You’d think that waking up to the news of a band cancelling their set would put a dampener on the already damp festival proceedings, but even without Glass Animals’ performance (get well soon Dave!) day three of Rock Werchter shines through.
“Just in case you are not sure,” Frank Carter declares two songs into his set, “THIS is how you open the main stage.” Stood in the centre of the crowd, precariously balancing above the audiences heads, The Rattlesnakes are raring to turn things up to eleven – “even if it is one o’clock and it’s raining.” Sound techs struggle to jump out the way in the onslaught of the band’s energy, while the gathered mass throw themselves into every moment. Opening up a simultaneous six sick circle pits (try saying that three times fast) while they dedicate songs to loved ones and lost ones, before bursting open a bottle of champagne as they lead a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for tour manager Elliot Taylor, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are turbo charged and totally sensational.
On the other side of the festival site, Toothless gets things off to a more melodic start under the twinkling lights of The Barn. “This is the biggest show we’ve played by a long stretch,” Ed Nash marvels mid set. “Biggest and best!” The band’s enchanting harmonies and grooving choruses ring out with an effortlessly smooth appeal, ushering back the sunshine with a sense of effortless euphoria. Entrancing though it is, today is all about music that rocks.
It’s a double dose of nostalgia as Jimmy Eat World play before Blink-182. Armed with classic tracks that still pack a ferocious punch and newer numbers that blaze just as bright, Jimmy Eat World’s performance is as seamless as they come, leaving the audience with their hearts wide open.
Walking on stage to the sound of the Stranger Things theme tune, with a giant flaming FUCK sign burning behind them, Blink-182 are on characteristic form. Sure, they might not be the most technically impressive band of the day, and the sound does fall a little flat, but with so many hits performed in succession none of that matters. For outrageous energy, catchy choruses, and a stage set up that barely stills for a moment (with fire, changing backdrops, pyrotechnics, and yet more fire), there are few who can compete.
For anyone in search of some ferocity, System Of A Down stir up a whirlwind of energy that feels as vital as it is invigorating. Linkin Park’s performance, however, feels slightly stilted, with a token stripped back segment saved only by the classic hits that draw the set to a close.
Through all this, it’s Charli XCX who remains the day’s crowning glory. A pop star of the brightest measure, there are none who do it better. It’s an all out dance party complete with neon lights, inflatable tube men, and a series of banging hits that has the whole floor jumping from start to finish.
Right from the pulsing intro of ‘Roll With Me’ through longtime favourites ‘Break The Rules’ and ‘Doing It’ and beyond, Charli makes the stage her own. Strutting, shouting, and snapchatting her way through the performance, every motion is made with a sense of enthusiasm and glee that the crowd instantly echo. With an elated energy and sing-a-long hooks a-plenty, really, what more could you ask for?