Out of the Woods Festival 2017

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You know that feeling you get when you watch good music, when your mind slowly drifts off into a different universe and separates from your physical form as you become one with the beats and sounds around you – it’s fucking amazing. That’s the only way to describe the feeling we had on Friday night at Out of The Woods festival as Foals took to the stage and went through hit after pounding, intense, math-rock hit. Ok, so the beer probably helped, and maybe I had a touch of sunstroke, but there’s no denying that Foals make good music.


Out of the Woods – Into the Fire

You’re probably wondering why we’re writing something now after a considerable break, or maybe not, maybe you didn’t even notice we were gone. Anyway, it’s like when you meet a friend, agree to meet up again as soon as possible and then nine months go by – all the while you have the thought in your head to get in touch with them, but something else comes up and you forget again, then you meet up and think: ‘why the fuck did it take us this long to meet up again’ that’s kind of what happened, I guess.

Something clicked listening to Foals in that alcohol-enthused, sun-drunk, Sweat-drenched, borrowed-shorts state, like a switch had been turned back on. Anyway, here’s goes nothing – this is how we experienced the Out of The Woods festival.

Everything is better in the dark

I was really looking forward to watching Nihils, and we made a massive effort to get there on time for them as well, only to get there a little too late due to an unexpected costume change and too many pivo stops. Or at least we thought we’d missed them until I heard the distinct sounds of Breathing from backstage, it would have been rude to ask Joe Mount from Metronomy if he could wait while we went and checked them out though.

Schmieds Puls were up next. A wonderfully melodic bands with beautifully touching songs, but also perfect background music for other activities.

As the air cooled and the beer flowed things got busier on the main stage for Metronomy, a band that has more hits than many expect or give them credit for, and they bashed them out in full force as hips swung and beer spilled to the sounds of The Bay, The Look and newer tracks like Night Owl.


With the crowd now truly warmed up and the sun slowly setting Foals took to the stage and showed why they are one of the best bands out there at the moment. It’s not everyday you see a band switch so smoothly from indie math-rock to mosh-pit inducing – and we’re talking massive mosh-pit inducing – music. People were sucked into the maelstrom of arms and legs by the dozen as girls battled to keep their dresses on and lads practiced their best flying kicks to some of the bands heavier tracks. Bellisimo.


After such an impressive display it was going to take something special from headliners Phoenix to steal the show, and while the music was dance-friendly and utterly perfect, they never really got the crowd going as they would have hoped. Perhaps their massive stage mirror and Las Vegas style lights were too distracting? With the encore in full swing it seemed as if singer Thomas Mars realised he needed to do something unorthodox to make this a show to remember, and that is what he did, by embarking on a ten minute crowd surf through the masses before literally standing on people hands and probably heads to finish the final song of the set.

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It was then off to the after party where we learned one essentially vital rule. Never. Ever. Piss off the driver of your only option to get home.

Click here for day 3.

Out Of The Woods Festival – Day 3


Rain, sun and lack of sleep

After the festivities of day two it was no surprise that the third and final day of the festival would be a little more hung over and slower than the rest, which makes it all the more surprising that the organisers opted to go with the line-up they did, consisting of difficult on-stage personas, slow-burning song writers and radio-friendly folk pop.

Farewell Dear Ghost kicked off the main stage to a very decent turn out as they played their way through their set packed full of solid songs without ever really taking it up a notch. They’re a great band, but somehow too clean for their own good.

As the rain came crashing down around the trees Cigarettes After Sex took to the stage in front of a full crowd more interested in keeping dry than listening to the music, and this isn’t music to stand around to in the rain. Their songs are great, but man are they boring live. Time to stock up on electrolytes at the bio pommes stand.

It was time to explore and leave the comfort of the main stage for the sticky confines of the 2nd stage for Lea Santee and her mix of electro-pop beats and impressive voice. It was a welcome change of pace after Cigs and if she can speed up the – at times painfully – long breaks between songs without talking to the crowd then she’s definitely one to watch out for.

Some bands are very upbeat and positive on stage, and there is The Strumbellas friendly. The Canadian band brought some sunshine and smiles to the main stage in front of a considerable crowd as they belted through their repertoire of radio-friendly hits, while a wave of people on the grass went: ‘Ah, they’re the ones who wrote that song!’  It’s hard to not like these guys, even if you try, those damn songs will stay in your head for hours.

Benjamin Clementine was next up on the main stage, a man who has been much hyped and who’s reputation is slowly taking a persona of its own. Benjamin can at times be a little misunderstood, he lives for the music and doesn’t really enjoy playing in front of a crowd, despite the theatrics on video. And it was his attempts at opening up to the crowd and communicating that unfortunately overshadowed the music as he told the people chilling on the grass to either stand up and watch the music or ‘fuck off’. He then proceeded to teach us all the last line of London to force a sing-a-long before apologizing and continuing with his impressive show. He’s a wonderful artist and a humble man to talk to, but he has a bit of work to do on his on-stage persona.

Austria’s favourite adopted SOHN took to the stage for the penultimate show of the evening, not much to say about this one – it was pretty much what we’ve come to expect from him as he combined his outstanding voice to hypnotizing beats and a light show to be proud of.


Headline News

Now, we’re going to try to be as nice as possible here, because Feist is a wonderfully talented musician and deserved of the success she has, but this was a mistake. Both the decision to give her the headline slot and her choice of how to go about it resulted in major disappointment. If you’re going to headline a festival then you need to bring out the big guns, the hits that people know you for and play them. If it’s your gig then you’re welcome to try something new with old hits, or play new songs, but that’s not what festivals are for. Whether she over-estimated how many people would know her new stuff or appreciate her trying something different with the hits that ‘have been around for more than ten years’ who knows, but this just didn’t work, and it is a massive shame, as it could have been so good – instead the sound of the crowd talking about the rain was at times louder than the music on stage.

As the rain crashed down all around us and Feist whispered her way through Mushroom there was time to sum up the festival in general. It’s a great thing they have going on at a location that will continue to be one of the best for intimate events, but there is room for improvement.

Feist at Out of The Woods festival
Shoe gazing during Feist…