Way Out West the 3-day festival held in Göthenburg during this month of August offered an impeccable line-up as it has us accustomed to since 2007. We’ve been there and picked a few of the highlights… so here’s the line up…
The reputation of the festival preceded it - after hearing about the greatness of the shows and the impeccable line-up (a whole range of artists mainly from the pop, electronic and the hip hop genres), WAS finally decided to go to Sweden for one week, in order to finally know what the fuss was all about. After spending time over the discovery of Gothenburg on Wednesday (which consisted in going on a shopping spree at COS, Weekday, ACNE and Our Legacy stores + having a near death experience on the AtmosFear and the Helix at the Liseberg amusement park + dabbling in the bouncy hip hop of the Gravity Boys playing at the Yaki-Da), it was finally time to go to the Slottsskogen park in the afternoon - we were immediately blown away by the beauty of the location. The park is huge, we knew straight away that Slottsskogen was going to show us a goood time for those 3 days.
- Yung Lean & Sad Boys
It feels only natural that the show would start with a Swedish act. Yung Lean and his crew have become underground hip-hop superstars with their music merging hip hop influences with electronic beats. Greatly inspired by the likes of Main Attrakionz, Lil B and Clams Casino, Yung Lean revealed the maturity of a seasoned rapper on stage. We didn't really know what to expect from the buzzy act from Stockholm but it actually turned out to be really good. Yung Lean is a great performer and we have to admit that the hype should be trusted sometimes
- Monde Diao
This was a great DJ set, mixing R&B, pop and dancehall with electronic soundscapes thus acting as a great transition after the Sad Boys offering. We knew nothing of them before, not much has changed since then but hell did they got us moving on that sunny afternoon!
- Rebecca & Fiona
Our knowledge of the Swedish duo was almost non-existent (apart from their feature in H&M latest campaign) but that is something that is really likely to change - their show was pure ecstasy. Pop, eccentric and really energetic, R&F got us all pumped up for the evening + "Candy Love" became our festival anthem.
All of our expectations were met during the performance of Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington. The bubble they created on stage was hypnotic and enthralling. The LP Psychic takes its full dimension when played live, haunting guitar chords and psychedelic sounds rendering your brain numb ammost instantly. It took us a few minutes to recover from it, as if we'd been hit by a tornado. Time for us to hit the grass for a bit.
- Joey Bada$$
Despite us not being huge fans of the US rapper, we enjoyed his show - he gave a lot of good energy, interacted with the audience and turned out to be a nice discovery. But by then, the beer and the tiredness started to kick in and we were also too psyched about the Stay Out West gigs to stay until the end of the show - bye Joey, Stay Out West is taking over now.
- Zebra Katz
The reason for all that enthusiasm? There was absolutely no way for us to miss Zebra Katz who was announced to play at the Gothenburg Film Studio. After a long bus ride through the city and a waiting line that almost sucked out all the good energy (and alcohol) we had left in us, we finally got in. After raving about the beauty of the place and almost missing the beginning of his show, we ended up at the very front of the crowd which enabled us to see everything up-close. "Sex Sells", "Champagne Cocaine", "Last Name Katz", "Y I DO", "Blk Wiccan" were the highlights of his show giving us to see the potential of a great artist. On top of being a talented rapper (as anticipated,"Ima Read" set fire to the audience), Zebra Katz is a GREAT performer - playing and teasing the audience (on the verge of flirting), Zebra is seductive and magnetic when on stage but never comes across as tacky or obscene. Although we are not in a club, we feel like we are, especially when under the assault of the Herve-produced track "Tear The House Up". After that, it was pretty clear who would get our vote for the artist of the day.
- Jamie xx
Recovering from our first day of festival was harder than we expected and we were unable to get to Slottsskogen before 3.30. Just in time to see Jamie xx, we danced to the sound of the Young Turks producer in the sun until we realized we were initially looking for Blood Orange whose show had already started. OOPS.
- Blood Orange
We are head over heels for Devonté Hynes, his career is flawless - his being part of the Test Icicles, the beauty of his works under the moniker of Lightspeed Champion (cf. Fallin Off The Lavender Bridge), his first solo album, his work as a producer for the Sugababes, Solange, Sky Ferreira up until the Palo Alto soundtrack and Cupid Deluxe paved the way for an astonishing career. His performance was not something to be taken lightly for us and deservedly, because the show was as good as it gets - Devonté Hynes is almighty up there. Channeling like-no-other energy, he made us realize that coming all this way to see him was not a foolish thing to do. Playing tunes from Coastal Grooves and Cupid Deluxe, Dev confirmed that he was one of a kind, an artist to be reckoned with. We then had the opportunity to chat with him and also proved to be really approachable. There is nothing more than we can add, you need to see him live if that didn't cross your mind before now. We would kill to see the live version of "Chamakay" just ONE MORE TIME.
We knew Mapei mostly for "Don't Wait" and I don't think that anyone else present would differ about it. We were too busy getting "refreshments"after Blood Orange and unfortunately missed the one song that really mattered. Judging from what we heard when we finally hit the stage, we picked a good time for our break. Someone from the team who could attend the whole thing said the song was really good played live. Too bad. But rejoice, our eyes/ears were on another Swedish R&B talent and we surely didn't miss that one...
Future is Ciara's boyfriend. Future is Ciara's child father. Future collaborated with Kanye West. That was the information we had in our hands when seeing him live and I'm afraid we're not going to have much to say about his performance. It's not so much about the whole gangsta act that bothered us but the voice, there is just something about this guy's voice that could never really do it. We are clearly not being super objective but let's just say that we weren't fans before seeing him live and that seeing him live didn't help, despite what someone from the team said (the same someone who was actually there for "Don't Wait" before, yes). His music is just not up our street. After bearing with Future's vocoder triumph for 25 minutes, we then proceeded to move on to the next stage.
- Icona Pop
And hell was that next stage fun! We hesitated a long time before going, as Little Dragon was playing at the same time. But we needed something to warm us right back up after the lukewarm feeling Future left us with - what better than the candy pop of the Swedish duo to achieve that? They unrolled a plethora of tunes heard on their latest record along with new tracks off their new offering. We danced, giggled, sweated, clapped hands to the sound of exquisite tracks of Icona Pop as is we were teenage girls at a sleepover party. Until "It's My Party" happened, everything was already super good. One of us suddently said that "it would awesome if Zebra Katz" joined them on stage for the remix of the song and you will never guess what happened - Zebra Katz ACTUALLY appeared on stage. By then we were elated. And we now have aboslutely no shame to say that it was probably of the best shows of the festival. The embolding feeling diffused by the live version of "I Love It" was merely equalled by any other act during the festival (not even "Do It Again" could achieve that). And of course, it was hard not to feel down when coming back to the stage where Future used to play, to find Yukimi dancing on the stage. But we promised ourselves one thing - Little Dragon, we will see each other again very shortly.
Not once did it occur to our minds before the WOW line-up was announced, that we would someday have the opportunity to see Outkast on stage. We never really got over "Ms. Jackson","Hey Ya", "The Way You Move" or even "Roses"+ Big Boi and Andre 3000 have achieved what only a few contemporary rappers could achieve, undeniable stardom possibly outside of their own genre. Seeing them live was a dream coming true and everything was perfect.. until those naked women visuals started popping up on the screens behind the stage. In some way, those super-giant boobs and sexy underwear clashed with the ideas (expectations) we had about Outkast. Despite that, we are happy to say we saw Big Boi and Andrew 3000 in the flesh. SHAKE IT LIKE A POLAROID PICTURE.
- Naomi Pilgrim
After spending the entire day at the park, we embarked on the next tramway to the Rondo venue. We were told the place was close to the Liseberg, leaving us quite unsure about the kind of place we were going to spend the rest of the night. Far from what we expected, we nested for the end of the night in a delightful place - it was actually closer to the settings of a theather where one can go to watch cabaret shows. We got seated on the balcony's welcoming leather chairs to see the beginning of Naomi Pilgrim while sipping on a cold beer. That was ACE.
- How To Dress Well
All white was everything for Tom Krell on that night. He materialized on the stage of the Rondo to start playing the tracks of his latest full-length called What Is This Heart?
We'd been anticipating his show for a long time. After the wonders his first records worked, we knew a live performance would feel almost surreal. The soulful singer-songwriter has a magnetic presence stage and an almost palpable aura. The pictures displayed on the screen were as stunning as Krell's luminous voice and this is probably the one artist we really wanted to interview. At least, just to ask him what is it about the melancholy of his songs that makes us back coming back for more.
- Linda Pira
It felt a bit like having Angel Haze, Azealia Banks and Iggy Azalea (although this is really unlikely to happen though, with Azealia desperately trying to slay everything that moves, especially female co-workers) on a stage. Except they were at least 5 (maybe more, maybe less) and we were absolutely clueless about they were rapping about. It started to rain pretty heavily by then, so that was the end of the little knowledge we were acquiring about Swedish female rappers.
- Mos Def
Although we are not great fans of his, it was a pleasure to become more acquainted with the U.S. hip hop star. Skill and discipline are what make for a great rap show and Yasiin doesn't really lack those two qualities - most of his best known songs were played and they were really good compagny until the real deal started.
- Royskopp & Robyn
They were pretty much 50% of our motivation to go to Sweden for the Way Out West, it just made sense to us to see two of our favourite acts on their land for one date of their collaborative project. After battling with the rain all afternoon, we gathered all the energy left in us to attend this show and if we cannot really say it was entirely disappointing, I'm not sure we could say either that it was our favourite set of the festival (despite our sky-high expectations). Maybe the 40 minutes of Royskopp playing some of their best-known titles put us to sleep. Or maybe it was this overexcited Swedish girl next to us (I dunno who you are, but you kind of ruined it for us girl). The good energy was there, Robyn even played the devastating (and reinterpreted) pop trinity "Dancing On My Own", "Call Your Girlfriend", "With Every Heartbeat" and the Royskopp-featured "The Girl & The Robot", "None Of Dem". But that never really did it. Even after the Do It Again songs are played, we were somewhat left wanting for more. Maybe we are just too enamoured with those two acts and what they represent for us - the creativity and talent of Scandinavian artists. We owe them our love and curiosity for electro-pop, so even if the show didn't meet our expectations (they're the worst), we still really enjoyed it so thank you Robyn and Royksopp.
n.b. Robyn is some bad-ass dancer.
- Kelela + Nguzunguzu
Tears and sweat. Kelela crying, us dancing around to the sultry beats of Cut 4 Me. We really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into when walking/queuing up forever into the Nefertiti club. We knew it would be good (it had to be, we missed Shlohmo for her show) but wow. Kelela's music makes enven more sense when you see her live, even more so than listening to the whole EP in the comfort of your beddy won't.. cut it. The bouncy beat, the heat, Kelela's silky vocals were everything that night. All the fun we had during the festival, being worn-out, the rain we put up with the all day, the stress of travelling the next day - everything was encapsulated into those 45 minutes and made into pure bliss. The highlight of the show was undeniably the extended version of "Bank Head" which literally put us in a trance. Once it was over, the DJs of Nguzunguzu took over as if to finish us off. A few beers, cigs and dances away, we decided to call it a day. It was 4 a.m.
Robyn & Royksopp