In August, 60,000 revellers will descend on the Dutch town of Biddinghuizen for three days of music, dance, theatre and various levels of chaos as the annual Lowlands Festival stakes its claim on the Dutch festival scene. With big acts such as Tame Impala, Interpol and Ben Howard being confirmed back in February, the people behind Lowlands have slowly but surely been expanding the line-up with an exciting selection of names. Following the addition of 16 names in March and a further 27 this week alone, All Things Loud takes another look at some of the acts we can’t wait to see this coming August.
FFS (FRANZ FERDINAND + SPARKS) The combination of Scottish alt-rockers Franz Ferdinand and veteran duo Sparks may not have been the most predictable collaboration ever, yet it’s still proven to be one of the most exciting projects to have surfaced in 2015. With FFS comes a whole new sense of energy that Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos seemed devoid of in the past. This summer will see the group play a selection of European shows before touching down in Biddinghuizen for what looks set to be a hotly anticipated set. Franz Ferdinand have always been an “almost there” band in Holland, with this Sparks collaboration looking set to give them that little extra push to the top on Dutch shores.
THE MACCABEES Up until the autumn of last year, people weren’t really sure what on earth had happened to the upcoming Maccabees album. A longstanding radio silence accompanied the recording process of the as yet untitled album, although recent comeback single Marks to Prove It showed everyone that the Orlando Weeks-fronted sextet has still got it, and that they’re set to be on top form yet again with their upcoming fourth studio album. If the album is only half as good as 2012’s Given to the Wild, which featured the amazing Pelican, then The Maccabees have got one of the albums of the year up their sleeve. They may not be a band on the forefront of most people’s minds come Lowlands, but that won’t stop them from hitting Biddinghuizen with everything that they’ve got.
ALL TIME LOW
Although not part of the “usual” Lowlands demographic, All Time Low have proven themselves time and time again to be one of the most incendiary live bands of modern rock. Their new studio album Future Hearts just scored them a #1 record at home in the US as well as over in the UK, with the album also charting in the Dutch Top 20. This is a pretty respectable feat for a band that have spent the majority of their career signed to an independent record label, something which is unheard of in today’s major label-dominated music industry. Despite having hovered around pop punk territory for the majority of their discography, Future Hearts saw the band head in a more alternative direction which featured the likes of Mark Hoppus and Joel Madden on collaboration duties. Whether you like them or not, All Time Low will attract a huge crowd in Biddinghuizen this year.
Sibling quartet Echosmith have never been strangers to performing live, even if the youngest and oldest members of the band are 16 and 22, respectively. With a sweet vocal courtesy of Sydney Sierota, Echosmith are the kind of band who you need in your life simply to brighten up your day. Radio smash hit Cool Kids has proven to be their flagship track, landing them sold out clubs shows in venues the world over in no time. The four-piece, who hail from California, spent the last two summers travelling through America on the popular Vans Warped Tour, which has done nothing but help them cut their teeth as a credible live act who are more than just a one trick pony. 2015 will see Echosmith tour Europe for the first time, with their set at Lowlands being the quartet’s first ever major festival show in Holland. If you’re a fan of simple, straight-up pop rock, then Echosmith is just what you need to nurse the hangover you sustained while losing it to Major Lazer the night before.
If you look further down the Lowlands line-up you’ll stumble across some interesting names which likely didn’t grab your attention the first time you took a look. Allah-Las are probably one of those names, yet it doesn’t make them any less worth checking out come August. The Californian quartet specializes in a warped take on garage rock, whilst seamlessly mixing elements of surf rock and Growlers-esque hippy grooves together to create a desirable end product. The opening track from 2014’s Worship the Sun, De Vida Voz, is a prime example of this as it swirls in and out of sun-drenched consciousness in the same way that The Growlers presented Graveyard’s Full in all its absurd glory.
Mini Mansions are fronted by Michael Shuman, who most people will recognize as the bassist in rock behemoths Queens of the Stone Age. Although not many sonic elements from his main band are recognizable in Mini Mansions’ output thus far, it’s safe to say that the trio are starting to become a credible band in their own right, as opposed to “just another side project”. Standout track Vertigo features Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, a man whose band have always been close with Queens of the Stone Age, particularly frontman Josh Homme. This time round, though, the focus has been shifted away from Homme and Turner as Shuman takes his well-deserved place in the spotlight. Mini Mansions will undoubtedly bring one of the most exciting and intense sets of the weekend to Biddinghuizen when they take to the stage in August, so be prepared to have your mind blown.
The seventh act on our list comes in the shape of Fun guitarist Jack Antonoff, whose side project Bleachers has become so successful that it’s almost as if pop rockers Fun have ceased to exist. I Wanna Get Better, the debut track Antonoff released last year, was quickly hailed as one of the best songs of the year, a claim which needs little justifying. “So now I’m standing on the overpass screaming, ‘hey, I wanna get better!’” may have originally negative implications in its storytelling, yet it’s become one of the happiest lines of 2014, largely due to Antonoff’s boundless energy both on and offstage. When the time comes in four months, Bleachers will be the place to be if you want to leave the tent smiling from ear to ear.
Check back soon for our third set of recommendations.