Hurricane 2014 - Photo by Jochen Melchoir

Photo by Jochen Melchoir

Festivals are like a game you can’t win. Especially when they count, like HURRICANE, among the biggest in Germany. If you don’t want to stand miles away from your favourite band, you have to hurry and miss other bands. If you want to see as many bands as possible, you have to hasten between the stages and make do with the screens.

If there’s rain, you sink into mud, if there’s sun, the dust collects in your pores. At HURRICANE FESTIVAL 2014 dust won against mud, although there was rain as well.

If you don’t want to be a misanthrope after the festival, you either have to start drinking after rolling out of your sticky tent (and spend much money to hold your level) or leave the festival area in the late afternoon when those who decided for the first variant totter over the festival area.

Especially the first two days of HURRICANE seemed like a permanent anti-alcohol-spot: Men with vacant stares trying to articulate or pestering women and girls completely loosing control or throwing up in the middle of the crowd. Just sad.

The most seen props of this tragedy were animal costumes, face paints, pullovers which said that the owner had passed A levels (how?!), soap bubbles, confetti and a nauseating mass of flower-hairbands.

Suggestions for HURRICANE 2015: Ban hairbands (since they seem to constrict the brain) and, seriously, extend the festival area or reduce the number of tickets (we already told you last year).

That was the moaning, let’s look at the music:

On Friday at 3pm Swedish quartet THE DURANGO RIOT opened the Green Stage. Dressed all in black, they played joyfull hard rock. With songs like their latest single Ready Are The Headless and Everybody’s Got To Go they caused the first men-without-shirts-pogo.

Of course that was not for ones who had to watch their hairdos and outfits. They preferred to take their selfies while the latest New Zealand electropop export THE NAKED AND FAMOUS sang their hits Young Blood and Punching in a Dream. Frontwoman Alisa Xayalith said ‘What a pleasant surprise that you are here’. Surprise, surprise.

The highlight of the afternoon were THE SUBWAYS who hotted the crowd up with their sing-along-bangers Oh Yeah and Rock’n’Roll Queen. The nearest place without pogo was probably the bungee tower.

Julia Stone - Hurricane 2014 - Photo by Andre Havergo

Julia Stone live at the Hurricane Fesival 2014
(Photo by Andre Havergo)

The most interesting acts in the tent, that contained the white stage, were GEORGE EZRA and ANGUS AND JULIA STONE. Many people had to stay outside because the tent was immediately overcrowded. It’s better to enjoy their concerts at a more appropriate location anyway.

Same with the music of ARCADE FIRE that needs space and concentration to develop its full beauty. Still their show was opulent and great with a mix of new and old songs. The Canadian collective was tough competition for Californian punk rock veterans BAD RELIGION who played at the same time. Despite playing hits like American Jesus, Punk Rock Song and Sorrow, the band had a hard time creating atmosphere and frontman Greg Graffin seemed like a groggy entertainer. Their critical lyrics didn’t meet much response. Nevertheless their music has an audible old school quality and it was nice to see a piece of punk rock history.

Saturday noon saw the discovery of the festival. The three German boys of SONIC. THE MACHINE might be young and look inconspicuous but they played psychedelic, instrumental post-rock of that kind that blows through your ears and gets your heartbeat in a muddle. Awesome!

One of the biggest circle pits was set off by punk rock band ZEBRAHEAD who brought a high school party feeling from California. The people were throwing rolls of toilet paper, moshing and carrying one of the band members on a rubber dinghy.

The evening was rather disappointing. The PIXIES had the same problem like BAD RELIGION: no atmosphere, wrong target group. Not even their evergreens Bone Machine, Here Comes Your Man or Where Is My Mind kindled real enthusiasm. Lead guitarist Joey Santiago saved the concert a little bit by playing a stunning solo, including ripped-off strings.

Pixies - Hurricane 2014 - Photo by Christoph Eisenmenger

Pixies live at Hurricane Festival 2014
(Photo by Christoph Eisenmenger)

INTERPOL, who came after the PIXIES, attracted more people but didn’t really manage to get their audience going as well, although the songs from their upcoming record El Pintor sounded promising. Of course they didn’t withhold Evil and Slow Hands.

The biggest disappointment was LILY ALLEN. It would be exaggerated to say that she performed on the stage which was decorated with oversized baby bottles. Missing her entries, giggling and seeming disorientated, she was either drunk, had a huge jetlag or didn’t take the festival seriously at all. Quiet an irritating end for Saturday and especially a shame because she was one of the few female headliners.

Sunday was the best of the three days. The sun came out more often and there were less and more relaxed people.

The musical jouray started a little delayed with Icelandic band SAMARIS. Their computer didn’t work well so they could only play for 20 minutes. Still the Icelandic singing, the electronic beats and the unusual sound of the clarinet were really nice.

The crazy show of electric-guitar-madman REIGNWOLF even made the security guy clap his hands. Definitely a name one should keep in mind.

After that wild performance there was time to relax with American roots combo DISPATCH and their fellow countrymen MIDLAKE who played a wonderfully psychedelic set that was made
for meditating in the sun and mobilising the last energy reserves for…drum roll!…SEEED. Being the final headliner, the kings of cool Berlin dancehall/ reggae played in front of a partying audience while the sun was slowly setting and the orange Ferris wheel made its last rounds.

Thanks should go to all the people who tried to make the festival safe, clean and pleasant for everyone and to the bands who (mostly) gave their best to remind the people why it is worth to play the festival game again and again.

Seeed - Hurricane 2014 - Photo by Rainer Keuenhof

Seeed at Hurricane Festival 2014
(Photo by Rainer Keuenhof)