Following an extremely successful opening day, Lollapalooza Berlin’s second edition came to a close by means of a stunning headline performance courtesy of Radiohead. With some 80,000 people onsite for the duration of the weekend, it couldn’t get any more packed once the likes of Years & Years, Nothing But Thieves and The 1975 took to the stage. Despite having faced problems from environmental protestors and the local community, Lollapalooza Berlin proved their worth and managed to round off a successful weekend with a final day which demonstrated their ability to create a long-lasting festival legacy.
Soul vocalist MNEK opened up the day on Main Stage 2 in front of a sparse yet energetic crowd, utilizing his exquisite vocal abilities and an abundance of successful collaborations to his advantage. Having written for and worked with the likes of Bastille, Zara Larsson and Clean Bandit, MNEK knows how to write a hit just as well as he knows how to work a stage. Sure, his vocals do fall short of the mark more often than not, but the London-based musician certainly knew how to keep the crowd going in what was an absolutely sweltering heat. Over on Main Stage 1, serene Scandinavian vocalist Aurora and her live band performed a set which drew heavily from debut album All My Demons Greet Me as Friends. Early track Warrior stood out, with Aurora’s voice soaring over the large crowd with effortless ease. She’s relatively shy when it comes to crowd interaction, but she definitely makes up for it by means of her powerful and captivating vocals.
Over on the Alternative Stage, alternative rock stalwarts Nothing But Thieves put one foot in the door to conquering Germany for good with a set which drew heavily from last year’s successful debut album. In the year since its release, the band have gone from strength to strength and toured with the likes of Muse, a band whose influence is imprinted all over their live show. Opening on popular single Itch, it instantly became clear that Conor Mason and co. were taking no prisoners as they performed in front of 10,000 baying fans. Speaking after the show, tour manager Adam Sweeney claimed that it was one the best sets he’d ever seen the band play. Guitarist Dom Craik backed this up by recounting the fact that passers-by would just stop and stay for the show, something which is no surprise considering how incendiary the band’s small back catalogue is. A cover of Pixies classic Where Is My Mind? received the Conor Mason vocal treatment as the frontman laid his recognizable wails over a clattering mix of instrumentation, before set closer Ban All the Music saw the crowd and band alike go wild. It may still be early days, but by the time the band’s sophomore studio album comes out you’d expect Nothing But Thieves to be packing out fields twice this size. Australian indie rockers The Temper Trap followed on the same stage half an hour later, promoting new album Thick as Thieves to a crowd which was notably smaller than the one which Nothing But Thieves pulled earlier on. Not that this took away from the band’s energy, though; rather, it spurred them on to show Berlin everything that they had. Hit track Sweet Disposition and newer cut Fall Together both stood out, presenting The Temper Trap as a band who are surely set for greater success.
Back on Main Stage 2, German heroes Milky Chance received one of the day’s biggest reactions for what was their final show of the year. Still riding the waves of success which breakthrough track Stolen Dance and accompanying album Sadnecessary presented them with, Clemens Rehbein and co. seemed more than up for giving German fans a set to remember. Taking to the stage to an abundance of cheers and screams, it almost seemed as if the band were returning heroes receiving a welcome appropriate for the occasion. Quite rightly so, because the success which Stolen Dance brought the band has seen them go all over the world with just one studio album to their name. If they’ll ever surpass the success of their 2013 single remains to be seen, but all signs seem to be pointing in the right direction. Electronic musician James Blake followed swiftly over on Main Stage 1, performing a selection of tracks from new album The Colour in Anything to a sparse crowd which slowly but surely made its way over to Main Stage 2 for Major Lazer’s show-stopping set. In Germany, the Diplo-helmed electronic project are absolutely massive, with the band essentially pulling a crowd just as big as headliners Radiohead. From the moment that the group’s dancers took to the stage, it was nothing short of an all-out party which never fell short of the mark. Sure, the band aren’t the most original thing anyone has ever heard, but that doesn’t matter when you consider the type of show they put on. At various points during the show, Diplo and Walshy Fire launched t-shirts into the crowd and chucked various other gifts at baying fans in the front row. Jillionaire, the group’s third member, spent most of the show behind his DJ deck as his companions entertained the crowd, with Diplo at one point making his way into the famous hamster ball for a round of “crowd walking”. Worldwide smash hit Lean On (sans MO) featured at the end, with the rest of the show seemingly building up to this one massive moment. On record, Major Lazer are predictable; live, though, they’re nothing short of a celebration.
Closing out a day of celebrations were headliners Radiohead, who performed their last show on European soil for the foreseeable future. New album A Moon Shaped Pool, which came out in May, featured heavily throughout the two-hour long show, one which formed huge contrasts between Thom Yorke and co.’s old and new output. Opening on the menacing Burn the Witch, Yorke’s voice wailed and soared over Berlin as 80,000 voices wailed with him. The tear-jerking Daydreaming and percussive Deck’s Dark both stood out, with the energetic Ful Stop making way for a manic rendition of older track 2+2=5. Whereas the band would previously shy away from old classics, they now revel in performing them live once more. OK Computer standouts Paranoid Android and No Surprises both featured alongside the emotive Let Down, all three of which would have previously been mere rotation tracks. Fellow classics such as the beat-driven Everything In Its Right Place, Idioteque and Street Spirit (Fade Out) also featured, almost making it seem like a glorified greatest hits set with a few new tracks thrown in for variation. On the contrary, though; Radiohead’s set at Lollapalooza was one which captured the exact essence of the band, from the absurd electronica flourishes (such as The Gloaming) all the way through to the track which made them the band that they are today: Creep. Frontman Thom Yorke previously declared he would never play the song live again, but something has changed his mind in recent months, with the band now pulling it out of the bag on a regular basis. And quite rightly so, because despite its vast differences to the band’s diverse back catalogue, it still is the essential track that everyone (fan or not) ought to know by heart. Show closer Karma Police further solidified Radiohead’s status as a “once in a lifetime” band, one who seem to not want to stop whatsoever. And that’s fine, because a band like Radiohead are filled with endless musical possibilities which could be explored until the end of time. They’re rumoured to be going on a festival run in 2017, but until then it remains to be seen what Thom Yorke and co. get up to. Whatever it may be, though, it’s sure going to be special.
Following an extremely successful second edition, Lollapalooza Festival will most likely return to Treptower Park next year.