It’s that time of year again. Next week, Biddinghuizen opens its doors to some 55,000 revellers for yet another sold-out edition of A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise, Lowlands for short. The multi-disciplinary weekender serves as the final important weekend in the Dutch festival calendar, boasting a line-up which places just as much emphasis on big names as it does on upcoming bands and the most enthralling arts, culture and science. Today we commence our series of Lowlands previews by looking at the seven artists who we think are sure to make your weekend in Biddinghuizen unforgettable.
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD
Australian psychlords King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard can do no wrong, and that is a totally unbiased fact. Stu Mackenzie and co. may have abstained from releasing new music for a shocking total of eight months, but it hasn’t held them back from still touring the world relentlessly. Their appearance headlining Lowlands’ Bravo stage will serve as part of their second European tour this year alone, one which sees the septet draw from across their expansive back catalogue with particular emphasis on 2017’s five albums. Some may argue that the dome-like Bravo stage is a step too far for the Gizz in terms of size, but if anything it’s a testament to exactly how popular these guys have become in such a short period. Even more so when you consider that their last appearance at Lowlands – in 2016 – saw them take on the old Charlie stage. Sunday, Bravo, 20:45
ZEAL & ARDOR
Who’d have thought that black metal and blues would actually be a brilliant combination? Zeal & Ardor‘s Manuel Gagneux did, setting out to create a project which sounds like nothing anyone has ever done before whilst still retaining that familiar ethereal gloominess. We’re inclined to say that he’s done a pretty good job at it, so much so that his appearance at Eurosonic Noorderslag in January earned him slots at some of Europe’s biggest festivals. Lowlands is one example, and come mid-August Gagneux will be more than ready to spread his word as he entrances the India’s more-than-ready baying crowds. If you’re going to check out something brand new in Biddinghuizen this year, then make sure it’s Zeal & Ardor. Sunday, India, 21:45
Whether you see them as a boyband or bona fide rap group, there’s no denying that Brockhampton are at the top of their game right now. Despite losing core member Ameer to the hands of some pretty shocking allegations earlier this year, the collective have managed to bounce back in style. They look set to capitalise on last year’s Saturation album trio with a set of hotly anticipated European shows, which include their first ever show on Dutch soil. The Bravo tent will play host to all seven of the group’s live members, and it’s the collective sense of energy they bring to the table which has made Brockhampton a force to be reckoned with both on and offstage. Don’t miss out. Friday, Bravo, 18:30
THE FEVER 333
If one thing is for certain, then it’s that Jason Aalon Butler doesn’t like to sit still. The former letlive. frontman was barely through the mourning process with his critically acclaimed former band before he pounced upon a new project, pouring his heart and soul into it just as much as he did with prior bands. The intriguingly titled The Fever 333 hit just as hard – if not harder – than letlive., fusing a barrage of swashbuckling rhythms and stabbed guitars with Butler’s vicious vocals and a sense of urgency which knows no bounds, leaves no stone unturned and most certainly takes no prisoners. Friday, X-Ray, 12:15
If you play FIFA 18, then you’ll be no stranger to Sofi Tukker‘s smash hit, Best Friend. The New York duo (comprised of friends Sophie and Tucker). Its sickly sweet mesh of latin pop and EDM sounds questionable on paper, but it’s the kind of music which really comes to life on the live stage. Just take their recent performance at Madrid’s Mad Cool Festival as one example of this, where the duo managed to “entertain the crowd from the word go and ensure that not a single soul remained motionless“. If they put even half as much effort into their Lowlands show, then you’re guaranteed to witness one hell of an exciting show. Saturday, India, 15:25
If fun is what you’re looking for, then give Confidence Man a try. The Aussie duo’s bubblegum indie pop has divided opinion among some festivalgoers in recent months due to its “extremely cheesy” poppy leanings, but once the mental pairing take to the stage you’ll be sure to get moving until it’s physically impossible to stop. Debut album Confident Music For Confident People – out now via Heavenly – is a slick collection of party-starting indie pop, and it’s spawned a handful of absolute bangers (Boyfriend and C.O.O.L. Party to name but two) which really come to life on the big stage. The duo’s set on the X-Ray will most definitely serve as the party of the day, if it isn’t already the party of the whole weekend. Sunday, X-Ray, 16:40
AMYL & THE SNIFFERS
Every festival needs that one batshit crazy garage punk band to set the bar and show crowds how it’s done, and this year it’s the Aussies in Amyl & the Sniffers. The Flightless Records signees have spent a big part of 2018 touring with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given the impeccable quality of their raw, honest and frenetic debut album Big Attraction & Giddy Up. It’s a twenty minute collection of brash punk rock, fronted by manic and eccentric frontwoman Amy Taylor. Witnessing Amyl & the Sniffers live is much like taking a load of drugs right before you hop on a rollercoaster: it sounds like a nightmare on paper, but you’ll end up regretting nothing. Friday, X-Ray, 15:00
Lowlands 2018 takes place from 17-19 August in Biddinghuizen, and it’s sold-out.