Rock fans are arrogant snobs. This can already be felt at the beginning of the second day at the Tempelhof Sounds Festival. Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi from the Australian formation The Avalanches try their best to carry the audience along with their danceable sample sound in the oppressive midday heat.
They compiled their debut album “Since I Left You” from 3500 song snippets. And so the festival spectators prefer to deal with lively reference guesses than to throw their hands in the air when asked to do so.
Euphoria only sets in when the much-celebrated British post-punk band Idles enters the main stage in the afternoon. The five musicians are currently the most prominent musical representatives of the Brexit generation. Like the Sleaford Mods show that played at the festival the day before, their songs force you to look into the broken mirror of modern Britain.
Singer Joe Talbot barks and grunts over harsh riffs, edgy drums and a powerful bass. A compendium of intelligent slogans could be filled with his lines about social inequality, sexism and right-wing populism.
He pauses briefly, dedicating the performance to his daughter, who did not survive her own birth. The anniversary of his death is June 11th. How little Idles can do with masculinist rock poses becomes apparent when Talbot asks which fragile ego would have insisted on dividing the audience with a catwalk. Spoiler: That might have been Muse.
At the end of the grandiose show, the bearded frontman offers the audience a small twerking interlude, danced around by guitarist Marc Bowen in a flowing dress. The fear that the festival sound might not be powerful enough in view of the threat of noise complaints has been impressively refuted after this concert at the latest.
In any case, a lot of things work excellently at Tempelhof Sounds. Short distances and a good organization of the processes allow the audience to enjoy the impressive line-up seamlessly. If you want to blame the festival organizers, then it’s that they didn’t have the courage to do without the badly hung sound of indie bands like Maxïmo Park or Two Door Cinema Club. Although the alternative folk band Alt J, already written off by many critics, knows how to enchant with their vocal harmonies and wafting synthesizer sounds in the early evening.
As the only female act in the evening program, Berlin-based Swiss singer Sophie Hunger has a hard time engaging audiences with her compelling performance full of surprising musical twists. Most of the visitors are already streaming in front of the main stage. For many, the British band Muse will be the highlight of the program.
At 8:30 p.m. sharp, a huge symbol of anarchy burns above Tempelhofer Feld. Singer and guitarist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard enter the stage with silver masks. Only when “Hysteria”, their hit from the album “Absolution”, sounds, do they tear it off their faces.
The setting sun shines through the glass front of the airport from behind. The clouds above soak up the afterglow. There couldn’t be a better setting for Muse’s overwhelming sound than the more than one kilometer long hall.
The trio celebrates songs like “Supermassive Black Hole”, “Plug In Baby” or “Uprising” with almost questionable precession. Vibrato, arpeggio and pitch jumps – Bellamy plays the full range of his nearly four octave voice.
Between violent shredding and filigree tapping solos on the guitar, he occasionally switches to small piano interludes or plays with his fingers on an instrument that is built into his glowing suit. Confetti rains down. In the background of the stage, a gigantic figure grows in the course of the show, holding a Bengal fire in his hand.
The rock opera, which is increasingly soaked in neon colors, is sometimes badly overlaid by the airs and graces of its protagonists. Bellamy dances above the heads of the audience on his catwalk, underscoring the revolutionary pathos of his anthems by getting on his knees and clenching his fists skyward.
In contrast to the Idles, however, the class consciousness of the multi-million dollar rock star is not at all taken away. Then bassist Wolstenholme sings a tribute to Ennio Morricone on a harmonica with “Man With The Harmonica”, which is followed in the furious finale by the song “Knights Of Cydonia”. Beer mugs fly one last time.
At 10.06 p.m. the skylarks take over again with their wonderful singing on the Tempelhofer Feld. They attract little attention from the festival guests. Rock fans are just arrogant snobs.