Lists! Another list! Even more lists! Endless lists! Here at All Things Loud we absolutely love lists (if you hadn’t noticed), and so today we’re rolling out another one to mark the end of Madrid’s third ever Mad Cool Festival. The Spanish weekender unveiled one of the strongest line-ups seen by many in quite some time (read: in more than a decade), hosting six headliners alongside an incredibly powerful undercard which did its best to highlight established greats alongside the best new music. All Things Loud spent the entire weekend documenting the best of what Madrid had to offer, and today we’re compressing all our coverage into a comprehensive list of Mad Cool’s 25 best performances.

25 COLIN PETERS

What we said: “Over on the MondoSonoro Stage, DJ and birthday boy Colin Peters treated the baying masses to a slew of nostalgic club hits, including some smashing 80s club bangers and a host of rock hits. There’s nothing better than watching an entire crowd lose their shit to a Depeche Mode classic at 2:30 in the morning. It’s a unifying scene of sorts, one which really sticks with you even if it is a simple DJ set.

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

24 BEN HOWARD

What we said: “Over on the KOKO Stage, incendiary singer songwriter Ben Howard presented a packed field with tracks from new album Noonday Dream, succeeding in bringing its intimacy to the open stage with little difficulty, particularly on the sprawling and captivating A Boat to An Island On the Wall, by far the strongest track on new album Noonday Dream.

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

23 MGMT

What we said: “Back on the Mad Cool Stage, MGMT had the honour of closing out the entire day with their visual-heavy and quirky live show, one which is largely based on new album Little Dark Age. Despite the commercial and critical success of Little Dark Age, though, it was their hit-filled back catalogue which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Time to Pretend, Kids and the groovy Electric Feel all featured at various points in the show, sending the crowd into a fuzzed out, friendly daze as they left the festival site at the close of day one.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

22 LP

What we said: “New Yorker LP took on the KOKO Stage around the same time, with her voice absolutely soaring over the crowd as she kept them in the palm of her hand for the duration of her hour-long set. There’s not much holding LP (real name Laura Pergolizzi) back from becoming one of the bigger names in indie rock, and it’s only a matter of time before she becomes a household name.

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

21 FRANZ FERDINAND

What we said: “Franz Ferdinand closed out the second day of Mad Cool on the Madrid te Abraza Stage, making for an indie rock paradise right on the back of Arctic Monkeys. New album Always Ascending is a step in the disco-slash-funk direction, and it’s a very solid one at that. Title track Always Ascending made for a ton of energy both on and offstage, finding itself sandwiched between old hits Do You Want To?, The Dark of the Matinée and No You Girls. The bulk of the band’s eighty minute set may have focussed on new music, but there was also plenty of space reserved for the band’s expansive back catalogue, including an absolutely spectacular rendition of smash hit Take Me Out, a track which (much like Seven Nation Army) never fails to impress. As day-enders go, Franz Ferdinand are definitely up there with the best of them.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

20 SLAVES

What we said: “It was up to Kent duo Slaves to kick the day off, doing so in a way only they know how. With Laurie Vincent on guitars/vocals and Isaac Holman on percussion, Slaves managed to stir up a mini frenzy in the basking heat as they kicked off proceedings on the Mad Cool Stage (the festival’s main stage). What the duo lack in creativity they most certainly make up for in energy and pizzaz, pulling a handful of old favourites out of the bag alongside cuts from upcoming new album Acts of Fear and Love. Look, let’s be honest here: there is little about Slaves anno 2018 which is musically groundbreaking or forward thinking, but it really doesn’t matter. Slaves are the kind of band made for big festival stages, leaving no stone unturned wherever they go.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

19 KEVIN MORBY

What we said: “Demure indie folk singer songwriter Kevin Morby kicked off proceedings on the Mad Cool Stage just before 6:30pm, utilising his spot in the sun to treat the sparse crowd to cuts from last year’s captivating City Music . It’s a collection of densely packed, elegant tracks which border on the edge of grandeur whilst still sounding more intimate than anything Morby had done prior. Live, the musician managed to do selected cuts from the album total justice, even if it was merely the first show on his European tour. This didn’t matter all too much, because Kevin Morby is a born and bred artist, even poking fun at Arctic Monkeys’ enormous backdrop by dubbing his band The Monkeys.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

18 JACK WHITE

What we said: “Mad scientist Jack White took on the Madrid te Abraza Stage later on in the evening, presenting a ram-packed crowd with cuts from his divisive new album Boarding House Reach. It’s an album filled with experimental elements and frenetic sonic outbursts, both of which combined to present a new side to White’s visceral career thus far. Over the course of his ninety minute set, he also found time to pull some older hits out of the bag, including reimagined versions of The Raconteurs’ Steady As She Goes and ultimate festival anthem Seven Nation Army, which served as the outright highlight of White’s whole set. You can say what you like about Jack White’s stances on certain topics, but you can’t deny that he puts on one hell of a show.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

17 JAMES BAY

What we said: “Over on the KOKO Stage, James Bay presented Madrid with cuts from new album Electric Light, a record which is both aesthetically and musically a world away from his clichéd singer-songwriter beginnings. Set opener Pink Lemonade served as a prime example of this, allowing for Bay to exercise his right to rock the fuck out and kick down the door on the second chapter of his still-promising career.”

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

16 WOLF ALICE

What we said: “Over on the Madrid te Abraza Stage, London’s Wolf Alice powered on through in front of a near-full field as they treated the crowd to cuts from last year’s hazy Visions of a Life. Ellie Rowsell and co.’s sophomore album is a world away from the youthful indie rock of their 2015 debut My Love is Cool, but it still maintains that essence of sounding like classic Wolf Alice. Even though the new songs had some difficulty making the desired impact on an open air stage, there was no denying that Wolf Alice managed to put on a brilliant set which highlighted all of the quartet’s strong points.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

15 FIDLAR

What we said: “One band who had absolutely no concern when it came to capturing the crowd’s attention were FIDLAR. The Californians have now come to that point where they need little introduction, and this became apparent from the moment they took to the stage. Limbs flew from left to right as the crowd went absolutely batshit crazy to the quartet’s raucous skate punk, resulting in the first sign of proper carnage at Mad Cool this year. The band even found time to play some new music, with the fuzzed out and gritty Alcohol kicking off the show in mental fashion. It was another statement of vicious intent from the band, setting the bar high for the rest of the show as they sent the Radio Station Stage into a frenzy. Old favourites No Waves, West Coast and Cocaine all featured, proving to be the perfect ingredients for a festival set as memorable as FIDLAR’s.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

14 EELS

What we said: “Over on the Madrid te Abraza Stage (a second main stage of sorts), California’s Eels treated the crowd to an early nostalgia trip through the outfit’s expansive history, throwing in cuts from new album The Deconstruction along the way. A notable highlight came early on in the form of Bone Dry, which saw frontman E engage in some synchronised dance moves with guitarist The Chet. Eels came at just the right time for Mad Cool’s sweltered revellers, hitting the stage moments after Slaves’ rowdy noise sent them into heatstroke-like conditions.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

13 JAIN

What we said: “Popstar-in-the-making Jain took on the Radio Station stage with effortless ease as she presented yet another packed field (crowds at Mad Cool are brilliant) with her futuristic live show. Jain’s international background whilst growing up has enabled her to incorporate a multitude of multicultural sonic influences into her music, something which came to life early on with the Indian-flecked On My Way and continued on the African-tinged Come (taken from 2016’s Zanaka). The set peaked on a sizzling Alright, which is a sickly sweet slice of perfect pop. Jain is a megastar in the making, and if her Mad Cool set was anything to go by then this shouldn’t be too far from the truth.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

12 NINE INCH NAILS

What we said: “The Trent Reznor-fronted project had the honour of serving as Mad Cool’s third of three final day headliners, doing so in jarring fashion with a live show which messed with your head just as much as it messed with your eyesight. It ain’t pretty being an epileptic Nine Inch Nails fan, so much so that their 2018 production should come with a very prominent warning. Set opener Somewhat Damaged set the gears into motion as Reznor intensely careered his way through the track, before pummelling through a barrage of noise which bordered on the frantic. This is exactly what you’d expect from a Nine Inch Nails show, with standard finale Hurt sending a majority of festivalgoers away satisfied.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

11 SOFI TUKKER

What we said: “One act who did manage to bring everything they had to the stage with effortless ease was New York duo Sofi Tukker, who – despite initial technical difficulties – set The Loop on metaphorical fire with their infectious, party-ready house and EDM. It’s all laced with a hefty dose of Latin influence, something which is found particularly in the rhythmic and percussive elements of Sofi Tukker’s music. Away from the music itself, it also became evident early on that the duo (Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern) were well versed in their performance techniques, entertaining the crowd from the word go and ensuring that not a single soul remained motionless. Did they succeed? Absolutely, and not only did they succeed, but they also brought the biggest party of the day so far to Madrid.”

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

10 MARMOZETS

What we said: “Speaking of promising, how about some Marmozets? The Yorkshire quintet have two absolutely solid studio albums to their name, the second of which (Knowing What You Know Now) came out earlier this year to wild acclaim throughout the rock and metal world. The new album’s success has resulted in a relentless touring schedule, one which saw them take on Mad Cool’s Radio Station stage in front of a packed, energetic and willing crowd. At times they may have been a bit too willing for security’s liking, though; in particular during set closer Major System Error and frontwoman Becca’s command for the crowd to get on one another’s shoulders. It was a move which irritated the hell out of all six security guards, but one which only went on the strengthen the band’s tight connection with the baying crowds. Set opener Play demonstrated this initially, with the likes of new cuts Like a Battery and Suffocation also coming across incredibly well. There’s not a lot stopping Marmozets from becoming one of the world’s biggest bands, so surely it’s only a matter of time?”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

9 AIRWAYS

What we said: “Over on the aptly titled Thunder Bitch Stage, it was up to UK quartet Airways to entertain the small crowd of people who didn’t quite fancy a bit of Tame Impala. As a late addition to the line-up (the band replaced Milk Teeth this week), Jake Daniels and co. had quite the tough task, conquering it with effortless ease as they treated the crowd to the likes of recent singles One Foot and Reckless Tongue. Both tracks are prime examples of why there’s a definite future for the quartet, even if they had a bit of difficulty pulling a substantial crowd. Given the fact that they clashed with Tame Impala, though, you could definitely suggest that every band would have difficulty with this. Nonetheless, they pulled it off well and ensured that those who were there would go home with positive opinions.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

8 JUSTICE

What we said: “Now, picture this. It’s 1:30am, and you’re standing in an absolutely jampacked The Loop tent waiting for what many have hailed as a live music revolution. That’s right, Justice are in town. The French electronic music duo are far more than their description does them justice, with Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay once again proving that they are absolute masters of their craft. They treated a full tent to an absolute battering ram of hits, hits and even more hits as the beat flowed from one banger to the next, including early outings for fan favourites Civilization and D.A.N.C.E., both of which made for manic response. There’s not an awful lot which Justice can do wrong, especially when you add their visual-heavy live production to the mix. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

 (c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

7 AT THE DRIVE-IN

What we said: “Another band who got the crowd all worked up from the off were At the Drive-In, although as you’d expect this was a method of crowd engagement far removed from Sofi Tukker’s slick EDM. The Texans are one of the rowdiest acts out there right now, and last year’s in ter a lia served as a prime example of Cedric Bixler-Zavala and co.’s ability to remain musically forward thinking without having to rely all too much on their early 2000s hits. Still, though, it proved to be the older cuts which – predictably – garnered the wildest responses. Set opener Arcarsenal saw frontman Cedric launch his shakers and mic stand at the video screen behind them before the song had even started, before subsequently going apeshit on stage as he only just managed to contain himself during the track’s frantic verses. Newer cuts Governed by Contagions and Hostage Stamps stood out throughout the set, with the hour-long missive culminating in a frenetic rendition of the infectious One Armed Scissor. This is where we find Cedric at his wildest, most captivating: as a frontman who leaves no stone unturned and takes no prisoners. Some bands fall victim to becoming nostalgia acts, but At the Drive-In anno 2018 are far from it.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

6 PEARL JAM

What we said: “All of this made way for the night’s big headliner, Pearl Jam. Eddie Vedder and co. are currently embarking on a victorious trek across the UK and mainland Europe, pulling off night after night of stellar performances as they gear up to tease a purported brand new studio album. There’s no word on the ifs and whens surrounding it just yet, but that isn’t necessary when your back catalogue is so strong that it packs out a full field for upwards of two jam-packed hours. Vedder was vocally on form following a blip in June, kicking into the show on the twinkling Release as he and his band powered through 24 tracks, culminating in a one-two of anthem Alive and a cover of Neil Young’s Rockin’ in the Free World. There isn’t much about Pearl Jam that you could criticise; hell, the band even took out time to show a Spanish video combatting unnecessary and unwanted sexual harassment. It received a raucous response from the crowd, and quite rightly so. Even without a new album (new song Can’t Deny Me did feature, though), Pearl Jam have proven that they’re still as relevant as ever in 2018.”

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

5 DEPECHE MODE

What we said: “Over on the Madrid te Abraza Stage, Depeche Mode served as the night’s second of three consecutive headline shots. The seminal electronic outfit have stood the test of time and battled death and addiction to stand tall anno 2018, and it’s safe to say that everything which came before has only made them stronger. Dave Gahan remains one of music’s most hypnotising and memorable frontmen, commandeering with the crowd with minimal difficulty and maximum impact as he ensured that their headline set became one to remember. Over the course of roughly ninety minutes, the outfit took on cuts from throughout their expansive back catalogue, one which spans decades and hit after hit after hit. Set opener Going Backwards – taken from last year’s Spirit – set the demure tone for the rest of the set, signalling the start of a sonic walhalla which would go on to entrance some 70,000 fans in attendance. The band’s newer songs may be incredibly solid, but it’s still the older hits which have the biggest pulling power. A closing one-two of Enjoy the Silence and Just Can’t Get Enough well and truly hammered this home, with the manic Gahan parading around stage like a frenzied maniac on a mission. He’s been through a lot over the course of his career, and you can tell that it’s only made him and his band stronger. Depeche Mode’s set at Mad Cool Festival drew one of the weekend’s biggest crowds, and one brief glimpse of what went in to putting on such a visual-heavy show should tell you enough.”

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

4 DUA LIPA

What we said: Dua Lipa is one more hit track away from being the biggest modern popstar in the world. Not only does she have killer tunes, but she also knows how to place them in and amongst a visual and dance-heavy live show without allowing for any of the bells and whistles to compromise her immense vocal ability. Set opener Blow Your Mind (Mwah) set the tone instantly, allowing for absolutely incredible scenes as the packed field went mad to her neo-pop hits. There’s too many to name on just one or two hands, and if she continues on like this then there really will be no stopping Dua Lipa.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

3 QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE

What we said: “New Queens of the Stone Age album Villains is a fantastic missive, and one which has once again enabled the outfit to maintain their status as world-beating festival headliners. Kicking off on the groove-infused If I Had a Tail, Josh Homme and his consorts ensured that not a single soul stood still for the duration of their 75 minute set, swiftly setting the gears into motion on the frenetic My God is the Sun and haunting Feet Don’t Fail Me. As show openers go, this one was pretty special. The rest of the set wasn’t without its controversies, though, as Homme interrupted No One Knows to direct his frustrations towards the security who refused fans entry into a VIP section down the front. Later, following a stern demand to let them in, Homme also told the security to “be nice or be gone“, a comment made in lieu of some intense manhandling from security guards along the barrier (an unfortunate reoccurrence throughout the weekend, just take Marmozets’ set a day prior as an example of this). It was from this point onwards that the set only went from strength to strength, hitting an emotionally intense peak on newer cut The Evil Has Landed, before launching into a barrage of straight-up bangersMake it Wit Chu, Little Sister, Go With the Flow and encapsulating set closer A Song For the Dead. If you thought that Queens of the Stone Age’s show opening was powerful, then its finale was twice as fierce. Josh Homme and co. take no prisoners to this day, proving that they always have and always will be an incendiary live force to be reckoned with.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

2 ARCTIC MONKEYS

What we said: Arctic Monkeys had the honour of closing out the Mad Cool Stage just before midnight, doing what they do best in a way only they know how. New album Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino may have been an incredibly divisive record among fans and critics alike, but there’s no denying that it’s an impeccable piece of work which sets the bar very high for future releases from the Sheffield quartet. It’s an album which thrusts Alex Turner the Showman all the way to the forefront, a position which the frontman all but laps up. Set opener Four Out of Five is the new album’s makeshift lead single, utilising a fuzzy melody and gallons upon gallons of sonic grandeur, both of which combine to produce a track which is just as much classic Arctic Monkeys as it is game changing. It served as the perfect start to a whirlwind ninety minutes for the band, further playing four more new songs (One Point Perspective, Bat Phone, Star Treatment and the elusive title track) alongside a whole host of their most exciting hits. There was something for everyone, whether you were a fan of their early stuff (From the Ritz to the Rubble, I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor), their mid-career slump (anything from Humbug) or AM’s slick rock and roll (Do I Wanna Know?, Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High). Arctic Monkeys are born entertainers, and by the time R U Mine? rang out of the PA at the show’s close this couldn’t have been any more apparent than it already was.”

(c) Mitchell Giebels

(c) Mitchell Giebels

1 TAME IMPALA

What we said: “Over on the Madrid te Abraza Stage, Tame Impala served as the band who most festivalgoers undoubtedly had been looking forward to the most. It’s been quite some time since Kevin Parker and consorts made themselves heard, having last performed a live show in July 2017 (one of only a handful they played last year). Their set at Mad Cool served as the Australians’ big comeback, and all signs pointed towards it being just as magical as you could hope. Was it, though? In short: yes, absolutely. Brief set opener Nangs led into a cathartic rendition of the magistral Let it Happen, a seven-minute disco psych epic which bears all the hallmarks of a festival classic. From hypnotic synths and fuzzed out guitars through to a spellbinding ending complete with colourful confetti, Tame Impala made for what was already the moment of Mad Cool 2018 so far. The set continued reaching equally memorable heights throughout, particularly on fan favourites Mind MischiefElephant, The Less I Know the Better and proggy epic Apocalypse Dreams. All four tracks formed an integral part of Tame Impala’s visual-heavy live show, one which grabbed the audience by the throat and didn’t let go until the final notes New Person, Same Old Mistakes rang out. As live comebacks go, you could suggest that Tame Impala’s grand return is up there with some of the best. They’re only playing a small handful of shows this summer, including an appearance at Citadel Festival in London this weekend. If their Mad Cool show is anything to go by, then it will be nothing short of memorable.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

Mad Cool Festival will return on 11, 12 and 13 July 2019.