From Lana Del Rey's theatrical flourishes to The xx's mood-stirring majesty, these were the pictorial highlights of Gothenburg's annual indie extravaganza.
Lana Del Rey brought her own onstage ’50s cinema. Thee Oh Sees played transparent guitars. London Gammas went double denim and, by the look of these pictures of the weekend, MØ came dangerously close to being trampled to death by a 2:1 scale version of herself. Yes, 2017’s Way Out West festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, was certainly a sight to behold, and here are some of the best of ’em.
25,000 seriously up-fer-it sophisticates descended on Slotsskogen Park in Gothenburg on Thursday for the weekender so famously environmentally friendly that no meat or milk are allowed onsite. Hence scenes of savage protein deficiency such as these.
North Carolina’s Angel Olsen was an early highlight, leading her besuited band through treasures from her acclaimed ‘My Woman’ album such as ‘Shut Up And Kiss Me’.
Mike Hadreas’ flamboyant Perfume Genius show in the Linne tent landed with a bang, his chamber pop and electronic experiments regularly combusting into fireballs of synthetic fuzz while Mike gyrated like a Miley Cyrus video stuck on slo-mo.
Denmark’s MØ thrilled the Gothenburg teen screamers waiting for Major Laser on Friday with a couple of their hits, including her world-beating guest spot ‘Lean On’. Watch out for the giant MØ behind you, though…
Mac Demarco’s Friday afternoon set was typically fun and un-slick, as his band poured scotch into his mouth midsong and he went crowd-surfing to ‘Chamber Of Reflection’, probably the least crowd-surfey song of the weekend. That isn’t by The xx.
Cataclysmic rock’n’roll clatter, sirs? Right this way. Thee Oh Sees and their two front-of-stage drummers melted plentiful faces with their tempestuous tornado of sound, with John Dwyer whooping like the MC5 on a rollercoaster and his band sounding like Way Out West was being haunted by the spirit of the Cavern Club in 1963.
On a bill short on full-on grunge noir fury, Greg Dulli’s mighty Afghan Whigs roared like the bullish beasts they are. Although few eyes were dry by the end of ‘Can Rosa’, a tribute to their guitarist Dave Rosser, who died in June.
The xx were by far the biggest draw of the weekend, a rammed crowd crushing close to capture every subtle lilt of ‘Say Something Loving’, ‘VCR’ and ‘Brave For You’. And dropping Jamie xx’s ‘Loud Places’ into the set meant that Gothenburg’s disco pants even got a mild jiggle.
They were blown clean off by Major Laser of course, headlining Friday night with their eye-boggling DJ extravaganza.
Sunday, the heavens opened, but Way Out West didn’t let that dampen their spirits. It just smuggled its spirits in under its pacamacs.
London Grammar and Band Of Horse caught the worst of the downpour but muddled through, the windswept alt-rock of ‘Is There A Ghost’ and ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’ enough to make you forget all about your soggy gusset for an hour.
A rare festival appearance from Regina Spektor stole the weekend, her off-kilter piano pop and classical brooders bewitching WOW and leaving Spektor herself battling tears from the ‘Samson’ sing-along.
Lana Del Rey closed out the weekend with an enthrallingly downbeat and theatrical set dripping Old Hollywood glamour and tragedy. Although she did break the fourth wall by taking selfies with the front row rather than going off for an encore.