“We were trying to learn some Nick Cave songs, but they were way too difficult, so we’re just going to play some Undertones songs instead,” guitarist John O’Neill jokes, referring to the headliner. last night, before the launch of his group. in a fiery version of ‘Jimmy Jimmy’. The nuances have survived the decades surprisingly well, and the crowds they draw to the explosive stage on Saturday night at the EXIT Festival are a testament to their place in music history. Their selection of tense songs from the early 1970s punk rock rush is good enough to match anyone, and the likes of “Wednesday Week,” “It’s Going to Happen,” and “My Perfect Cousin” all still sound vital and alive. .
Paul McLoone, who took over as frontman in 1999 after the departure of Feargal Sharkey, has both sharp Northern Irish humor and impressive vocal power. As the timeless “Teenage Kicks” arrives, the crowd hits the merge button. The words of their former manager Terri Hooley still ring true: “When it comes to punk, New York has the haircuts, London has the pants, but Belfast has the reason.”
Generations of artists rub shoulders at EXIT, and on the Fusion stage, one of the current stars is Isle of Wight’s coach party, who are currently living their best life. Their double guitar attack is captivating, but it’s vocalist/bassist Jess Eastwood’s narration that sets the indie rockers apart. Tracks from their EPs “After Party” and “Nothing is Real” sparkle, and the band’s infectious enthusiasm leaps from the stage. It feels like they’re in disbelief about spending their summers touring European festivals playing their music, but if this performance is anything to behold, they better get used to it.
Leaving the Fusion Stage area, which Coach Party had made look like Brighton’s The Great Escape – an annual festival focused on new music – had been transposed to Serbia, and to the main stage where calvin harris is about to appear, it’s like traveling between galaxies. The joyous diversity of what EXIT Festival offers is such that even this short walk involves passing through stages that in turn sound techno, reggae and punk. The 2022 festival slogan “Together Always” proves true: it’s a place where all forms of music are welcome, and people are invited to come together to enjoy it in unity.
Bad luck for all the artists playing during Calvin Harris’ set, though. Tens of thousands of people gather on the main stage, glow sticks on, for a walk through some of the world’s most recognized pop music of the past decade. Is it possible to be glued by a setlist? He weaves his way through one mega-hit after another, each received more enthusiastically by EXIT revelers than the last, as Harris casually tosses the choruses of his A-list friends from Rihanna to Dua Lipa and Sam Smith.
You have to remember that this is not just a mainstream club night playlist, but the work of one man’s contribution to culture. Harris may be trading familiarity over invention, but at this point he’s hitting people in their nostalgia zone and that’s the ultimate festival headliner job. For this ecstatic crowd, he couldn’t have done better.