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W Festival 2021Klein Strand, Oostende, Belgium
26th to 29th August 2021
W-Festival 2021 Day 2 with The Blow Monkeys, Matt Bianco, Millionaire, Buscemi Vs Praga Khan, Ronan Keating, Midge Ure, Novastar, Paul Young, The Human League

Bright sunshine, blue sky - the second day of the Belgium W-Festival started in the best possible way. Music wise with a real Pop- and soul-classic: THE BLOW MONKEYS from Britain told the audience that ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way’ and pathed the way for the UK Pop phenomenon MATT BIANCO. Their groovy ‘Half a Minute’ made the audience dance with their drinks in their hands.

For the Belgium audience, MILLIONAIRE wasn’t a hidden gem - but for the foreigners it might have been a pleasant surprise. The Belgium Indie-Rock group was formed by Tim Vanhamel, who was the guitarist of the Belgium Rock gods DEUS. Although they are on tour right now and play lots of shows all over Belgium, the musicians were nearly busting with their sheer joy of playing, having a lot of on-stage communication without words. For the crowd, ‘Can’t Stop The Noise’ was one very outstanding and favourite track from the 2020 album ‘Applz≠Applz’, which was produced by Josh Homme. 40 minutes of MILLIONAIRE was not enough to discover their broad range of styles, they have in their music. Not only on their latest recording, they mix Indie-Rock tunes with Funk, Soul and Stoner Rock.

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The contrast to the next artists could not be bigger: BUSCEMI VS PRAGA KHAN, which were also a last-minute addition, made the audience dance with their unique mixture of own songs like ‘Breakfast In Vegas’ and samples of for example THE PRODIGY, MOBY and FAD GADGET. What a party! And a perfect warm-up for all the people, who were waiting for the afternoon-headliner. RONAN KEATING. The charming king of Pop delivered a flawless performance of his biggest hits like ‘Life Is A Rollercoaster’, ‘Picture Of You’, ‘When Tomorrow Never Comes’ and ‘When You Say Nothing At All’. ‘Fade To Grey’ was a song, we heard not only once live on the festival, but twice. And MIDGE URE was the one, who delivered the much better version of it. But back to start - the Glasgow-born singer-songwriter started a hell of a sing-a-long party with his hits like ‘Vienna’ or ‘Hymn’. People were happy, cheering and clapping to the music. An outstanding performance like always. Thanks, Mister Ure.

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NOVASTAR, the project of Joost Zweegers, was up next. He was joined on stage by producer of his latest work, Mikey Rowe. Quite a calm counterpart after the astonishing performance of MIDGE URE. PAUL YOUNG afterwards would have loved such a warm and happy response to his set like Mister Ure was receiving from the audience earlier. But his performance was, not only compared to Ure, a catastrophe for me and lots of attendees. He couldn’t carry a tune and was not in-sync with his band at all. When the audience refused to applaud him, he complained “this wasn’t much” and said he would leave now - nobody protested but he stayed anyway for a crappy version of ‘Every Time You Go’ which was rescued by his brilliant band when he left the stage in anger. 20 minutes before this it was even worse: “What is he doing now?” a friend asked me, when the first tunes of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ from JOY DIVISION rang out. “Committing suicide!”, was my reply. Holy shit, I haven’t seen such a low performance for a very, very long time.

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Who survived the awful set of PAUL YOUNG was awarded by a top-notch show of THE HUMAN LEAGUE, who played all of their most famous songs like ‘Human’, ‘The Lebanon’, Mirror Man’ and ‘Don’t You Want Me’. They haven’t been in tune all the time as well, but they made it up with charisma and a nice attitude towards the audience. The only minus goes out to the fans: standing in the back and not being tall, some people had trouble to see the stage, because literally everyone was filming. But somehow understandable – everyone wanted to take something home from this perfect day at the beach. The set ended with the fantastic ‘Being Boiled’ and the Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder cover ‘Together In Electric Dreams’

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All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)

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