People sheltering from the rain under the band stand
For me, Saturday mornings are supposed to be about late rises and very large breakfasts; but the Saturday of Field Day was one very large exception. The coming of Field Day meant that I had to co-ordinate the meeting point of many friends at one spot in central London. With them all arriving at different times, I opted to solve it the only way that seemed reasonable. Tell them all to meet us there and bring drink so that we could wait for the rest to arrive. This seemed like the perfect plan, apart from the fact that the few I had already found and myself were then stuck under a tree, in the rain, drinking gin and tonic.
Finally we began our field day with a mad dash over to the Adventures In The Beetroot Field tent to get out of the rain. We were met with cheers, not for ourselves obviously, but for White Lies who had just taken to the stage. They played the few songs they have to a packed tent, but there was something a little lack luster about the show. We found ourselves talking, much like the rest of the crowd – finding ourselves easily distracted due to the less than deafening sound levels. Our growing interest in a plastic horse we had found served as proof that there really was no reason for us to linger.
We opted to brave the rain again, heading over to the main stage to catch the end of Wild Beasts. It seems like if you can stand Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto vocal assortments, you fall in love with them very soon afterwards. The ridiculousness of it all seeps away as soon as it’s teamed with structure of ‘The Devil’s Crayon‘, leading fans to a point of defense as soon as remarks like “He sounds like someone got him by the John Thomas” are made. I’m sad to say though, it was over all too soon, and we were forced to find shelter in the colourful bar/tent.
This was when horror stories of the previous years Field Day began to surface. Toilet queues, inaudible sound levels and sold out bars made it sound like a very traumatic experience, and I was comforted by the fact that apparently a whole host of sound and management experts had been roped in to rectify the previous year problems. Fat load of use they were though. The toilet queues stretched as far as the eye could see, and the noise levels, well, I’ll speak about that a bit more later – but to put it bluntly, two borrowers could have had a long and intricate conversation right at the front of the tents, without having to repeat themselves at any point due to mishearing.
The new village mentality idea was a bit of a washout. I’m sure it would have added some much needed fun factor to the day, if it hadn’t of been for the persistent rain. I couldn’t help feeling that perhaps they should have sorted out the lots of more basic aspects of the festival, before putting so much effort into something like this.
The village mentality not really capturing people’s imagination
I then headed over to the Bugged Out tent to check out Modeselektor. The German duo have been on my to see list for ages and by the swelling mass of people at the mouth of the tent I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Perhaps one of the most bizarre things about it was that everyone seemed to have different ideas as to whereabouts in the tent would be best to actually hear the music. Some were trying to get as near to the front as possible, others opted to stand by the smaller speaker at the back.
Modeselektor and the less than enthralled crowd
Basically, it was a shambles, and in the end Modeselektor stopped about halfway through their set announcing that, “if there is no bass, there is no point”. To which everybody was infuriated, yet understanding. The annoying part was that it obviously wasn’t the artist’s fault, and I don’t eve think it’s even really the organizers fault. It’s just a case of people wanting to kick up a fuss over nothing; I just wish people could be a bit more lenient in these kinds of situations. London is hardly a tranquil haven, how is a bit of music any worse than the cars, trains, tube and planes we have surrounding us?
of Montreal being Fantastic
Well, now my rant is over I suppose I should speak some more about the music. One band that were a real treat from start to finish was of Montreal. A band I had heard a lot about, but hadn’t really been exposed to. A friend’s persistent statements on how he was longing to see them however won me over, and I’m very glad they did. If Patrick Wolf were to make NY-esque disco in a similar vain as Anthony Hegarty and his Hercules and the Love Affair shenanigans, it would sound like of Montreal. I know that’s probably a statement that some time fans don’t want to hear, but to me, that’s how it came across. The real treat of their show was the epic ‘The Past Is A Grotesque Animal’. Clocking in at approximately half of their set it should have had people slowly filtering away, but instead the sound grew and grew around the same hook. People were transfixed, if not on the on stage performers, then on my friend who seemed to know every word. It was astounding.
The next few hours then disintegrated into catching bits and bobs of stuff, whilst persisting through the rain. Attempting to stay together soon became the least of our worries as a big effort was made to enjoy James Holden’s set. It was just impossible to get more than a few feet into the tent, and the sound was still pitiful. If Spinal Tap had amps that went up to 11, Field Day’s dials must have gone down to at least -1. But I think I’ve done enough moaning on that frontier.
Due to a rather hairy adventure trying to make my way out of the tent, I was only able to catch the last few songs of Les Savy Fav. I think it’s more than likely that half the crowd was purely there to see the lead singer and his distasteful antics, I certainly was. They were great nonetheless, and I’ll definitely try and catch them again, preferably somewhere drier and louder.
My choice of headliner was Benga, who proved almost impossible to find. He had been moved to a smaller tent where he was now headlining, but once we had found him I certainly wasn’t complaining. Once he had put his foot down enough for them to pump up the volume, the small tent was soon filled with the most ridiculous bass lines, and some dancing that you would usually find only in the earliest of hours. It was horrendous fun though, and although everyone would probably say they had wanted him to go on longer, I was completely exhausted by the end of it.
Overall, the whole event was perhaps one of the worst organized events I’ve ever attended, but also perhaps one of the most entertaining and fun. If the organizers ironed out all the faults, I think it could quite easily become the highlight of the year.
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