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Monday, July 20, 2009

Live Show Review: Gurtenfestival, July 19, Bern, Switzerland





Kings of Leon & Travis

 While most of you were just rolling out of bed yesterday from another wild night in the Classic City, thousands of heady Europeans across the pond in Switzerland were already rocking out to bands like Kings of Leon, Travis, and several Swiss bands I can’t even begin to pronounce. Though both KOL and Travis reign from elsewhere, the fans at Gurtenfestival in Bern, Switzerland welcomed the bands as their own, and it was obvious the boys were extremely humbled.

 At 4:55p.m., arriving a bit late, Scottish rock band Travis, were welcomed by an enormous crowd of surprisingly sober 20-somethings. A mixture of Coldplay and Keane, Travis stunned the audience with its incredibly energetic show. Lead vocalist, Fran Healy, made sure the crowd was engaged with the band throughout the entire show. He even made his way into the audience, being lifted up into the crowd by the exciting audience. Though fans sang along to nearly every song, you could tell everyone was waiting for their biggest hit, “Why Does It Always Rain On Me.” It was the final song and the crowd went nuts, spraying water bottles and moshing. You could barely hear Healy’s voice over the thousands of fans who dominated the song. Healy told the crowd it was his favorite festival they had ever done, and though he may say that at every show, it sure felt like he meant it.

 About an hour after Travis finished their set, Kings of Leon graced the stage on Gurten Mountain and were completely blown away by the intensity from their Swiss fans. The Nashville boys belted out old and new songs alike, with the audience acting as if every song was their favorite. Lead singer Caleb Followill admitted that he couldn’t believe how much the audience’s interest in the band had skyrocketed, since its last performance in Switzerland just one year ago. Starting with “Be Somebody” and ending with their latest big hit, “Use Somebody,” it was an amazing show.

 The bands’ equal admiration for one another was impossible to ignore. Kings admitted to Travis being a huge influence on their music while Travis dedicated a song in its set to KOL. Though both bands did an excellent job performing for fans that didn’t speak their language, Travis put on a much more energetic show. But then again, they’ve been an active band much longer than Kings and have more experience playing for and engaging with foreign audiences. It was my first festival abroad and what I will say is this. Music is music. No matter the language or lyrical content. More than half of the screaming fans had no clue what the lyrics meant in German, but they could still sing every single word.

 -Kristen Lee

Currently listening to "Why Does It Always Rain On Me" by Travis

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