Isolation Radio (Part 11): Rock Werchter Edition

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One of Europe’s largest rock festivals, Belgium’s Rock Werchter has been held since the mid 1970’s and its stages have been graced by legendary musicians such as David Bowie, Ramones, Elvis Costello and Muse. This year was no different with Pearl Jam, The Strokes, Liam Gallagher and Pixies amongst the most high-profile names on the line up.

Sadly these international acts won’t be taking to the stage in 2020, however the locals will still be treated to a form of Rock Werchter with a few pre-booked concerts taking place in the Festival Park. Whilst it might not be the summer festival we all dreamed of, it’s great to see live music going ahead and the support for local artists.

Of course this event is sold out, and there’s currently a waiting list if you were hoping to pop down to catch a show. You can however take a listen to the below acts who missed out on the chance to play in 2020.

1. Michael Kiwanuka – Cold Little Heart

London local Kiwanuka has a timeless sound. Cold Little Heart wouldn’t sound out of place coming out of your radio in the 1970’s yet there’s a hint of stylish modernism which gives the single perfect balance.

Due to play the Barn stage in 2020, his live credentials are not to be sniffed at. He also has big fans in the form of Adele and Jools Holland. No doubt this would have been a powerful and moving performance from a performer who is destined to be one of this generation’s great voices.

Listen on Apple Music

2. Inhaler – Ice Cream Sundae

Relative newcomers to the industry, Irish school friends Inhaler have quickly found their feet through a love of a dirty bass line, quirky bass lines and a hint of psychadelia.

Ice Cream Sundae effortlessly incorporates all of the above shaping a song which screams prime indie pop. Inhaler are poised to become one of the biggest bands this decade, so if you get a chance to see them do it now! (Or when safe to do so…)

Listen on Apple Music

3. Parcels – Tieduprightnow

Happy-go-lucky Australians who live in Berlin, influenced by the legendary Nile Rodgers and sporting some excellent facial hair. I had a friend who emigrated to Australia recently and listened to this song constantly to reassure himself that he was moving somewhere we can live a surf, beach bum lifestyle in constant sunshine.

It didn’t pan out quite like that, but he is irritatingly tanned now. Regardless of this, Tieduprightnow is infectiously giddy, guitar indie. It has this ability to inject a bit of summer even on the bleakest afternoon, and as a result you just can’t sit still listening to it.

Listen on Apple Music

4. Black Pumas – Colors

The best thing about festivals is the sheer variety of music you can absorb, it’s almost impossible not to discover new artists when you attend one. Black Pumas could have been that band for me.

Comprised of Adrian Quesada (formerly of Grupo Fantasma – winners of the 2010 Grammy for best Latin Album) and Eric Burton a busker from downtown Austin who’s soulful vocals have instinctively gelled with Quesada’s rhythms. An utterly beautiful single from the pair, these guys would have been a treat to stumble upon at any festival.

Listen on Apple Music

5. Placebo – Every You Every Me

Stalwarts of Rock Werchter’s line up, Placebo have been playing this festival since 1997. 2020 was set to be their first appearance since 2014, and there were even rumours that the band would debut some new music during their set.

Some might argue that Placebo don’t have the pulling power they once did, however with songs like Special K, Pure Morning and of course Every You Every Me in their back catalogue they could rattle through the classics and punch higher than many of the bands on the line-up. What angsty teen hasn’t fallen in love with Placebo and then reserved a special place in their heart for them as an adult.

Listen on Apple Music

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Emily Stewart

Emily Stewart is a freelance music journalist for Indie Is Not A Genre.

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