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Way Out West 2014: Day 2

09 August 2014, 11:32 | Written by Lauren Down

We return for our second helping of Way Out West Festival goods with a round-up of Friday’s line-up, featuring Mapei, OutKast, 1987 and more.

Mapei. Photograph by Sonny MalhotraMapei. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

Hopping from the West Coast to the East, Stockholm’s Mapei draws an impressively huge crowd for her late afternoon set. The bass is heavy and the tent oppressive as she comes out spitting the lyrics to rallying rap anthem “Second To None”. Flanked by two dancers and donning a top hat for the performance, the Columbia signed artist delivers an incredible set proving her worthy of the hype. It’s not just that songs like “Change” and “Don’t Wait” epitomise the modern pop song – primal sparse percussion, rhythmic shots and flawless, assured vocals - but that Mapei knows how to put on a show; the choreographed moves and energy on stage are infectious. Her album Hey Hey is out in September and if today’s show is anything to go by, it’s going to be snapped up fast.

Janelle Monae. Photograph by Sonny MalhotraJanelle Monae. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

Next up is a lady who is, and always will be, cooler than you. Did Prince feature on your album? No, he featured on Janelle Monáe’s.

As the sounds of Richard Strauss’ “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” – made famous by 2001: A Space Odyssey – reach their climax Janelle’s hype man encourages the audience to welcome her to the stage. The lady herself is soon wheeled out, tied in a white straight jacket and stood upright on a little trolley. The beats of “Give Em What They Love” find her shaking it off with ease and raising her heels, ready to bust out the footwork she’s so famed for. An early double-whammy of “Electric Lady” and James Brown’s “I Feel Good” have everyone grinning from ear to ear as they bust out their best moves to try and keep up with the ball of energy on stage. “Q.U.E.E.N” and “Tightrope” seal the deal: Janelle’s set is the most wonderful thing we’ve seen in a long time.

Little Dragon. Photograph by Sonny MalhotraLittle Dragon. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

Local heroes Little Dragon soon take their turn over on the Linné stage, drawing an insatiable crowd with the sounds of their latest album Nabuma Rubberband. Since the release of their eponymous debut album in 2007, Yukimi Nagano & co have always verged on the edge of greatness – their punchy, shape-shifting, R&B inspired pop taking twists and turns that no one else would dare to dream. Their structures have always been as formless as they are biting and tight but live they bring new elements to the fore, transforming themselves into a band that doesn’t just verge on the edge, it delves right in. The seductive trips of “Killing Me”, the tribal dance rhythms of “Ritual Union” and the euphoric swells of “Klapp Klapp” make for a breath taking hour.

OutKast Crowd. Photograph by Sonny MalhotraOutKast Crowd. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

As fantastic as their hour is, it’s not the hour that everybody has been waiting for. That right is reserved for OutKast. Celebrating their twentieth anniversary with a string of 40 festival performances, it doesn’t matter that tonight’s Way Out West set isn’t going to be particularly unique because it damn well feels like it to every single person gathered here. Wasting no time, Big Boi and André 3000 launch straight into their set with the aggressive and frantic beats of “Bombs Over Baghdad” - an instant frenzy ensues and is, essentially, maintained throughout.

At one point I notice out of the corner of my eye that two particularly limp trees near the front of the crowd are swaying a lot more than they should be, I turn around to take a real look and I see various limbs flailing from either side – excited onlookers having scrambled up the trees already non-existent branches to get a better look. I wonder if the trees are limp from previous years’ revellers doing exactly the same!

OutKast. Photograph by Sonny MalhotraOutKast. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

From the hits that everyone knows and loves to the hardcore fan favourites, their career spanning set really reminds us just how diverse the Atlanta two piece are. “Miss Jackson”, “Hey Ya!” and “So Fresh, So Clean” understandably get the largest reactions of the night but everything gets its due, including “Crumblin’ Erb”, “da Art of Storytellin’ (Part 1)” and “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.”

Taking turns to perform their solo efforts from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below before retuning for a triumphant second half, the pair dominate the stage in their own way. Big Boi holds down the bulk of the space while André in his boiler suit runs around like a mad thing, twisting himself up in his mic cable, inviting woman on stage and giving shout outs to the crowd, particularly to the woman wearing a t-shirt that says “Eat Pussy, Not Meat” (this is a solely vegetarian catered festival after all!)

OutKast. Photograph by Sonny MalhotraOutKast. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

After reports from Coachella widely agreed that their return was a crushing disappointment, it’s a complete relief to see the OutKast we do tonight. Here’s to 20 more years and 40 more shows.

1987. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra1987. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

It’s late but the party isn’t over yet. We high tail it out of Slottsskogen and head to Gothenburg’s Film Studios located on the North of the river. It’s a trek but it’s worth it to catch 1987. The work of Faye/Sportsman songwriter and producer Victor Holmberg, 1987 is the distilled, pure, filtered sound of hazy Swedish pop. Stood in between two flickering screens and behind a black, gauze like curtain the stage setting perfectly matches the sonics – the beautiful visuals hinting at the delicacy of his creations whilst the curtain protects the emotional intensity and mystery found in its synths swells and Swedish lyrics.

How To Dress Well. Photograph by Sonny MalhotraHow To Dress Well. Photograph by Sonny Malhotra

One last hop across town and we’re done. This time it’s to Rondo and How To Dress Well. Appearing on stage in front of an audience that look like – and in some cases genuinely are – they’re here for a dinner and a show. Tom Krell’s confessional, heartbreak-shaped ambient pop moves through the crowd at just the right pace; tracks from his recently released third album holding just enough weight to see us through until the early hours.

Photograph by Sonny Malhotra.

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