There really isn’t a better way to spend your Sunday afternoon than lazing in the sun at your local park, and when your local park just so happens to have a banjormous music festival created by Groove Armada. Sunday soon becomes so good you start to think even Morrissey might enjoy it.
I was however heartily disappointed when I arrived, because me and my friend Chris realized our slightly late arrival had meant that we had missed Buraka Som Sistema. We thought we’d be able to catch the tail end of their set, but the tent they were supposed to be playing in had some awful DJ playing in their place. The acts in this tent seemed to bare no relation to the timetable all day long. I’m all up for a bit of rock and roll ethos, but if it means i don’t actually get to see what i’d like then it’s gone a bit too far. So, not really a great beginning to the day.
I can say that from here onwards though, it got a lot better. The first real band we saw was White Lies, consisting of former members of the even greater Fear of Flying. They almost make too much effort to make it sound as epic as they possibly can, but manage to pull it off, coming across as quite endearing. In fact my only gripe about their whole performance was their lack of songs, I think they did 5 altogether. I want an album’s worth, and I want them now.
Next we headed to the Amnesty International stage for Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit, who kind of made up for me missing Buraka by offering my portion of world music for the day. With one of the DJs wearing the best shark costume I’ve ever seen, a guy on the bongos and two old guys dressed as 70’s disco kings, they really did bring the party. Unlike many bands that try and bring some sense of novelty to their show though, they also had the musical ability to match. I’m sure their next single ‘Secousse’ is going to be on my stereo all summer long – an amazing pop song constructed from sounds which make it unlike any other record I’ve heard. I also had some really tasty cheese straws whilst watching them, which may have been part of the reason why I enjoyed myself so much.
Then we took a well-earned break from bands by having a wander around, checking out all the great art and little stalls that had been set up. I was soon drawn towards the massive vert ramp that had pros getting ‘rad’ all over it and people on the top throwing out goodies for the kids. I have to say we were tempted to try and dive into the melee in the hope of getting some free stuff. But were put off as some of the kids did look quite big and they were all in quite a frenzy. It wasn’t worth getting beaten up just to get a free backpack.
After a little more galavanting we headed over to see Howling Bells. I don’t know what it is about these guys, but I can just never really get into them. Live they came across well, and the crowd was huge for such a tiny stage, with the majority of people really getting into it. I think it’s just a personal affliction, you can never account for taste.
Heading back to the unreliable tent of disappointment we were yet again to be confronted by some strange DJ instead of Pnau, who I had been quite eager to catch a bit of. So, severely confused by what we had found, we ventured outside again to watch Goldfrapp. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Goldfrapp, but there was something about sitting in the sun and watching the show as the sun was low in the sky that made it all the more listenable. It may have been the few pear ciders I’d had in the hours previous that would account for my happiness.
My excitement was rising quite worryingly as we were waiting for Flaming Lips to appear – though thankfully it was all deserved. Seeing them live is just non stop wonderment. It had everything. A zorb ball, twenty or so people dressed as Iron Man and visuals of two kids flying around doing some serious kung fu on their dad, I don’t think any other performer compares considering stage show antics. It certainly beats the pouting and strutting that most bands seem to settle for.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the poor people who had to clear it up though. As my friend put it, “they’re the messiest band I’ve ever seen”. Ah well, I didn’t really mind too much myself, I was off home.
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