Live Report: Mad Cool 2022 | Live

Madrid’s Mad Cool festival returned earlier this month for five-plus days of music as a sweltering city became host to some of the world’s most respected and adored artists. Flagship offerings put other festivals to shame because Metallic, The killers, Florence + the machine and Muse took the top spots every night. The well-designed festival has a compact site, less than a few miles in length and a carefully curated program which means clashes are almost non-existent and the offerings are top-notch across pop, rock, alternative, dance and more.

Brandon Flowers struts through a set of sparkling indie pop excellence, starting strong with “The Man” and “Spaceman” as adoring crowds hollered the lyrics to these anthemic numbers. The charismatic frontman seems thrilled to be back in front of Spanish audiences as he unleashes massive hits such as ‘Human’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’ before gathering a crowd of thousands in a spectacular concert on ‘Mr. The bright side’.

Saturday evening Florence welch presented another epic performance that illustrates why more major festivals should elevate incredible women to the top spots. Dressed in an elegant red dress, she arrives in the moonlight for a ravishing performance of hits from the new album ‘My Love’, ‘King’, ‘Dream Girl Evil’ while providing the adoring masses with the rich catalog of hymns ready for festivals. She hops, skips and leaps with the elegance of a Renaissance painting brought to life while channeling rock greats Patti Smith and Kate Bush for one of the weekend’s most intense, electrifying and celebratory sets. .

Elsewhere on the site, female artists showed up and served at a predominantly and historically guitar-focused festival. Wednesday saw Carly Rae Jepsen back on stage after a short hiatus with an ensemble of pop excellence, the album “Emotion” sounding as fresh and fun as when it was released. The crowd on the Madrid-area stage shout out the words to every song from this high-powered set, the grateful pop star gasping for fever in a sublime shimmering gold bodysuit, her blonde hair shining as brilliantly as its sparkling brand of popular.

Tove Lo kept bookings minimal this summer, so a 2 a.m. appearance on the third stage drew a gigantic crowd to hear its distinct, signature brand of dark pop. New tracks ‘True Romance’ and closer set ‘No One Dies From Live’ are sensational and the Swedish singer/songwriter is giving fans a live preview of the highly anticipated new single ‘2 Die 4’. A flawless back catalog keeps the late crowd captivated and huge tracks such as “Talking Body” and “Cool Girl” create absolute hysteria among the delighted audience.

The latest pop girl to congratulate is another of Sweden’s top exports, Zara Larson. Appearing on stage with a six-person dance troupe, she apologizes for not having a group that didn’t detract from the sensational performance she delivers. The choreography was tighter than Charli XCX’s haircut, Zara running through an exemplary setlist of pop excellence with mighty mega-hits ‘Ain’t My Fault’ and ‘Ruin My Life’ while also including delicious new cuts ‘Poster Girl’ and ‘Look What You’ve Done’. Visibly moved by the reaction from her fevered followers, she upped the fun factor with incredible ABBA coverage before a trio of top performers closed out one of the happiest, most uninhibited shows of the weekend.

Although pop reigned supreme this weekend, Mad Cool’s beautiful, longtime love affair with guitar bands remained strong. Foals continue their incredible rise to the top of the lineups, capping off Saturday’s second leg with a supercharged set of outstanding indie as the Spanish crowds struggled under Yannis. It shows the reason why this Oxford outfit only gets stronger with each passing album. The war on drugs played an expansive and overwhelming set on the main stage as the sun went down while London Grammar created equal emotional devastation with their touching indie brand, fueled by Hannah’s haunting vocals.

Live Report: Mad Cool 2022

Once again the women at the front, Phoebe Bridger plays through a haunting set of heartbreaking indie rock ending with the emotional devastation of “I Know The End.” HAIIM play a set planned for the summer bathed in evening sunshine as they demonstrate their guitar expertise. spanish newcomer irenegarry also prepares a tent for a fiery and loud set of jangly indie-pop, which falls a complete feast with the crowd.

Another weekend triumph was the Aussie rock outfit Youth gang, who fondly told the gathered masses that the last time they played, the festival had not opened and the crowd included only their wives. This time, thousands gathered to hear coming-of-age anthems in the refreshing Madrid sun, before frontman David Le’aupepe leapt into the audience’s arms to embrace the crowd below.

The collective feeling that we have – finally – made it through a pandemic and a two-year hiatus in live music has resulted in a palpable electricity that ran through the beautiful festival site of Mad Cool this year. The shameless manner in which revelers let their emotions pour out over the sensational selection of acts played on the site was admirable, and at times particularly moving. The jubilant collection of euphoria, tears and ecstatic dance has made the edition one of the most beautiful festivals of memory and organizes this special Spanish event to return in 2023 bigger and better than ever.

Words: Sean Ward