Optimus Alive Preview: Lots of British Bands and Portuguese Sun
One festival I’ve not heard of until I moved to the not-so-sunny shores of the UK is Portugal’s Optimus Alive. In Europe, the festival carries a good reputation, landing on NME’s top 12 European festivals back in 2009. The sixth edition of the festival is this weekend (July 13-15) and landed a slew of good bands – so many, that I decided to head to Lisbon to check out the festival.
The price was pretty good, too – €89.10 (~$120) for 3 days, and just over €100 if you want to camp. I’ve been to rainy UK festivals before, so I’m excited to check out some bands, while not getting a tan on my pasty white skin. Below is the PeteHatesMusic Optimus Alive preview.
3 Acts to Catch on Friday
For starters, the festival kicks off later than the North American festivals I’ve been to, with the first band not taking any stage until 5:00pm. This might be because of the sun, but it might also be because of the strong DJ and dance line up, with Death in Vegas not taking the stage until 3:00am! I hope you like late nights / early mornings!
Dum Dum Girls – Heineken Stage – 19:05: Dee Dee’s band have 2 successful albums under their belt, and are readying a new EP.
Dum Dum Girls – Coming Down
CONFLICT! There’s Santigold at 23:00 and The Stone Roses at 23:10. Pretty sure that the Stone Roses will win my ears.
The Stone Roses – Optimus Stage – 23:10: The band recently reunited and played 3 successful gigs in England. Seeing as I’ve never seen them live and might never again, I will flock to this stage to see the resurrection (sorry, it’s a required joke when talking about the Stone Roses reforming).
Justice – Optimus Stage – 01:30: I saw Justice tour their first brilliant album, and have never been offered so many drugs in my life (and that was a small club gig). Pretty sure Lisbon won’t sleep because of this set.
Honourable mentions: Santigold, Death in Vegas, Snow Patrol, Zola Jesus
3 Acts to Catch on Saturday
Noah and the Whale – Optimus Stage – 19:30: The first of two prominent English folk bands to play today.
Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
CONFLICT! There’s The Antlers at 20:15 and Mumford & Sons at 20:45. Both of them released strong albums the past couple of years, and both have new material out shortly.
Mumford & Sons – Optimus Stage – 20:45: I’ve seen Mumford & Sons before, and small clubs are the best way to experience them, but I’m still going to lean towards their riotous live show on Saturday.
Florence + the Machine – Optimus Stage – 22:10: No need to leave the Optimus Stage so far today, as Florence continues her world tour on the strength of her second album. We’ve already seen her dazzle at the Royal Albert Hall this year.
Honourable mentions: The Antlers, Here We Go Magic, James Murphy + Pat Mahoney
3 Acts to Catch on Sunday
No surprises here, but Sunday is the only sold out day listed on the website. Why? Because of Radiohead, naturally. Radiohead will be playing one of their first shows since the tragedy in Toronto.
The Kooks – Optimus Stage – 19:35: The Kooks released a strong third album, after a killer debut, and what I felt was an average second album that I chalked up to the famed “sophomore slump”.
CONFLICT! The Maccabees at 20:20 or Caribou at 20:50. Caribou have been opening for Radiohead on their tour, and it’s no different tonight, while The Maccabees are touring their first #1 album in the UK.
The Maccabees – Since as I’m seeing Caribou open for Radiohead later this year, the nod goes to the Maccabees. I embarrassingly don’t know a lot of their early albums, so what better way to learn than live?
The Maccabees – Feel to Follow
Radiohead – Optimus Stage – 22:30: SURPRISE! I’m recommending that you see my favourite band. Radiohead are touring their album of 1.5 years ago, The King of Limbs. Playing live is one of Radiohead’s strengths, so expect a 20+ song set, spastic dancing from Thom Yorke, and Jonny Greenwood playing more instruments than you can name.
Honourable mentions: Caribou, Miles Kane, The Kills
Has anyone been to Optimus Alive before? Feel free to share any tips or band recommendations with us. See you in Lisbon!