Little about InMusic festival made sense last week. It began on a Monday afternoon, ended with French clowns in huge inflatable suits marching through the site on stilts and the karaoke tent didn’t seem to feature any songs recorded after 1997. But the 25,000-capacity event, set beside a picturesque lake in Croatian capital Zagreb, was enjoying a massive knees-up for its 10th anniversary, so sensibleness was beside the point.
With an amazing line-up that included the likes of Future Islands, Eagles of Death Metal and La Roux, no one even cared that the weather absolutely shitted it down on the second day. In fact a bunch of people opted to wade barefoot through the waterlogged Main Stage field. On that cheering note, here are the five finest performances from InMusic 2015…
Kate Tempest lovebombing the audience
Sarf London rapper and poet Kate Tempest reminded us why her 2014 debut ‘Everybody Down’ was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize. The record is a claustrophobic thing, trading in uncompromising tales of urban decay, but her stage presence was anything but confrontational. Tempest blew kisses to the crowd and looked overjoyed at the carnage caused by her 2014 single ‘Circles’. It wasn’t a polished show – between songs she mimed directions to her drummer and backing singer – but felt all the more vital for that.
There’s no other band like Future Islands
You saw the Future Islands performance on Letterman last year, right? Good news: singer Samuel T. Herring still dances like a man possessed (we like to think he literally doesn’t stop and just lives his life that way). The thing is, it’s still amazing. He’s so ordinary looking that when he busts a move, Herring’s like a Geography teacher having an emotional breakdown – like Steve Pemberton playing Henry Rollins – and it was heartening to see so many people admiring his weirdness.
Placebo provided a rush of nostalgia
Whatever the soundtrack to your adolescent angst, that music never loses it power over you. If you thought Brian Molko was a God in 2003, your heartbeat quickens at the sight of him singing ‘Every You Every Me’ on the Main Stage (even you haven’t slammed a bedroom door in about 10 years). The set traded quite heavily in 2006 album ‘Meds’, making an excellent case for it as an underrated album that easily holds its own against ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ (1988) and their 1996 self-titled debut.
La Roux left her baggage at the gates
Elly Jackson seems to carry a fair amount of baggage these days, having fallen out with record label Polydor and former collaborator Ben Langmaid, but you wouldn’t know that from her World Stage show, which was as bouncy and euphoric as anything we saw at InMusic. She danced about against a tropical backdrop, occasionally slinging on her guitar to join the band in playing her shimmery synth-pop. If this is what disgruntled looks like, Jackson must be a thousand volts when everything’s swell.
FFS summed up the whole shebang
And it wasn’t exactly a meat-and-potatoes performance from FFS, the Franz Ferdinand and Sparks collabo. As the supergroup twirled through their camp guitar pop, keyboardist Ron Mael played sombrely in the corner like the Phantom of the Opera, yet during ‘So Desu Ne’ he leapt to the front of the stage to ape and swagger while the band pounded on bass drums in the background. Ridiculously good fun and giving very few fucks about your expectations, it pretty much summed up InMusic 2015.