Radiohead closed the first day at Open’er 2017 with a career-spanning set on the Orange Main Stage. Clad in a long trench coat, Thom Yorke’s piercing vocals helped cut through the blustery conditions as he and the band eased into opening track ‘Daydreaming’, taken from last year’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’. In playful mood, Yorke conducted the crowd’s clapping with a few swishes of his hand, as well as chuckling and gurgling his way through 24 songs that included six cuts from 2007’s ‘In Rainbows’ and four from 1997 fan favourite ‘OK Computer’.
Those hoping for a repeat of Glastonbury’s greatest hits rundown from last week were disappointed. But Thom Yorke and co. more than made up for the lack of ‘Creep’ and ‘Karma Police’ with a stunning performance that finished nearly an hour after its allotted time limit at the Polish festival.
Held in the green fields of Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport near Gdansk in northern Poland, Open’er is now in its 16th year and boasts a whopping 97 acts over five stages. Previous headliners include Blur, Arctic Monkeys, Drake, Bjork and Rihanna which is an impressive roster for any festival.
Getting things going on Wednesday were Royal Blood, who appeared second on the Main Stage after popular Warsaw band Sorry Boys. The Brighton duo were on top form, ripping through quick-fire renditions of ‘Lights Out’ and ‘I Only Lie When I love You’ before singer Mike Kerr declared Poland “the best fucking place to play music in the world.”
Not even a sore throat — twice Kerr apologised to the crowd for his hoarse-sounding voice — could put a dampener on Royal Blood’s thrilling set. Their brand of fiery garage-rock whipped the crowd into a 60-minute frenzy that didn’t let up until the last stage-crumbling riff.
Next up was James Blake with an intense performance that commanded total attention from an emotional crowd. Blake’s intricate indie-jazz compositions can struggle to connect with festival audiences, but at Open’er yesterday several members of the crowd were openly weeping.
Highlights included the soulful ‘Love Me In Whatever Way’, bluesy earworm ‘Limit To Your Love’ and melancholic ballad ‘The Wilhelm Scream’, all met with roars of approval from punters.
At the same time on the Tent Stage, Solange was busy helping Poland find its inner funk with the most ‘70s-influenced show of the summer. From the backing singers’ giant hair to her own bright orange leather trousers, it couldn’t have been more of a throwback.
Playing songs mostly taken from last year’s ‘A Seat At The Table’, the younger Knowles sister started a disco dance party Donna Summer would have been proud of. She closed with defiant nu-soul banger ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, but apparently she wasn’t ready to stop dancing yet.
Instead, the Texas-born singer was later spotted getting down to Radiohead’s second encore over by the Main Stage. Fusing the Polish national anthem with their own famous tune ‘The National Anthem’, Yorke, Greenwood and the gang delighted not only Solange, but tens of thousands of boozed-up Poles. Following it up with set-closer and ‘The Bends’ classic ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out)’ was the icing on the cake.
Open’er Festival continues this week with headline performances from Foo Fighters tonight and The Weeknd on Friday. Final headliner The xx play on Saturday.