WERCHTER, BELGIUM. 29.06.17 – 02.07.17 FRIES, FOOS AND FLEMISH FUN GALORE AS ROCK RULES BELGIUM’S BIGGEST FESTIVAL WORDS: JAMES HICKIE blink-182 PHOTO: JASON ASARE for rock WERCHTER 2017 SYSTEM OF A DOWN AND FOO FIGHTERS PHOTOS: JOKKO for rock WERCHTER 20
ROCK WERCHTER is where 88,000 festival-goers and an eclectic musical bill go together like chips and mayonnaise.this year’s sizeable quota of rock kicks off on Thursday evening with one of its most incendiary supergroups, PROPHETS OF RAGE (KKKK), who vow to “make Belgium rage again”.tom Morello’s guitar does much of the talking, both musically – on Know Your Enemy and Bulls On Parade – and more literally via the words ‘FUCK TRUMP’ emblazoned on the underside of it. It’s similarly obvious
ROYAL BLOOD (KKKKK)
love this festival – their Friday set marking their fourth time here.to celebrate, Mike Kerr and “the rest of the band” (i.e. drummer Ben Thatcher) unleash a blistering bag of bass-grooving badassery.‘how did you get so good?’ a fan’s sign asks.
Another question for Saturday is what
FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES (KKKK)
will do when the main stage’s elaborate barrier system prevents them starting the “biggest circle-pit of the festival”. Frank settles for instigating multiple smaller ones: a sight he describes as “like an ant farm”.after such urgency, BLUES
PILLS (KKK) make for a noodling comedown, despite singer Elin Larsson’s energetic efforts. While the Swedes showcase a love of psychedelia, MACHINE GUN KELLY (KKK) illustrates what presumably happens when you grow up on a diet of Kid Rock. It’s paid off, as the huge, hangarlike Klub C stage is full to bursting.as are hearts when JIMMY EAT WORLD (KKK) arrive, although the bum notes Jim Adkins unleashes during Sweetness jar.thankfully nothing impedes the gooey loveliness of The Middle. Middling, however, accurately describes what BLINK-182 (KKK) delivers. While the classics (What’s My Age Again?, Dammit) sound vibrant,
if thin, the material from latest album California fares less well. It’s bolstered as ever, though, by Travis Barker’s dominant drumming, and generous pyro.there’s no need for the latter during SYSTEM OF A DOWN (KKKKK) because they’re on fire.as at Download, we get a lengthy set list of flawlessly executed favourites. Unlike Download, however, the band actually look like they’re enjoying it. Guitarist Daron Malakian labels this crowd “hands-down the best on this motherfucking tour”, though they’re only giving as good as they get.‘strange’ is the best way to describe LINKIN PARK (KKK) trying to incorporate songs from One More Light into a cohesive experience.you would think those pop leanings would give the Californians a multiple head liners-for-the-price-of- one appeal, but the results – a gruff One Step Closer one minute, dance lullaby Invisible the next – proves wildly uneven.
On Sunday, NOTHING BUT THIEVES (KKK) confirm new songs like Amsterdam are suited to bigger stages, though the Essex boys need to learn to put on a bigger show to match. They could learn from DROPKICK MURPHYS (KKKK), whose rabble-rousing shenanigans peak with maritime favourite I’m Shipping Up To Boston. Having recently headlined Glastonbury, FOO
FIGHTERS (KKKKK) shouldn’t be too fazed here, though Dave Grohl exclaiming “No pressure!” while surveying the vast crowd suggests some nerves.that might explain the odd banter (Dave calling drummer Taylor Hawkins,“the Ike to [his] Tina Turner”) and almost forgetting to introduce The Kills’ Alison Mosshart during new song La Dee Da. It’s this looseness, though, that makes it a more fun set than Glasto, with Dave playfully branding those with signs mocking the leg-break that cancelled their 2015 appearance “assholes”. Elsewhere, a jammed out version of Monkey Wrench – played on a guitar signed by hundreds of fans, and completed by Dave appearing up the sound tower – distils everything Foo Fighters (and this festival) represents: loud music, good times and an unbreakable bond between artist and audience. Foo-king brilliant.
Frank Carter always got really involved when refereeing… Travis got cramp in his hand at the worst possible time You wouldn’t like Machine Gun Kelly when he’s angry… Serj helpfully points the way to Rock Werchter. Cheers!
“Alright!who put superglue in my hand moisturiser?” Chuck D and B-real lost half of their barbershop quartet
Mike Kerr always drooled at the sight of a tasty mic…
Chester was always on hand to catch any falling bassists
Jimmy Eat World always saw the funny side. Even in armpits