Shortly before 10 p.m. on Sunday evening, it is sad certainty. The Strokes no longer play their biggest hit “Last Nite”. A few disappointed faces can be seen. But the smile quickly returns. Because the Tempelhof Sounds, the first major Berlin music festival after the pandemic, which is ending at this moment, was a small triumph. For the fans, the organizers, for Berlin. And it finds a more than worthy conclusion with the performance of the New York band.

From the first song “Bad Decisions”, the lyrics of the quintet resounded from thousands of voices across the forecourt of the airport building. Hits that have long since become classics such as “Reptilia” alternated with songs from the current album “The New Abnormal” on the set list. The charmingly restrained and yet rousing performance was a pleasant contrast to the clinically perfect bombast rock show by the British band Muse the day before: singer Julian Casablancas fooled around between the songs, improvised a little serenade for a dinosaur costume in the audience, interviewed his bandmates in fantasy German and put on a mask printed with a recent photo of him.

The previous afternoon, post-punk quintet Fontaines D.C. delivered his pent-up world-weariness with Irish gruffness. The folk band Big Thief convinced with a wonderfully weird guitar sound and a Jew’s harp solo. And the London singer Griff demonstrated with an impressive stage presence and catchy melodies why she is rightly considered the next big pop sensation – and she was one of the few festival acts without a guitar. Aside from the musical quality: What was immediately convincing at the premiere of the Tempelhof Sounds Festival – and what can still be improved for the planned sequel in 2023?