When it was announced that four of my favourite bands/artists were playing at the same festival this year - in Lisbon, in the middle of summer, right next to the beach and the sea - I knew I just HAD to be there. A lineup consisting of Pixies, Wolf Alice, Foals, and Father John Misty is something I couldn't pass up.
And for only £100 for three nights camping and festival tickets (plus just £70 for return flights), there was NO way I was going miss it. Forget Glastonbury or Coachella, THIS was my ultimate dream festival.
We saw a bit of everything on the first day we arrived at the campsite - a group of guys with their massive DJ set-up next to their tent dancing for 6 hours straight in the boiling hot sun, people carrying their tents out of the sun into the shade, and a guy break his leg with his ankle/shin facing nearly 180 degrees the wrong way (Ouch!).
Day One of NOS Alive (formerly Optimus Alive) featured The 1975, Biffy Clyro, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, John Grant, Wolf Alice, Pixies, and Chemical Brothers. The amazing thing about this festival (one of many things) is that it doesn't actually start until around 5pm so you get to enjoy the whole day in the sun, around the campsite pool or exploring the city, and then you get the festival itself - which kicked off with The 1975 on the Main Stage at 6pm and finished with the Chemical Brothers headlining at 1am.
As someone who didn't like The 1975 and really didn't like Biffy Clyro beforehand, they were actually surprisingly good! Although I'm sure that had something to do with the sun. And the beers.
Not a bad place for an afternoon nap...
After The 1975 and Biffy Clyro on the main stage we had a bit of a break before John Grant on the Heineken stage, so we went for a stroll to take in the some of the sights of the festival itself and take a peak at some of the smaller stages. And yes, I wore flowers around my head for the rest of the night.
As you can imagine, sun + beers + music = an awesome time. The Portuguese people are generally super friendly, and it's got to be the most laid back and best looking festival in the world.
My biggest fear was realised when the timetable was announced - Pixies and Wolf Alice's sets were overlapping by half an hour. Luckily, Wolf Alice played all my favourite songs of theirs in the first 25 minutes, so I'd seen the best of them by the time that we headed over to the Main Stage for the start of the Pixies.
If you take your kids to see the Pixies, noise-reducing headphones are a good idea. But even with them, this little girl was properly rocking out!
In true Pixies fashion, they didn't utter a single word to the audience the entire time - they simply played song after song after song with barely a breath in between.
Kicking off with the slammin' 'Bone Machine' and ending on the insane 'Rock Music' they, surprisingly, left a few iconic songs out - there was no 'Hey' or 'Planet of Sound', and of course they don't play 'Gigantic' without Kim Deal these days. But being the MASSIVE fan that I am I was absolutely loving the four new songs they played off new album Head Carrier, along with a number of obscure songs that they rarely play live (Brick Is Red, Distance Equals Time, Levitate Me, Tony's Theme). I was in my element.
And even after all this time, there is still nothing quite like the feeling you get when they start to play 'Here Comes Your Man' and 'Where Is My Mind' - goosebumps.
After screaming at the top of my lungs to every single word of their non-stop 29 song setlist, we decided to call it a night - we just didn't have the energy to wait over another hour for the Chemical Brothers to start... and I may or may not have got calf cramp from dancing like a loon.
If you EVER get a chance to go to NOS Alive, YOU TAKE IT! No mud, no traffic problems, just scorching hot sunshine and beers next to the beach. What else could you ask for?
Next up, day two featuring Foals, Father John Misty, and Radiohead.