Before a festival begins, there are things to do. Pack your bags, say farewell to loved ones, work out how to get there. It’s a journey, and a journey that’s up against the clock. The first acts at Lowlands begin at 10am (that’s if you forget the Thursday’s silent disco). This is not possible; it’s too ambitious, there’s no chance – only a fool would dare. It’s not disinterest in the acts, it’s just that there’s only so far that optimism can get you. Even after you’ve left your house you’ve got to get the train and bus to Biddinghuizen(!), then walk to the gates, then get through security, then cross the bridge from hell, then set up your tent, then avoid drunk Belgians, then walk to the main entrance, and only then do you find the stages (all of which are in tents). A series of quadrilateral urinals, artsy sculptures, and drunks stand between you and the music. You see, for the rest of the year, this is just an empty field next to a theme park. It takes time to cross these concrete pathways and traverse muddy patches, but we don’t always have that time. Humans have things to do, OV Chipkaarts to load up, bridges to die crossing, tents to set up, places to be. We also had things to do, and places to be. Sometimes the result of these things and places cannot be explained better than with a list. Because who doesn’t love a list? Here at All Things Loud we live for the self-validation which putting together a list gives us. To round off our coverage of another fantastic Lowlands Festivalwe’ve painstakingly analysed all of our notes (after nursing hangovers and muscle ache) in order to present you with the 35 best performances which graced Biddinghuizen’s many stages this weekend. It wasn’t easy (it was mainly just bloody exhausting), but we managed. Jack Parker and Marc Prodanovic introduce you, act by act, to Lowlands Festival’s thirty five best performances.

35 WILLEM

What we said: “A much-needed energy boost from Dutch rapper Willem, who performed his second set of the weekend after a sweltering secret show in Sexyland with The Opposites on Friday night. While The Opposites’ music is frenzied, his solo work is more intricate and introverted. What can’t this guy do?”

(c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

34 FRANZ FERDINAND

What we said: “One band who are no strangers to Biddinghuizen are the one and only Franz Ferdinand. 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 sixty 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 never fails to impress.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

33 JULIA JACKLIN

What we said: “It’s safe to say that many a festivalgoer found themselves nursing a stupidly heavy hangover come Sunday morning, which turned out to be an absolutely perfect moment for Julia Jacklin‘s serene voice to echo through a sparsely filled Lima tent on the stroke of noon. Waking up never felt so good.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

32 CHANNEL TRES

What we said: Channel Tres utilised slick choreography for his show in the X Ray, kicking off the set solo before two dancers joined him onstage. Eventually he joined them, and it looked like something out of Vogue. If De Staat’s larger than life headline show wasn’t your thing, then you would’ve been right at home.”

 (c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

31 LOYLE CARNER

What we said: “There aren’t many bad things you can say about Loyle Carner. The London rapper is a perfect example of why the UK’s rap scene is currently on the verge of hitting its qualitative peak, with the likes of Carner and fellow Lowlands performers Dave and Flohio among his much loved contemporaries. Carner’s show on the Heineken stage was one massive bundle of fun which you’d have plenty of trouble finding any problems with. He’s just a great guy with slick tunes; sometimes it can be that easy.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

30 ZWANGERE GUY

What we said: “Did you know that ‘guy’ is pronounced ‘gie’? It was probably a surprise to many, but not as much of a surprise than how tight the actual show itself was. Taking to the X Ray, Guy had the crowd in the palm of his hands from beginning to end, not letting go until the sweaty finale rolled around.”

 (c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

29 PUP

What we said: PUP almost bordered on the predictable in the sweaty X Ray, a tent which was far from full. What the crowd lacked in size, though, was certainly made up for in energy. Frontman Stefan Babcock didn’t wait long to get into the crowd, with he and his band rambunctiously tearing up the stage.”

(c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

28 DAVE

What we said: “Just like at Glastonbury a few weeks back, Dave got a fan (a blonde teenager called Cas) up on stage to rap smash hit Thiago Silva with him. And once again, the fan in question knew every single word. Will it go viral again? Probably not. But was it fun? Most certainly, although it’s worth pointing out that the true highlight of the hour was when Dave seemed to have no idea where he was playing. “We’re outside of Amsterdam right? What’s this place called?” he asked the crowd, before spending a solid minute trying to pronounce Lowlands.”

(c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

27 WHITNEY

What we said: Whitney‘s stunning show on the India stage did impress, though, despite its twinkling intimacy. New album Forever Turned Around is due later this month, its contents a collection of serene indie folk which serves as a great logical progression from 2016’s debut album.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

26 BAD NERVES

What we said: “The Lima stage isn’t usually the place where you’d find a bunch of frantic punk bands, but on Saturday night Bad Nerves served as a fantastic counter to twenty one pilots’ production-heavy live show and Johnny Marr’s nostalgia trip. The UK punks took no prisoners and left no stone unturned as they tore one of Lowlands’ smallest stages a new one with little difficulty.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

25 FLOHIO

What we said: “UK rap is at an all time high, and Flohio was one of Lowlands’ many examples of this during her high octane set on the X Ray stage. Just as with Dave and Loyle Carner, Flohio is flying the flag for the future of UK rap and hip hop – and she does it well.”

 (c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

24 TURNSTILE

What we said: “If you still hadn’t received an energy boost come mid-afternoon, then you had just one proper way of getting hold of it: losing your shit during Turnstile‘s insane X Ray show (that mosh pit during Real Thing, anyone?). And holy shit, at times it felt as though the tent was going to collapse in all its rusty metallic glory. Had that been the case, then what a way to go out on.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

23 OTOBOKE BEAVER

What we said: Otoboke Beaver lit a similarly fierce fire over in the X Ray with their proto punk, for which Lowlands had flown them in especially from Kyoto. And boy was it worth it! Talk about dedication, huh?”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

22 YIN YIN

What we said: “The day started with a hefty dose of tropical Thai funk courtesy of YIN YIN, a new Dutch band whose biggest hit sounds exactly like an exotic interpretation of Donna Summers’ I Feel Love. Seriously, put the tracks next to each other and you’ll hear what we mean.”

(c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

21 TWENTY ONE PILOTS

What we said: “Hauntingly good, and that’s all you need to know. Because what would be the point of dissecting a live show which is already expansive enough? Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are well worn entertainers, and there’s nothing more to it than that.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

20 ANDERSON .PAAK & THE FREE NATIONALS

What we said: “Modern legend Anderson .Paak and his Free Nationals marked one of the best performances of the day, transforming the Alpha stage into a groove-laden frenzy which ended on a bittersweet moment: Mac Miller collaboration Dang!, complete with a picture of Mac on the big screens. Definitely an emotional moment.”

(c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

19 JUNGLE

What we said: “Much of the same can be said for Jungle, a funk collective so solid that every single show they play is all sorts of magical for all the right reasons. New album For Ever – their second – is a wonderful exercise in soul and funk, featuring ultimate highlight Heavy, California. Jungle are an incendiary live band, returning to bigger and bigger stages every time they come back around. Main stage next time, perhaps?”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

18 THE CHATS

What we said: “Also at the top of their game were the crazy Aussies in The Chats, who tore the X Ray a new one with their manic punk riffs, brazen rhythms and songs about smoke breaks (Smoko), pub food (Pub Feed) and being framed for a robbery (Identity Theft).”

 (c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

17 POND

What we said: POND took a more suave approach to their set in the India, drawing heavily from the poppier influences on recent albums Tasmania and The Weather. The real highlight, though, came at the very end in the form of sprawling psych banger Man It Feels Like Space Again. By far and large the best song in POND’s back catalogue, it allowed Nick Allbrook and co. to send the Lowlands crowd into a well-crafted daze.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

16 THE NATIONAL

What we said: The National was all about the opposite of fun, drawing a packed Bravo tent in with their introverted and intricate music. New album I Am Easy To Find is another brilliant exercise in poetic intimacy, with frontman Matt Berninger (drink in hand) the eccentric and suave ringleader. The band tugged at the heartstrings of many a fan with cuts from new album I Am Easy To Find. Accompanied by backing singer Kate Staples, Berninger and co. made for one of the most magistral moments of the weekend through highlights Don’t Swallow the Cap and The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness. Lowlands poor weather may have given the tent a deflated feeling, but on the inside fans were far from empty. They were full, emotionally.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

15 ROYAL BLOOD

What we said: “Speaking of rock, Royal Blood stepped up to the task on the Alpha stage as sub-headliners for De Staat. Although the band are definitely at a level which would warrant a full headline slot, it seems like they’re quite content with playing lower down the bill while album number three is still in the making. A handful of new songs crept into the duo’s Lowlands set, the highlight being a sprawling Boilermaker. When you see Royal Blood live, you know exactly what to expect. And despite the obvious predictability of their music, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

14 THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE QUEEN

What we said: “Are The Good, The Bad & The Queen perhaps a little too intimate for the Bravo? That’s a question many asked when the Damon Albarn fronted outfit found themselves billed on such a large stage. Maybe they were, but the cavernous green tent didn’t stop Damon Albarn and his band from transforming it into a sonic wonderland filled with beautiful, intricate moments. New album Merrie Land is a twinkling collection of music from Albarn and his band (which features Paul Simonon and Simon Tong, among others), and at Lowlands it came to life for those who wanted it to. And for those in attendance, a jubilant Albarn had a very sombre message: “this is our last gig”. Make of that what you will.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

13 THE STREETS

What we said: “Over on the Heineken stage, The Streets‘ Mike Skinner demonstrated exactly why he is still one of the most enigmatic British rappers of all time, commandeering a full tent to the sound of his timeless voice. Fit But You Know It, anyone?”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

12 SLAVES

What we said: Slaves stopped off over on the India stage, their rattling punk jams still fresh albeit unsurprisingly predictable. You can’t blame them for that, though, because that sense of knowing what’s coming next is exactly what makes the Kent duo so unashamedly great.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

11 FONTAINES DC

What we said: “It’s safe to assume by now that we’re all aware of Fontaines D.C.‘s status as the ultimate hype band of the moment. But for how long will that hype last before it begins to subside? If the band’s Lowlands show was anything to go by, then it’s going to be a hell of a long time before we start getting tired of Grian Chatten and co.’s infectiously explosive post punk. Debut album Dogrel is a thing of poetic wonder which really comes to life on the big stage. It thus shouldn’t come as a surprise that the hour they spent on the India stage was an extremely special occasion.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

10 HYUKOH

What we said: “Over on the Lima stage, Japanese indie rockers Hyukoh proved to be the surprise of the day with their jangly groove-laden tunes, all of which carry with themselves a sense of boundless joy. The crowd responded well, and the rest – as they say – is history.”

 (c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

9 PARCELS

What we said: “Usually, anyone who finds themselves performing during the early evening shift on a Sunday evening (aka dinner and chat time) will understand the familiar struggle of playing to a half-full tent of weary-eyed visitors. Unless your name is Parcels, though. The Australian funk outfit made a huge impression during their hour long exercise in exquisite disco grooves and soulful jams. Taking to a packed tent(!) and grabbing everyone’s attention in Holland is quite the achievement, something punctuated by the insanely catchy Tieduprightnow and smooth Comedown. Parcels are one of the best live bands around today, and so it comes as no surprise that their set was one of Sunday’s – and the weekend’s – best. Everything fell into its right place, just as we like it.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

8 IDLES

What we said: IDLES are perhaps one of the most anticipated acts of the weekend, having grown into the role of incendiary live band over the last couple of years. And boy, didn’t they just fucking smash it? Last year’s Joy As An Act of Resistance is an absolute monster of an album both on and offstage, but it’s safe to say that live the songs have so much more impact. The poncho-clad Bristolians took to the India stage in the early part of the evening, raring to go and subsequently tearing the tent a new one. The mammoth Never Fight a Man With A Perm featured early on, setting the tone before a stomping Mother and raucous Danny Nedelko sent the tent into sweat-filled oblivion.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

7 THE GROWLERS

What we said: “The Growlers don’t play many shows in this part of the world nowadays, with their Lowlands set one of just five European shows for the entire year. New album Natural Affair is due in the fall, although Brooks Nielsen and co. didn’t lay any focus on it save for its mellowed out title track. Instead, the set largely served as a beautiful, hour-long greatest hits performance. The first half centred heavily on cuts from the Cali band’s earlier work, with highlights including a rousing Naked Kids and absolutely electric Empty Bones. It was at this moment in the show that things really got exciting, culminating in a brilliant one-two finale of slick disco cuts City Club and I’ll Be Around. The latter sent the full Heineken tent into somewhat of a frenzy, and that only meant one thing: The Growlers came, saw and conquered Biddinghuizen.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

6 BLACK MIDI

What we said: black midi had the tough task of playing up against New Order in the X Ray. The quartet took absolutely no prisoners from the off as they kicked straight into the abrasive and almost violent Near DT, MI. It’s a surefire contender for one of the songs of the decade, its no-holds-barred intensity an outlet of pure chaos. It set the tone nicely for what followed on the in the intimate X Ray, with the likes of the intricate Ducter and Speedway serving as further highlights alongside 953, the opening track on massive debut album Schlagenheim. Although black midi are one of the most left field bands on Lowlands’ bill, they’re by far the best. And by far, we mean far.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

5 A$AP ROCKY

What we said: “The last six weeks have been tense ones for anyone on the organisational side of Lowlands, because up until a few days back no one knew if A$AP Rocky would actually show up. After a fight in Sweden the rapper found himself incarcerated for a full month, with last week’s guilty verdict amounting to no jail time. Good news, basically. The even better news was that Rocky’s Alpha stage show went down like a storm, his energy boundless and crowd relentless. A successful homecoming of sorts, you could say.”

(c) Marc Prodanovic

(c) Marc Prodanovic

4 BOY PABLO

What we said: “How to sum up boy pablo‘s energetic and fun show in one sentence? We’d go with this: If you didn’t have fun watching boy pablo, the something’s wrong with you.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

3 BILLIE EILISH

What we said: “Let’s be honest, though: none of this really mattered when you consider that the act of the moment was about to take to the Alpha stage – Billie Eilish. The seventeen year old singer is one of the biggest stars of the moment (if not the), and she proved this over the course of an hour filled with her dark pop hits. Opener bad guy set the tone and raised the bar incredibly high. Cuts from debut album WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO? featured predominantly throughout and served as most of the highlights, among them the bouncy my strange addiction and badass all the good girls go to hell. Together with bad guy these three songs formed an incendiary part of an absolutely brilliant festival set. There were more people outside the tent than there were in it, and that says enough about Eilish when you take into account the pissing rain.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

2 GIORGIO MORODER

What we said: “The same goes for Giorgio Moroder (aka the King of Disco), who got the Heineken moving to an array of disco hits courtesy of his tight live band. Moroder’s responsible for some of the biggest disco hits of the last forty years, and he wasn’t afraid to pull them all out of the bag from the word go. Bad Girls? Check. Chase? Double check. I Feel Love? A marvellous triple check for an all round legend.”

(c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker

1 TAME IMPALA

What we said: “Over on the Alpha stage, dream headliners Tame Impala served as the band who festivalgoers undoubtedly had been looking forward to the most (unless you found yourself in the X Ray for Ross From Friends). It’s been quite some time since Kevin Parker and consorts made themselves heard, having last released a studio album (Currents) in 2015. Their set at Lowlands served as the final show on the Australians’ big European comeback run, and all signs pointed towards it being just as magical as you could hope. Was it, though? In short: yes, absolutely. A cathartic rendition of the magistral Let it Happen kicked things off with seven minutes of epic disco psych 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 the moment of Lowlands. Or, to be precise, one of many moments: A$AP Rocky joined the band onstage halfway through the show, treating the crowd to renditions of his own tracks Sundress and L$D in what will go down as a legendary Lowlands collaboration. The set continually reached memorable heights throughout, particularly on a woozy Mind Mischief, laser-laden Elephant, groovy The Less I Know the Better and the drawn-out, 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. Tame Impala are the best live band in the world right now, and nothing anyone says can ever prove otherwise.”

 (c) Jack Parker

(c) Jack Parker