Way out West, Slottsskogen, Gothenburg, Sweden, August 14-15, 2009
By: Tobias Eliasson
For the third year in a row, the Way out West festival in the center of Gothenburg was sold out; 25 000 people visited this year’s alternative gathering. Release did our first visit; aiming at the more electronic acts.
After some relaxing in the sun with Timo Räisänen, I checked out the festival area. It’s really a lovely area right in Slottsskogen, a large park with a lot of open spaces, trees, lakes - and even elks. The festival fits perfect here. There are also Way out West shows at different venues all over the town, making it hard to see everything that you want to see.
I returned later to check out Robyn’s only gig this summer. I saw her live two times last summer and was really impressed over what a great artist she had become. The live material is basically the same now; we didn’t get any new tracks, so instead she had a number of guests on stage including Kleerup, Lykke Li, Röyksopp and Dr Alban. She’s as professional as ever and really enjoys life on stage, but I would like to have heard at least one of her new tracks being built at the moment.
Antony & the Johnsons played with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and unfortunately, I found the tempo far too slow. The performace would perhaps have worked better indoors where you could have more focus.
I quickly went over to check out Röyksopp instead. And my, what a show that was. Dance euphoria struck and I really enjoy a band that works hard on stage, not just standing behind a laptop, but tweaking away on synthesizers instead. The visits on stage from Robyn and Karin Dreijer Andersson added to the experience and Röyksopp shows that they can become a really big act.
I also must mention Arctic Monkeys that really hit me with their sound. I thought they managed to re-capture the punkish new wave really good and when they played “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave I just stood there with a stupid smile on my face. They are definitely a band that I will return to in the future.
The top name on my agenda for the next day was Olle Ljungström. His musical career started in the late 70:s in Reeperbahn and he released his seventh solo album earlier this year. He did an excellent show at Way out West, and this really feels like something of a comeback for him.
Unfortunately due to the lack of a proper infrastructure I left the festival area to get some proper food and got delayed, so I missed Basement Jaxx. I got to see a bit of Lily Allen but quickly went to see the show with Teddybears instead. This is also a band I saw some years ago at the Arvika Festival, but this show was far better. Elegant, dark and stylish; they really aimed, having not one but two drummers and performing the entire show in suits and Teddybear masks. They played all the hits and had a manic tempo; driving the crowd wild. Just like Röyksopp, this is a band that really could do the big venues if they play their cards right. Teddybears also played in a Gothenburg canal tour boat.
In heart this is an alternative festival with focus on pop/rock, with some electronic acts added on top. I was surprised that the festival area closed so early. I would rather see that they close later and skipped some of the club gigs. Furthermore, they must improve the infrastructure, because I go to a festival for the music, not to stand in line for everything. But all in all Way Out West was a nice experience, much because you got the festival feeling while still having access to everything the city can offer. I will return next year.