In a nutshell
Best band: R.E.M.
Best moment: The Long Way by Moke
Festival trend: Letting the people scream "Praise Allah" -- as done by Serj Tankian and the Sex Pistols
Festival nationality: Dutch were even more prevalent then in 2006, with my tent pretty much surrounded by them. Travelling in a train filled with Dutch Sziget-goers didn't really add to the vacation feeling, either..
Best food: The indian cuisine tent at the main stage
Best snack: Chimney Cakes
Best shirt: The "Sziget 2009" shirt I saw someone walking around with, with even a mock line-up with the Red Hot Chili Peppers etc. A honorable mention goes to the "Getszi" shirt (which is pronounced the same way as "getsie", Dutch for gruesome).
Best festival convenience: avoiding the shower queues by washing in the Donau river
Lauren Harris - Child Iron Maiden's bass player. Tried to be cool, but especially her screaming "you fuckers" against the audience didn't really come accross. Hard rock with cliché love lyrics. Didn't really impress. **
Iron Maiden - Very fine stage decoration, including a platform behind the band the singer walked up and down along; banners changing with each song; and fireworks. The show was executed perfectly in a pretty 80s fashion, with guitar-playing-with-rotating-arm and so on. Musically pretty fine, with good guitar solos and the occasional famous song. Especially in the characteristic "Scrrream for me Budapest", the singer showd that the high notes are sometimes a bit of a problem. About bass player Harris: "We called the Vatican, but they didn't want this man as pope. But their loss is our gain". ****
Anti-Flag - Expected a bit more metal, so actually it surprised me positively. Pretty well listenable. **
MGMT - A lot less britpop then expected, but the songs were good. Strangely enough, the two big hits were played in the middle of the show, making beer time planning a bit difficult. ***1/2
Flogging Molly - Very, very sympathetic band (compare Dropkick Murphy's). Nice songs, really fine atmosphere and the singer did seem to particularly enjoy himself, which always helps. The hits such as Selfish Man, but also Float were strong. ****1/2
Pete Philly & Perquisite - In a hot, clampy and especially echoing wan2 stage, this didn't really come across, so I went to sit outside for a bit.
Leningrad - Probably saw this at Noorderslag? Fun party music, impressive to see a whole field of people partying. ***
Alanis Morisette - Walked past in the middle of the concert, when it sounded a bit whiny. Came back during You Oughta Know and also heared the unavoidable Ironic. Walked away during Ironic: what a shitty song. **
The Kooks - In the beginning it was better than I expected: a lot more rocky than on record. But keeping my interest for more than 45-odd minutes is still not one of their achievements. **1/2
Delinquent Habits - Let people on stage to distribute tequila among the audience; still hot in the wan2 tent, still bad acoustics and the raps weren't that special either. **
Smooth - Jass band with piano and electric guitar. Very fine to sit quietly and listen to, very fine solo bits as well. ***
Folktronika - Good to lie down with. **
Fanfara Tirana - Standard world music. The happy bits were fun, but there were also attampts at depth with a slowly singing man with a white dress that were less interesting. **1/2
Kaiser Chiefs - For me, every time I hear [track artist=Kaiser Chiefs]Ruby makes painfully clear that this band is getting a bit embarassing. Hopefully their apparently up-coming third album is more creative. *1/2
Jamiroquai - Fine easy listening music, and some nice hits. Deeper Underground does really tower above the rest by some distance though. **1/2
Kaliakra - Pretty neat Roma music. The public really went quite mad, which was fun to see. Unfortunately, the band was pretty exhausted at the and so they only managed one very slow song as encore. **1/2
Irie Maffia - Pretty fun hiphop-with-female-singer band. **
Sex Pistols - Category "nice to be able to say you've seen them". Obviously the Sex Pistols have an image to live up to, and they tried to do this by letting the audience scream "Allah is great". All the way to the back though, this didn't really come across. Musically, not much to comment on. **
Apocalyptica - To be fair I was very sceptical from the outset, but they didn't convince me. Their own slow songs are, well, boring. Their imitations of guitar solos succeed in getting close to the real thing, but this cannot be said about the melody lines: the whining cello melodies here are really off-putting. *1/2
ColorStar - Nice electro-with-guitars, alternating between fast and slow bits to build up a nice kind of tension. And, for a change, the temperature in the wan2 tent was nice. ***
Pannonia All-stars Ska Orchestra - Fun ska band. Luckily not much reggae. Much and spread by the wind. **
Mademoiselle K - Female singer with skin-colored shirt, making you wonder at first whether she was topless. Rock with usually good guitar solos. **
Róisín Murphy - Another testosteron booster: nice show with two dancers and Róisín each song changing the jacked over her semi-transparent, tight white shirt. Musically, it had the same sweetish sound as Jamiroquai, only with a more pleasant voice. **1/2
Serj Tankian - The voice that made System of a Down famous is now used for much quiteter songs (during the whole concert, exactly one grunt was to be heared). The set did contain some strong material, but not all songs were equally interesting. Threateningly black clouds in the air added to the atmosphere. **1/2
R.E.M. - An absolute highlight. Michael Stipe is (as they say) a chilled-out entertainer who runs around, jumps and leans on amplifiers, and all this with clearly visible joy. We stood pretty close to the middle shaft before the stage some 10 metres from the stage, and 2 metres in front of us, Michael Stipe shaked hands with the audience :) Nice decoration as well, with nice lights and three video screens. All hits (except "Everybody hurts") were there, and lots of songs from Automatic for the People, a few from Accelerate and one from Around the Sun.. ****
The Wombats - We played cards all the way to the back of the main stage during most of the concert, and I can't say The Wombats were really distracting us. We did went to have a look at the end to catch some hits. **
After that, there was the disappointing, but also rather funny remark that Pendulum had to be cancelled because they got stuck at a police station in Slowakia for unknown reasons.
Babyshambles - They showed up, and they didn't disappoint. No real hits, but a solid set with some good guitar stuff. Good band. ***1/2
Moke - Because of their habit of playing every even slightly big festival in The Netherlands lately I had seen them some times already, but I decided to go again to catch the atmosphere if they played outside of The Netherlands. Of course, the wan2 stage was filled with mainly Dutch, but they didn't disappoint. It is still a very good band and this concert made clear that their slowly dragging song The Long Way is good enough to be a highlight on a festival with any line-up. Great! ****
The Killers - One of my most anticipated Sziget concerts. Their set was largely the same and their decoration a lot less exuberant when compared to last year at Werchter, but it is still a good band with some very strong songs. ****
José González - For me, singer-songwriters-with-guitars are usually pretty much mutually exchangable, and José González was hardly an exception. His renditions of 80s songs such as Teardrop were fun, but this late at night it was nice to sit down to, but didn't really catch attention. **1/2
European Mantra - Finishing a Sziget day at the Jazz stage is usually very nice with its uplifting jazz programming, and this last Sziget day was no exception. The band bordering on rock with very good guitar stuff, buying cans of beer (the beer taps were already closed) and sitting on a couch listening to it was a very good way to finish an in all pretty reasonable festival week. ***1/2