Jera on Air 2023: The Top 10 Performances

Jera On Air took place last weekend for a 27th time on the hallowed grounds of Ysselsteyn for its biggest edition yet. Overcoming rain and shine, writer Oda and photographer Anieck made their way down to the festival to put together a top 10 of the weekend. 

10. Flogging Molly 

Kicking off the list but closing out the festival on Saturday were the Irish-American punk rockers Flogging Molly. Incorporating banjos, mandolins, violins and the bodhrán (an Irish drum), the band’s powerful sound immediately enticed the crowd. Opening with Drunken Lullabies, anyone who didn’t consider watching them at first was immediately drawn in. Despite playing at the end of a three day festival, the crowd turned up and gave it their all. Mixing a punk sound with classic Irish sounds and instruments made it hard to sit still when Flogging Molly hit the stage. They were a fitting closing band and truly showed the crowd how it’s done. 

9. Lorna Shore

When Lorna Shore arrived on Thursday evening, they played to one of the largest crowds of the day, putting on a show that was nothing short of memorable. With hard hitting drums, fiery guitar sounds and outstanding vocals, the band brought a unique heaviness to the festival. From the get go, they had the crowd in their hands, and the crowd was happily along for the ride. Lorne Shore don’t just create magic in the studio, but also onstage.

8. The Interrupters 

As a ska/punk band from LA, fans who have never seen the The Interrupters might think that they know what they’re in for. However, the band proves over and over again that this is not the case. Hitting the stage with Take Back the Power, they had a strong sense of familiarity even to people who have never seen or listened to them before. Over the years, the band has grown with their fan base and still excel at drawing in new fans. Giving a sense of fun to lyrics – which are both deeply personal and critical of the current political climate – The Interrupters had one of the most enjoyable performances of the Friday. 

7. Sleep Token

Sleep Token have exploded in the last year. With this performance at Jera on Air they absolutely showed why they have gained such rapid popularity. A performance which included not only unique musicality but also beautiful theatrics. Sleep Token include a mix of genres in a combination which can only be described as exciting. Putting their all into this performance, the crowd was with them from the get go. Sleep Token’s charisma shines through every step of the way, and if they can keep this up they have a bright future in sight. 

6. Anti-Flag

Anti-Flag have long been a staple in the punk scene. Stemming from the Pittsburgh scene in the 80’s and 90’s, they’ve always had a powerful stage presence and this performance was no different. As soon as the band took to the stage, the energy was contagious. From the first chord the crowd erupted; a powerful force which did not stop for the duration of their 45 minute set. Presenting old school punk sounds paired with an anti establishment message, the band truly hit a home run. With their live shows Anti-Flag does not only demonstrate their incredible legacy, but they also prove that there’s plenty of fuel in the tank and no sign of stopping any time soon. 

5. PUP

Sitting in the middle of the list, PUP have a refreshing silliness to their sound. Using self deprecating humour and fun punk riffs to their absolute advantage, this band is both totally down to earth and incredibly relatable. The band name PUP is an abbreviation of ‘Pathetic Use of Potential’, however this set was anything but. Using their potential to the absolute max they didn’t need to get the crowd on their side, as the crowd was already there. A set filled with crowd surfing and moshing, PUP gave a fun filled performance which gave new and old fans the chance to come together for one of the biggest parties of the Friday. 

4. Stray From the Path 

Since releasing Euthanasia last year, Stray From the Path have gone from strength to strength. With thought provoking lyrics, hard hitting drums and heavy riffs they’re a band who make it easy for fans to love them. Despite this, the crowd seemed a little sleepy to start with. This did not last long,  as the band’s live presence is contagious. Stray From the Path took the crowd by the hand and led by example, giving the crowd no choice but to get on board and go wild. With an upcoming EU/UK tour on the horizon, Stray From the Path definitely used this show to make fans want more. 

3. Enter Shikari

Despite only having a 45 minute set (somewhat short for a band this diverse), Enter Shikari set the crowd on fire. Giving heavy drum and bass inspired beats mixed with lyrical vocals and skilfully played instruments, the band were not only aware of their strengths, but also conscious of what the crowd wants from them. And oh, they delivered. Opener Please Set Me on Fire, the opening track of new album A Kiss for the Whole World, set the tone for the whole performance. A weird and wonderful tune which inspired the crowd to get off their feet from the go. By playing a set which incorporated favourites such as Satellites* *, Live Outside and { The Dreamers Hotel } alongside the popular quickfire round (Havoc B, Bull, The Last Garrison and Sorry You’re Not a Winner), Rou Reynolds and co. pulled off a fun filled set which felt like a party. Enter Shikari bring freshness to any line-up as there is truly no other band like them, making them a must see at any festival. 

2. Parkway Drive 

Closing the Eagle stage on the Thursday was Parkway Drive. The heavy hitters from Byron Bay proved without a doubt why they belong in a headline position. The band presented Jera with a stage show that had plenty of fire, simultaneously giving off an aura of intimacy and personal connection with the crowd. Opening the set with Glitch, the crowd initially needed a minute to warm up. By the second song, Prey, the energy arrived and persisted until the very end. Playing mostly newer songs (with old favourites Carrion and Wild Eyes thrown in), it was evident that the band truly know their crowd. They even utilised a string section during mellower tracks Shadowboxing and Darker Still, allowing the songs to be brought to life. Giving as much power and flair live as they do in the studio, Parkway Drive demonstrated how much they truly enjoy what they do, and the crowd was more than happy to enjoy it with them. 

1. The Ghost Inside 

The most emotional set of the festival and our number one of the entire festival is The Ghost Inside. Having not played in the Netherlands since their devastating bus crash in 2015, the crowd was ready to go. Hitting the stage with ultimate favourite Engine 45, the Jera crowd knew every word and were not afraid to let the band know. The whole set had an incredible sense of community, with the crowd matching the band’s energy at every turn. Playing a diverse set, the band hit hard with old favourites from Fury and the Fallen Ones, Returners, Get What You Give and Dear Youth, as well as treating the crowd to an emotional rollercoaster with songs from the latest self-titled album. They played something from every album, really offering something for everyone to love and enjoy. After finishing the set on Aftermath, there was not a dry eye in sight. That song truly showcases the band’s tenacity and strength. With this performance the band showed us how they have not only survived, but triumphed in spite of their tragedy. It’s easy to see why this was one of the loudest sets of the festival, and why this band is so beloved by the fans.