Biffy Clyro, Green Day - plus the best festival band on the planet
Michael Baggs
11:45 13th July 2013

This weekend, Gigwise is at Optimus Alive in Lisbon, which is celebrating its seventh year of shows on the Portugeuse coast. Some of the biggest bands in the world are performing over the weekend, with Green Day, Depeche Mode and Kings Of Leon headlining. Elsewhere on the line-up, some of the most exciting new artists of 2013 perform, such as Flume, Deap Vally, Gold Panda and many more.

This is our first experience at Optimus Alive. Check out our 12 best bits from day one below...

1. Deap Vally - one of the coolest live bands on the planet
 Rock and roll has never, ever been sexier than since Deap Vally hit the scene, backing up their beauty with one of the most ferocious, fist-pounding live rock shows we've seen in quite some time - regardless of the gender of the band.

Lindsay Troy and Julie Edwards make for one of the single most exciting bands on the planet. It is quite amazing how much noise, and how much rock and roll just two women, a guitar and a drum kit can make. Forget Arcade Fire-esque stage set-ups, this is the real deal.

"Hello girls, it's good to see you again," says Troy as they get their set underway with a heavy guitar show for the female crowd. Male approval is a bonus.

 

2. Sit-downs - Portuguese festival goers love them



3. Drug dealers - there weren't any
Not one person offered to sell us drugs. Perhaps it's because we looked too British (backpacks, summer shoes with socks etc), but the drug-free atmosphere was a refreshing change. There's wasn't so much as a sniff of laughing gas. Bravo the Portuguese.


4. Disclosure - massive in Portugal, even before their first show in the country

The UK dance duo performed their first ever Portugal show at day one of Optimus Alive, performing to a tent packed with fans of their debut album, Settle. Soundtracking the summer across Europe, Guy and Howard Lawrence were joined by Jessie Ware to perform 'Confess To Me' and her track 'Running', and were spectacular throughout.


5. Biffy Clyro - amazing, no matter where they are on the line-up

The Scot rockers are headlining Reading & Leeds this year, but at Optimus? The band performed just after 7pm. Considering the event kicked off at 5pm, this was a seriously early show. Biffy are awesome whatever the time however, and played a Opposites-heavy set. Shirtless, obviously. There have been claims by long-term fans that the band have sold out, but old favourites sat brilliantly beside new tracks, and the band rocked as hard and sweaty as they ever have. Who's to say selling millions of albums means you've lost touch with your roots?

 

6. Green Day - still deserving their place on the top of a festival line-up
Green Day's headline show was an epic, two and a half hour event, covering hits from their early days to the American Idiot album, with the band inviting one young fan on stage (to hail Billie Joe Armstrong as some sort of rock deity) and Tre Cool performing in a man-sized rabbit costume. However, it was of course tracks such as 'Welcome To Paradise' that scored the biggest applause and reaction, proving that no matter how much Green Day continue to release and remain relevant, that it is their devoted early fans that keep the momentum going with teenage nostalgia driving their committed fans.

Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was on top form, showing little sign of his narcotics problems from the end of 2012. The memory seemed fresh however, as he howled 'I'm losing my mind' during 'American Idiot' towards the end of the band's set.

 

7. Edward Sharpe - the king of crowd-surfing and selfies

 

8. Vampire Weekend - and especially every track from their Modern Vampires Of The City album
Modern Vampires Of The City is one of the best albums of the year. It has the power, energy and enthusiasm of a debut album - and yet it is the New York indie band's third release. Like Biffy Clyro, they have hit their stride in 2013, and instead of repeating past successes to diminishing returns, have only just begun their ascent to becoming one of the world's biggest and best bands. Their late-night set was a flawless show, drawing in the crowds on the festival's second biggest stage as Green Day closed their headline set.

'Diane Young' is THE song of the summer, in case you hadn't noticed. Remember how you heard 'Default' by Django Django at every turn in 2012? 'Diane Young' is exactly that for 2013.

 

9. Filming on phones - hardly anyone does it
Sick of a sea of iPhones or (worse) iPads at festivals? Optimus was remarkably free from amateur filmographies hoping to capture the moment for YouTube posterity. Between us and the bands? Nothing but a sea of hands. Lovely.


10. 'Alan' - no one shouted it

And we were there for at least 10 hours
 

11. Crystal Fighters - the best festival band on the planet
One of the last bands of the night on day one of Optimus Alive, Crystal Fighters proved conclusively that they are not only the best festival band on the entire planet, but also one of the UK's most underrated. New album Cave Rave is one of 2013's most flawless, uplifting albums, but the band instead leaned on debut release Star Of Love during their performance, with tracks such as 'Plage, 'I Love London' and 'Champion Of The World' causing frenzy among the late night revellers.

Slightly insane and all kinds of wonderful, frontman Sebastian Pringle was the night's most flamboyant dresser, taking to the stage in a skirt and gold sparkly blouse. Despite looking like they hadn't slept for the past week, this was the most energetic show of the first night. Catch them as soon as is humanly possible. In a field, ideally.

 

12. Sleepy time - Crystal Fighters proved a little too much for some


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Photo: Chris MacDonald