NOS Alive, the festival formally known as Optimus Alive, kicks off this weekend in Lisbon, Portugal. We'll report back next week but they seem to have nailed the format - starting the bands in the early evening each night so you can beach and culture the days away whilst partying through the night.

Ahead of the festival we pick out five bands that you really shouldn't miss.

Django Django

Django Django followed up their Mercury Prize nominated debut with Born Under Saturn earlier this year, it would have been easy for the band to chase success but they continued on the path of a band who never expected to be so successful to start with. Purveyors of intelligent pop music, they draw from many different scenes to make the kind of music that pleases dancers and beard-scratchers simultaneously - definitely a must watch.

Young Fathers

Young Fathers won last year's Mercury Music Prize and nonchalantly shrugged at the hype they were faced with, continuing to tour and make music instead of soaking up the limelight. They released White Men are Black Men Too earlier this year which proved they were a band who take necessary steps to challenge themselves rather than chase radio plays, and we should be grateful, they could just be the headlining arena band that our generation deserves. Something real in the midst of so much mediocrity.

Future Islands

Future Islands toured for a solid six years before last year's Letterman performance threw them up into mainstream consciousness, so when the chance came they grabbed at it with both hands and shook the shit out of it. They've been on a victory lap ever since, recently celebrating their thousandth show, their empowering pop music striking a chord with a public in need of someone good to root for. Frontman Samuel Herring is worth the festival fee alone, a whirlwind of a man that oozes machismo but has eyes that tell a different story, his sensitive knowing stories are the key to the band's success.

Sleaford Mods

Sleaford Mods have, over the last couple of years, become the poet laureates of the UK's voiceless majority. Providing us with an opportunity to purge the day to day dehumanisation that our big society beats down onto us. With new album Key Markets being released in a couple of weeks they are set to become one of the most needed and necessary voices in the music scene and the most likely to tell me to fuck off for writing that.


This year, Mogwai celebrate 20 years of being a band, but they are so much more than a band; they are a tour de fucking force of modern music. A good writer will use your memories and experiences to paint pictures in your brain - Mogwai manage to do this with their music - and they've only grown better at it with experience.