They came with premeditation and treachery. They installed three spectacular giant dolls on stage, like nightmarish totems designed by Tim Burton in bright colors. Billy Corgan and the Smashing Pumpkins made their appearance in the, so far, most popular Mad Cool performance, According to official data, it received 48,396 people, to fill a void, that of the energy in the main concourse of the festival. By the way, it seemed that between the day of Thursday and Friday there were only 1,000 people apart: the feeling is that, or we were more on Friday or less on Thursday.
After the very moderate performances of Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend of the first day of "official" festival programming, more contained and sentimental than energetic, the main course of the second could also fall into the downer. The National and its literary and somewhat intellectual-minded rock are not exactly dead bodies, although Matt Berninger gave it all to motivate the staff amid the laments of his deep voice. He ascended to the fence that separates the stage from the audience, embraced with the audience as he made his way through the crowd and offered the microphone. The repertoire of the American band is serious, rested and adult, but it can also be too introspective. So, with all its melancholy and the gothic breath of The Smashing Pumpkins we could be chronicling a funeral. Would we have some serotonin to enjoy Saturday with The Cure or would it be time to go to the pharmacy for a round of prozac?
He depended a lot on Corgan and his people, whose nightmarish world and friar's attire did not bode optimistic until "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" breathed some anger. "Desarm" talks about growing up, becoming an adult and still an old child, to become someone over thirty with adolescence without overcoming, the kind of people that Mad Cool is full of. And it worked perfectly, like a dark door at the age when everyone feels maladjusted. Maybe most of the audience did not notice, but the huge dolls of the stage turned 180 degrees and the colorful face was hidden and left the black and white, haggard back of the figures visible.
That world of Americans is quintessential "1979", a theme that sounds like a painful memory. Or "Tonight", which is as if you throw the only opportunity to be happy that gives you life. And yet there was a certain joy in them, something of contained celebration for what we were: a little bit miserable, although it was worth having become such old children.
In general, there was a lack of anger in the central part of the festival. And also volume, visibly diminished compared to the 2018 edition, even if there were twice as many people. But at least everything was going through the channels of normalcy, which is somewhat extraordinary in this festival. And keep it that way for a long time.
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