when you feel bad or someone close to you is. Phantogram’s album Three (2016) is dedicated to Sarah’s sister and the processing of her passing. She then announces the next song “Cruel world” which she dedicates to her sister Becky.
First Aid Kit, Main Stage, 7.30pm-8.30pm
First Aid Kit is a Swedish duo composed by the two young sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg. When they start playing you realize that you are further away from Sweden than you could ever imagine. The music these two talented sisters offer is an indie folk which finds its roots in the American country of the Far West. They both sing and this gives their songs a livelier touch, on stage they are accompanied by three additional members playing guitar, drums and keyboards and trombone.
Mumford & Sons, Main Stage, 9.30pm-11pm
The lights on stage darken and the audience gets all excited for the arrival of Mumford & Sons on stage. The band formed by singer Marcus Mumford (guitar, drums), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboard, piano, synthesizer), Winston Marshall (vocals, electric guitar, banjo) and Ted Dwane (vocals, bass guitar, double bass), opens the dances with “Snake Eyes” a lively rock song taken from their last album Wilder Mind (2015). The audience starts jumping and singing along straight away, lead by the guitar riffs and drum beats as well as Marcus Mumford’s beautiful voice. On they go with their precious older song “Little Lion Man” taken from their first album Sigh No More (2009), which includes banjo and double bass, the public sings along to it even louder than before.
The concert unfolds with some more older songs like “White Blank Page”, broken off by Marcus Mumford interacting with the audience and such. He tries to speak German but says the only thing he can say is “Happy birthday Ted” which he says each time even if it’s not Ted’s birthday. So the audience intones a “Happy Birthday” song a little out of tune. During “Ditmas”, Marcus Mumford comes off the stage, he goes to one of the sides and walks to the back of the audience and makes his way towards the stage literally in the middle of the crowd while singing. From out there he says “Are you gonna dance with me?”, the answer is given in screams of excitement and people jumping up and down. He is such an amazing performer.
He invites on stage to play with them Swedish duo First Aid Kit. They play a stunning version of “Awake my Soul” where Marcus Mumford’s voice and the voices of the two sisters intertwine each other. Mumford & Sons frequently invite on stage other artists to play with them. It’s a concert filled with surprises and special effects such as smoke and black and white confettis popping up in the air.
Before playing “Believe” the singer asks the audience to take out lighters and switch on the lights on the cell phones and wave them in the air, from the stage the public must look as a starry sky.
For the encore the light darkens as the lads come out and gather around a microphone to play an acoustic version of “Cold Arms”, it is quiet and very touching. They then play one of their liveliest banjo songs “I Will Wait” which, after a false start in which Marcus Mumford changes the guitar, gets the audience jumping and singing along like crazy. It’s incredible how Mumford & Sons can drag you into their live shows, whether you’re up front or further back it doesn’t matter they take you in from beginning to end.
They end in beauty with “The Wolf” with red fireworks setting off from one side and the other of the stage, leaving the audience happily in awe.
A first day in the name of indie-folk and electro-rock!