Passeio Maritimo de Alges, Lisbon
6 - 8 July
Lisbon is currently making a strong case for leading the pack among the hordes of millennials wanting to escape the London hustle.
The Portuguese coastal capital boasts affordable rent, cheap travel, distinctly warmer climes, world famous custard tarts (special shouts to Pasteis de Belem) and, with NOS Alive, they even have a glamping festival area for dogs – a worldwide first. Though we weren’t there for the pampered dogs, it felt like a bizarre but nice touch to an extremely enjoyable weekend.
Kicking things off on the Thursday was Hyperdub’s Jessy Lanza whose energetic and charming experimental R&B pop galvanised the crowd for the evening ahead. NOS Alive is known for bringing in the big chart hitters and the opening main stage headliners, The xx and The Weeknd, didn’t disappoint.
Dressed in a white camouflage jacket surrounded by bellowing flumes of smoke, Abel Tesfaye looked born for the big occasion. Prowling the stage with his band elevated ten meters behind him The Weeknd comfortably delivered the set of the weekend.
If indie music is your thing then it would be impossible to find yourself at a loose end at NOS Alive.
Friday’s run of previous Crack cover stars Savages and Warpaint, followed by Wild Beasts was particularly strong run of programming. Savages’ unrelenting live show continues to impress, with Jehnny Beth naturally spending more time in the crowd than on the stage.
The final day was all about 80s tour de force Depeche Mode.
With a new album out, the lead track Where’s the Revolution was well received but – not to shy away from their iconic back catalogue – the crowd were treated to a host of decade defining songs which made for an especially enjoyable, carefree finale.
Just Can’t Get Enough, Personal Jesus, and Enjoy the Silence prompted one of the biggest mobile phones in the air moments we’ve seen. Despite comfortably sitting in the heritage act bracket, this still felt like a special end to one of Europe’s most consistent events.
After a record sell out year, the status of NOS Alive looks fairly unshakable. Perhaps it’s the bedrock of sponsors or maybe it’s the yearly combination of behemoth bookings in one of the continent’s most exciting cities.
We capped off the weekend by retiring to a nearby Heineken Bar – enjoying one last cold one and thinking about one day moving to Lisbon.