“Poland, you’re so fucking lit,” A$AP Rocky marvels as moshpits swirl either side of him in front of Open’er’s main stage. Tonight (June 29), after two years away, the festival is back in business in Gdynia, a port city on the country’s Baltic coast, and festival-goers are ready to make up for lost time.
The New York rapper’s main stage-closing set doesn’t take long to reach peak chaos. The sounds of pneumatic drills and white noise blast out of the PA with eardrum-battering intensity before Rocky appears, mixing to make it feel like we’re not on a disused airfield at 12:30am but a construction site in his home city. After one almighty burst of noise, he makes his grand entrance, hopping around the stage in front of a gigantic crash test dummy adorned with the logo from his ‘Testing’ era.
From there, things only rocket upwards. ‘A$AP Forever’ has the whole crowd bouncing, while it doesn’t take long for bras to go flying towards the smaller b-stage in the middle of the audience. As each new one appears at his feet, Rocky picks them up and waves them over his head, clinging to them as he delivers versions of more lowkey tracks like ‘L$D’ and ‘Everyday’.
“Rock star levels only,” he commands at one point, and that’s exactly what both he and the crowd give each other; the rapper brings effortlessly cool attitude as plumes of smoke and pyrotechnics explode out the front of the stage, and fans react as enthusiastically as the display demands.
Earlier in the day, the main stage field gets taken over by another swarm of fans ready to cut loose. Since winning Eurovision in 2021, Måneskin have been on an ever-growing drive for world domination, winning over supporters across the globe with their flamboyant rock’n’roll. Just how successful they’ve become, though, is evident with one glance across the Open’er site as the band walk out to begin their performance. The crowd already fills half the field and, by the end of the set, it stretches back even further – it feels entirely possible that most people in attendance at the festival are watching the Italian band right now.
Part of the group’s appeal – aside from knowing their way around an anthemic rock song – is their cheeky attitude and that’s rife in their set today. As Måneskin get ready to launch into their set, frontman Damiano David wanders up to his male bandmates – drummer Ethan Torchio and guitarist Thomas Raggi – and plants a kiss on their lips. “That’s just to remind all the homophobes that you’re stupid assholes,” he declares, with a big grin on his face.
The rest of their performance is just as joyous. ‘Zitti E Buoni’ kicks things off in stomping style and ‘Mamma Mia’ ramps things up with David posing and strutting around the stage, but it’s the covers that go down biggest and best. ‘Beggin’’ ignites an enormous singalong, while a version of The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ has the thousands gathered moshing and headbanging in unison.
The whole thing feels like an audition for a headline slot – one that the four-piece (completed by guitarist Victoria De Angelis) pass with flying colours. They’re all too aware of it too. “I know it’s shit,” David tells the crowd when they grumble at his announcement that there’s only a few songs left. “It’s not my bad, it’s production’s bad. Complain to them – we could be headliners, but we’re not.” It seems unlikely he’ll be saying the same thing next year.