Where the Bands Are (Way Out West 2019- Day 1)

Way Out West, 8 August, 2019

For the third year in a row I’m going to experience the Way Out festival West (#wowgbg) located in Gothenburg. It’s a three day adventure packed with music, films and food/drinks. This year’s festival is the thirteenth consecutive. The main festival area is in the park Slottsskogen with five stages and, after midnight, there’s a club program called Stay Out West with four different venues and eight stages.

What’s fun with a music festival is the range of the different acts. You are bound to find artists/groups you like, but also ones you dislike.

Day 1

For me the lineup of the first day of WOW19 didn’t offer any must-sees. I had marked a few acts that I wanted to check out and my friends also had some that I tagged along to.

Jens Lekman [stage: Linné], A Swedish electro pop singer. He is a true original and considered a talented songwriter; his lyrics are quite different and a bit weird. One of the songs was “Hotwire the Ferris Wheel”, which is about a memorable night with a serious conversation, intentionally made sound lighthearted, like a night of hooliganism-song.

Lekman’s performance, himself with a guitar and a music machine backed by just one drummer, was solid and a soft start to the day even though he isn’t a favourite of mine.

Silvana Imam [stage: Flamingo], Silvana Imam is a Lithuanian/Syrian/Swedish rapper, who really stands out. She forces the audience to listen and take a stand. Her lyrics question norms, prejudice, patriarchy and racism, and they don’t leave anyone indifferent.

Imam’s performance was intense and the beat was explosive. Although I tried, I couldn’t really make out every word she sang, but it was easy to comprehend her state of mind. The songs “Shhh” and “Knark” spoke to me the most.

It was very interesting to see this young woman/immigrant/lesbian/anti-racist, who so quickly has become a powerful icon for women’s empowerment and the HBTQ Community.

Despite her low age (she is 21), Zara Larsson [stage: Flamingo] is one of Sweden’s most well know international pop exports. She has already collaborated with artists such as Ed Sheeran, David Guetta and Jocke Berg and has played alongside Rihanna, Kate Perry, Taylor Swift and Lorde.

Zara Larsson’s set was very professional and solid, yet a bit blah. She had drawn quite a crowd but although she told us that THIS was the gig she and her band had looked forward to all summer (does she say that on every show? 🤔) she didn’t seem to be there wholeheartedly. However, her biggest hits “Uncover” and “Lush Life” made the audience wild and almost everyone sang along.

To conclude the first day: a bit of a weak start music wise, but a great setting (sunny almost the entire day), lots of people and nice company.

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