Optimus Alive 2013 – Live In Lisbon, Portugal

Portugal knows how to party...

While the UK basks in its halcyon heatwave, Clash heads for cloudier climes at Optimus Alive, held in Portugal's uncharacteristically overcast city of Lisbon.

Japandroids is our first hit of the weekend, with David Prowse and Brian King doing much to solidify their intense live reputation. The crowd is insane, stirring things up in the mosh pit while passing each other overhead, all the while chanting along to 'The House That Heaven Built'.

Dividing opinion, Green Day headline the main stage and, although we jump around to 'Know Your Enemy', we make an executive decision to finish our Friday with Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros followed by Vampire Weekend.

What a combination, as feel-good as each other, inspiring great dance moves and trying their damned hardest to part the clouds, even if they can't succeed.

Classic hits like 'Oxford Comma' and 'A-Punk' predictably bring the house down during Vampire Weekend's set, but tracks from their latest album 'Modern Vampires Of The City' hold their own with 'Diane Young' standing out as a set highlight.

Bassist Chris Baio must get an honourary mention for best moves of the weekend, gyrating his hips with abandon, but he's followed closely by Jurassic 5's mid-set choreographed mash up.

J5 handle the crowd like six master puppeteers, commanding onlookers to "do what the DJ says". The audience is more than happy to oblige, mimicking motorcycle races, waving arms around, and holding fists aloft. While fists pump the air, Chali 2na dedicates 'Freedom' to all the political prisoners around the world.

A last minute change of heart sees us ditch Of Monsters And Men 20 minutes into their set. The Icelanders pull the biggest crowd we see at the Heineken stage so far, but Tame Impala is calling us from the main stage.

This turns out to be the best decision we make all weekend. Kevin Parker, the bare-footed baby-faced frontman, charms the festival with psychedelic dream-rock, backed up by visuals that wouldn't look out of place on Windows Media Player. It's the last day of their tour and the crowd sends them off on a high, singing along to 'Feels Like We Only Go Backwards', 'Elephant' and 'Half Full Glass Of Wine'.

Kings Of Leon headline the final day of Optimus with a predictable but enjoyable set of hits, and we make a beeline for Band Of Horses. We don't get very far, however, before being ambushed by a group of Portugese punters who force-feed us beer and custard tarts. Seriously. And it's this sort of attitude that sets Optimus Alive apart.

Not just on the festival site, but all through the city we're welcomed with gracious arms wide open. The Portugese know how to party, and we love joining in.

Words: Emily Anderton

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