FM4 Frequency Festival 2011 review
Foo Fighters, Rise Against and more shine in Austria
Robin Card - 21 August 2011
Saying that the FM4 Frequency festival is one of Austria's largest festivals may be like saying it's one of the world's
tallest midgets. However this smaller rival to Nova Rock has recently attracted headliners the calibre of Muse,
Radiohead and for 2011, Kasabian and a rejuvenated Foo Fighters.
Taking place on the outskirts of St. Polten, a small town 40 miles outside of the capital Vienna, the 40,000 capacity festival essentially doubles the local population for one weekend every summer.
The site is divided in two, with the three-stage Day Park and the legal warehouse rave that is the Night Park. The event attracts a youthful Austrian and German demographic who's blood is a beer / Red Bull mixture and love nothing more than dressing as pirates or writing all over their bodies in permanent marker. A bandage on the elbow is ostensibly the Austrian festival-goer's accessory of choice.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, shut the fuck up!" says Dave Grohl as his name is chanted by a well-refreshed audience. His band Foo Fighters (10/10) are unquestionably the main event this time around, though they are not taking it easy. They juxtaposed classics such as ‘Monkey Wrench' and an extended 'Stacked Actors' with newer songs 'Rope' and 'Walk' from recent return-to-greatness album 'Wasting Light'.
Tonight Grohl is fully justifying his place at the head of rock's grand table, sprinting across the stage and stretching every sinew to give the Foos-hungry people what they need. 'Everlong' represents the grandest of grand finales, the crowd howling the chorus as Grohl cajoles them to sing along. As the song's title suggests, it should never have to end.
Meanwhile, Brighton's own indie superstars The Kooks (8/10) treat Frequency to a set fortified by many tracks from their debut 'Inside In/Inside Out'. Frontman Luke Pritchard is a favourite of the frauleins and they shriek with glee as hits 'Naive', 'Sway' and 'Do You Wanna' provoke hysteria. Tracks from new record 'Junk Of The Heart' are equally well-received and it's certain The Kooks will be welcomed back to Frequency with open hearts any time they fancy.
Katie White of The Ting Tings (7/10) attempts some German, seemingly for the first time. It translates as "We come here to make the dance", and make the dance they do. The crowd throws B-Boy poses to 'Fruit Machine', pogoes along to 'Hang It Up' and reaches for the lasers during a techno breakdown. The Ting Tings must relish a willing crowd like this and, on this evidence, the second album is going to be a stormer.
Punk-rockers Rise Against (8/10) are on the road to becoming headliners themselves. They tear brutally through their set, only relenting mercifully for a lighters-aloft 'Hero Of War'. Fittingly, standout ‘Audience Of One’ causes fists to be thrown to the sky in unison. "Thank you for your voices, your passion and your energy," says singer Tim McIlrath sincerely after a frenetic 'Prayer Of The Refugee'. Frankly, the passion and energy is easily matched and exceeded by the band.
There are low points however: it is by no means a major festival and there isn’t quite enough talent present to fill three days with wall-to-wall excellence. As long as they can unleash acts like the Foo Fighters though, the highlights will balance out the dross.