Mere hours ago Lisbon’s Optimus Alive festival drew to a close following performances from Kings of Leon, Depeche Mode and Green Day, amongst others. NME was there to catch all the action. Here’s five things we learnt over the weekend.
Although they were playing a relatively early slot by their standards, the Scottish trio owned day one of Optimus. With shirts off, tats out and sweary enthusiasm high, Biffy Clyro commanded the stage as if they, not Green Day, were headlining it. Sure, their 45 minutes in Lisbon will be at least doubled back on home soil but that just gives them even more time to squeeze the likes of ‘Glitter And Trauma’, ‘Living Is A Problem...’ and ‘Who’s Got A Match?’ in to make their set the creme de la creme of Biffy performances. Throw in the heaps of fireworks drummer Ben Johnston promised when NME caught up with him backstage and it looks like their bill-topping sets at Reading and Leeds are destined to be bona fide triumph.
Nick Allbrook might have parted ways with Tame to concentrate on Pond but don’t think that’s going to derail Kevin Parker’s motley crew. Playing on the main stage on the festival’s final night, the Aussie psych troupe proved themselves more than capable of carrying on without him by putting in a stunning set featuring the likes of ‘Enders Toi’, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’, ‘Elephant’ and an intense ‘Half Full Glass Of Wine’. Almost enough to make you say “Nick who?”
Everyone from Green Day to Editors, Phoenix to Vampire Weekend made the effort to learn how to say thank you in Portuguese but it was left to Biffy Clyro to go that extra mile and drop in some whole phrases. They might later have admitted they were from a cheat sheet but the crowd lapped it up and responded all the more rapturously as a result. Doing the tiniest bit of homework goes a long way.
Of all the bands playing at 2013’s edition of Optimus Alive, NME only saw one cause a genuine roadblock. Cambridge’s Alt-J might have been far from home but they seemed to bring the love and enthusiasm they’ve been shown in the UK with them. Getting near the Palco Heineken Stage for their set was a nightmare in the first place but once you were there, seas of people would flood past you, trying to get a glimpse of the Mercury Award winners.
At least not if he regularly closes them in the same manner he did on Friday night. Keeping the main stage alive after Green Day had been and gone, the electro house producer brought the night to an end by picking up a cake from the side of the stage and launching it into the faces of the front row.