Open’er Festival 2018: David Byrne, Yonaka and Depeche Mode reign supreme on day 2

Here's what went down...

David Byrne really wants you to know what’s on his mind. Quite literally. We know this from the minute that his dazzling set begins on the second day of Open’er Festival 2018 – with the former Talking Heads man clutching a plastic brain as he sits barefoot at a table.

It might seem a bit Hamlet, but it marks the beginning to one of the most uniquely thrilling festival sets that we’ve witnessed in years.

Throughout his hour long set, Byrne is flanked by a team of sharply suited dancers who religiously follow his every move – making the whole thing feel like an acclaimed theatre show that’s about to clean up at the Tony Awards.


After opening with ‘Here’, Byrne segues straight into ‘Lazy’, a title that is undoubtedly at odds with the workhorse like showmanship that he continually displays through the show.

There’s also a brief show of solidarity with the Polish crowd too – after the country was recently rocked by a series of controversial governmental reforms.

“We hope and we pray for better times”, Byrne tells the crowd to huge applause.

And as the set nears its end, Byrne ensures that no Talking Heads fan is left disappointed. A stunning rendition of ‘Blind’ is immediately followed by the frenzied pop of ‘The Great Curve’ and the unremitting funk of ‘Burning Down The House’.

After Byrne we head straight to the Alter Stage – where Yonaka waste no time in proving why they’re being touted as one of the UK’s brightest lights.


Their live show is biblical, as singer Theresa Jarvis prowls the stage with a relentless energy that makes the Duracell bunny look positively lethargic.

Yonaka at Open’er Festival 2018 (Ben Bentley/NME)

It just so happens that their songs are tailor-made for festivals too. ‘Bubblegum’ sparks one of the first mosh-pits that the alter stage has seen all weekend, while ‘Fucking With The Boss’ is an empowering call-to-arms that acts as the perfect set closer.

They later proclaim it to be their favourite show to date, and it’s frightening to think that they’re this good before even releasing an album. At this rate, you wouldn’t bet against them taking top billing in a few years from now.

And as the main section of Day 2 draws to a close, Depeche Mode turn back the clock with a set that defies a career of almost 40 years.

Dave Gahan proves to be the musical equivalent of Benjamin Button – all slinking hips and beguiling struts with the energy of someone who has only experienced half of his 56 years on earth.

Depeche Mode at Open’er Festival 2018 (Andy Hughes/NME)

There’s excitement for newer material from 2017’s ‘Spirit’, but inevitably it’s the hits that bring the party – with the Polish crowd erupting for the darkened funk of ‘Personal Jesus’.

Inevitably it’s the quintessentially 80s funk of ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ that closes proceedings – bringing a party-starting conclusion to a stunning second day of the festival.

Bring on day three.