By Kieran Ford
First Festival of 2019! Nice.
This year the new and upcoming North Music Festival welcomed some top talent to Porto for its third edition.
Alfândega Nova (New Customs) is the venue. Originally purpose built for imports and exports, it’s since been redeveloped, and now houses a scenic events centre nestled alongside the beautiful Douro River.
It’s the perfect setting for a relatively intimate festival. There’s a large indoor area that’s equipped with the smaller second stage, food and drink stalls and even a Barbers! Which was surprising to see but also surprisingly popular.
Then, through a grand opening you wander into the outdoor real festival feel venue, with the huge main stage and beer stands. The best of both world’s – seamlessly fitting together well equipped indoor and outdoor areas.
“…In my head brilliantly, but to bystanders, probably undoubtedly British.”
The Top Two Artists:
BASTILLE – (♫) Does it Almost Feel Like You’ve Been Here Before? (♫)
Yes. Yes it did. I saw Bastille when they first burst onto the scene years ago at Benicassim 2013! They put on a memorable show that night, clearly, and I hoped for the same at this one 6 years later. I wasn’t disappointed.
It was a real, professional and heartfelt performance. Presented in Acts, theatre-like, it was as if singer Dan Smith was reliving his whirlwind journey of being a successful musician right there before us.
He went from moments like thanking and explaining to the audience that his Portuguese was very bad, in very bad Portuguese, before jumping down off stage, entering into the crowd and marching around in the madness while belting out ‘Flaws’ – “There’s a hole in my soul, I can’t fill it, I can’t fill it!”
It was like he’d used his bad language skills to demonstrate that we all have flaws, but also through making the effort to speak in the local language and jumping off his pedestal to enjoy the show amongst the fans, he made his point that we’re all the same, all human, nobody’s perfect. We all have flaws and he’s just another one of us.
Onto the next song and back onto the stage, where the scene had been set as if we’d entered into his lonely apartment. A place where thoughts are strong and lyrics are written. Pulled his hood up and transitioned from moments lying on the sofa, to sitting slouched, to jumping up and throwing his passion out toward the crowds. It showed all of the raw emotion that went into creating these songs. He portrayed it brilliantly.
The closing Act went crazy, happy, vibrant! Colours and dance. He’d connected with us by bearing his soul. Then we all partied on together to the end of the set.
A great show.
FRANZ FERDINAND – (♫) Well do ya? Do ya do ya Want to? (♫)
Yes, I do, please. Bring it. Pumped from Bastille‘s show I was more than ready for a performance from now seasoned pros, Franz Ferdinand. Again, I’ve seen them before at a previous festival and know they know how to put on a show.
Exactly as I’d hoped. Full of such energy, charisma and gusto that you couldn’t help but get into the groove with their twangy rhythms, and shout along to their catchy choruses.
I was clearly caught up in it anyway – I didn’t take a single note the whole performance and only took the one shoddy amateur shot (above).
Being late into the night by that point too, I hip jolted, two stepped, finger pointed and mimed my way throughout the entire show… In my head brilliantly, but to bystanders, probably undoubtedly British. But you have to be really entertaining to trigger those moves.
And they were. A top class display.
One More Song! One More Song!
We got the Encore and they closed with the classic ‘This Fire’. Well into the early hours by then, but so pumped with vigour was their performance that everyone was still buzzing. Good job you can always count on Portugal for an after party. Off to the indoor stage it was, for more shameless dancing in front of a pretty decent DJ.
Until Next Time
So, another Portuguese festival in the bag. And another winner. I highly recommend a visit to Porto and the North Music Festival.
Next weekend I’m off to Madrid and hoping for another winner – Tottenham in the Champions League final!
For now though, thanks as always if you’ve taken the time to read this, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Thanks, Obrigado, COYS!