Lisbon’s NOS has been Alive now for 11 years, first as Oeiras Alive! and then Optimus Alive! before settling on the current name. The beach-side location is obviously tempting enough in itself, but NOS’s forte is the pairing of genuine heavyweights with some excellent left-field choices and a smattering of home-grown acts.
Those is search of meaty riffs are spoilt for choice with Queens of the Stone Age, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Jack White, Black Devil Motorcycle Club and At The Drive In all weighing in, while Arctic Monkeys will also be airing tracks from a surprising new album. Throw Wolf Alice, Franz Ferdinand, The National, Friendly Fires and Future Islands on to the NOS barbecue and you have a feast for discerning indie pop fans. In this context it’ll be interesting to see how Bryan Ferry’s Casanova-meets-luxury car salesman shtick goes down.
Those are the headlines anyway, but we’ve scratched beneath the surface to bring you a selection of intriguing alternatives that NOS offers over its three days (12 - 14 July), including at least one big name, a couple of Portuguese acts – and an unexpected dose of British comedy.
Nine Inch Nails
Elder statesman he may be now but newly released ‘Bad Witch’ provides more evidence that musical maturity suits Trent Reznor.
Kinshasa meets Brittany on this collaboration between a group of Congolese musical alchemists, able to make scrap metal sing, and globe-trotting French producer Débruit.
The debut album from the PC Music figurehead, ‘Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides’ is a slickly sweet and deadly pop confection. The bombast and bass blasts should ensure SOPHIE stands out from the crowd
The shuffling rhythms and low-key ingenuity of last year’s ‘Halo’ album on Crammed Discs confirmed that the cult Argentine singer-songwriter is in a field of her own.
The French star may look sweet and unassuming, but she knows how to get a crowd eating out of her hand. The summery grooves and universal messages should go over well.
Yo La Tengo
The fuzz and jangle of the New Jersey indie heroes will shimmer in the sunshine.
One of the Portuguese acts on offer, The Gift’s expansive, layered and sometimes arch take on pop music brought them to the attention of Brian Eno, who collaborated on the ‘Love Without Violins’.
Representing ‘hip hop tuga’ – the local term for Portuguese rap – Rui Pereira aka Papillon is a member of GROGNation but has released his debut solo album this year, featuring rocky single ‘Impasse’.
Yup that Simon Day, off the Fast Show and Brian Pern. A perfect excuse to KICK. IN. THE. SUN.