If you for some reason got tired of the mud during British festivals (ahem ahem, Leeds) then we can advise you to wind inland to a warmer spot in Europe in search of a good line up. This year our choice was the FM4 Frequency Festival in St Polten (Austria) a 3 day event located in the heart of the city, with the stages scattered in between football fields AND with a nonstop 35 degree weather.
A considerable amount of brave (but effusive less) Austrians gathered around the main stage at 2 pm to see Yuck‘s set with a concrete-melting sun hitting us from above like an anvil. The Vaccines had to cancel their appearance due to Justin’s voice issues and their spot was taken by Mona (who were supposed to be playing later that day on the indoor stage). Mona’s closing track “Lean Into The Fall” was mash-upped with the intro of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and as the band left the stage one by one with their instruments in hand, singer Nick stayed a bit longer doing an a Capella version of the chorus.
Up next was Two Door Cinema Club with a full house of people dancing and clapping happily to “Something Good Can Work”, wearing just bathing suits and drinking Desperados beer. With no pit stops we bounce around the fields to see Kele, Interpol and Hurts who ended just in time to catch Beady Eye.
“We’re Beady Eye and this is Four Letter Word” said Liam while standing defiantly on the verge of the stage, as if he needed the introduction… Oasis ex-frontman (who was wearing a classic green parka funny buttoned just on the top, forming an A) did not seem too impressed about the sound quality, or about the fact that half of the crowd left in the middle of his set to catch Kaiser Chiefs on the stage next door. Ricky Wilson’s gang is still going steady as one of the most enjoyable live bands around, but I don’t really know if I actually like the songs that much or it’s just that they are good entertainment.
Closing the day, The Kooks (that came straight from London’s Dingwalls just like us) appeared onstage with an invigorating energy and excitement to be showing off their brand new songs. Luke seemed ready to eat the world, and was left alone for a guitar solo version of “Seaside” followed by my personal favourite new track “Saboteur” which got Mr Pritchard singing from the piano.
As the main field closed down, the still buzzing crowd started to move towards the alternative electronic area (called the “Night Park”) situated a mile away. From what I heard, this set of tents and stages stayed alive all night, only closing down for a couple of hours at 9AM (I would assume that was in order to make some ice).
After a hectic first day we decided to take it a bit easier on Friday and took the morning to explore the surroundings, stopping at a small cabin/restaurant to get some typical Austrian sausages. Yum!
First stop of day two was supposed to be The View at the main stage but they were running late and were rescheduled for the evening, so we went for The Kills instead. At the bar the prices were in euros and the press area had a little tier from where you could see the stage so we rested there for a while re-hydrating (with beers). We saw The View’s singer Kyle arriving in a wheel chair with his right foot covered in bandages and immediately assumed that the delay was his fault. We then found out that he accidentally injured himself with a kitchen knife during an unfortunate maneuver, and that they were delayed because of a hurricane.
The storm almost hit us too during Elbow‘s set and singer Guy arranged the lines of “Grounds For Divorce” to say “Cloud gooo awaaay” unfortunately in spite of his efforts their set had to be cut off due to the insane rain.
We then went indoors to see The View at a smaller stage but with more time to play. Falconer’s stabbed foot did not affect the quality of the performance at all, and the only difference we could notice was that he was sitting on a little taburet, and that half of the band was wearing shorts.
The rain cleared up and Kasabian’s steaming set turned every punter’s wet clothes into sweat. My favorite moments were “Shoot The Runner” (which was dedicated by singer Tom to The View who were watching the set from the side of the stage) and “Fast Fuse” which was brilliantly transformed into “Misirlou” (from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack) and they did not just do the intro but the whole two and a half minutes of the track! Three songs from their just released album were premiered: “Days Are Forgotten”, “Velociraptor!” and “Switchblade Smiles” which set the ground for the big finale with a mega extended version of “Fire”.
Meighan was not the only one on fire that night, and for a moment near 2AM my party and myself thought that we were going to the Netherlands, it was a close one but we made it to day three of the festival in once piece. I was the only one brave enough to venture into the field during the early afternoon under the overbearing sun to see the sets of Ana Calvi (who managed to keep her rouge intact even with all the heat) and Hadouken, who’s infectious energy almost made me dance but any move felt like a Bikram Yoga session.
The true party began with Friendly Fires in the late afternoon were everyone (from the security guards to the last member of the audience on the very back at a kiosk asking for chips) was dancing trying (unsuccessfully) to follow singer Ed’s copyrighted moves. After a feel-good injection with “Kiss Of Life” everyone moved to the other stage to see The Ting Tings (WHY?!) but we stayed for a profound performance by Carl Barat in between a cloud of smoke coming half from his cig and half from stage props. Of course we had some Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things moments and also some time for a couple of fan request like “9 Lives” which Barat played in acoustic format. No matter how much I love his music.
Foo Fighters and Chemical Brothers were closing the weekend simultaneously and people looked confused running from one stage to the other in order to get a bit of both. As the mind blown punters walk in a slow caravan to the Night Park to continue dancing – where the party presumably was going down until 2012, we called it a night and returned to our improvised beds on the front and back seats of our car at the press parking. Good times.