Monday, August 3

Field Day 2009

. Monday, August 3

For This Is Fake DIY

As synonymous with organisational problems as anything else Field Day has struggled in the two years since its birth. Any worries of a repeat of the Great Toilet Wait of 2008 were soon allayed this year as an abundance of portaloos were dotted around the site, this teamed with the excellent bar service and excellent sound throughout the site mean that Field Days detractors are going to have to find something new to moan about next year.

Chances are it will be the weather as for a second year running Victoria Park has bore witness to apocalyptic rain and whilst it may be funny to watch a hipster drown nobody can claim to have enjoyed the various drenchings throughout the day. Luckily however, much of the day’s best action happened in the tents. Starting off with much hyped The XX who staked their claim as the most talked about new band of 2009 by filling their tent to bursting point and keeping many watching from the outside. At the time of going onstage the weather was much better and if there is one band who don’t suit the sun it’s the itchy and nocturnal XX. Despite being at odds with their surrounding the young band play through their delicate and brittle hits with ‘Basic Space’ and ‘Stars’ particularly impressing. You half suspect this band might be best suited to 3am home listening however given some time and a different atmosphere The XX will shine live.

Moving from the introverted and subtle to the ambitious and direct Temper Trap is a big jump. The Australian outfit play a brand of FM ready rock that is ill at ease with this festivals aggressively uncommercial nature and as a result the band come off looking a bit silly. It is odd how the band who emerged in late 2008 with a raft of catchy songs seem to have axed their good material in favour of a series of mid-paced croons and moments reminiscent of best forgotten The Fray. The Temper Trap’s set today is like so much they do, sleek and professional but more than a bit cold.

As The Horrors take to the stage the daylight suddenly becomes all the more illuminating. Not because of the sun, that’s long gone, but because seeing The Horrors in anything other than pitch black is just wrong. The majority of ‘Primary Colours’ is aired today and whilst ‘New Ice Age’ and ‘Who Could Say’ sound good Faris Badwan and co. are missing their mojo today. Offering very little in the way of charisma or stage presence is unlike The Horrors but it’s a crime they are guilty of today. A performance to forget.

Currently hijacking the critical acclaim train that The Horrors have ridden for 6 months are Wild Beasts. Their new album ‘Two Dancers’ is getting critics hot under the collar and as they take to the stage you can see why. ‘The Fun Powder Plot’ and ‘Hooting and Howling’ get an early airing and go to show just how special a band Wild Beasts are, weird and beautiful they have the world at their feet. There is just time to hear ‘The Devil’s Crayon before dashing over to the Bugged Out! Tent to hear Little Boots reviving the ghost of Billie Piper and the Venga Boys. Perhaps it’s harsh but there is something missing in Victroia Hesketh’s arsenal, something critical. The songs are all fantastic as a celebratory ‘Click’ and the ever-brilliant ‘Stuck On Repeat’ show but much of the performance feels like a façade, an episode of Faking It dragged into reality. One day Victoria Hesketh will write a decade defining song however on today’s evidence it won’t be for herself.

Around 7pm the heavens truly open and the rain pours incessantly. A dripping wet mass descend upon The Big Pink to hear their intense set of industrial lullabies. Today working as a three piece the band are uncompromising in their aggression but do more than cater to the casual viewer with a series of sing along choruses and hit singles. Kicking off with ‘Too Young To Love’ the trio then descend into a sludge of feedback and beats which grind together in a wistful fashion. Perhaps the setlist is mismanaged as many album tracks are played in sequence before a crashing finale of ‘Velvet’ and ‘Dominos’ but The Big Pink get away with it. Of all the new bands on display today The Big Pink seem most likely to rapidly work their way up the pecking order over the next 12 months.

Headline time brought something of a conundrum. Do you go for the earnest and epic Mogwai or the fun but frivolous Mystery Jets? Despite knowing Mystery Jets will be more enjoyable there is a part of you that thinks you need to see Mogwai, to be educated in the ways of post rock and how not to be a silly indie boy. However after 45 minutes of punishing and relentless intrumentals the brain begins to turn to mush and the sounds of Eel Pie Island become all the more enticing. Running headlong into the Mystery Jets throng we hear the biggest sing-along of the day for ‘Two Doors Down’ and a celebratory ‘Behind The Bunhouse’. Blaine Harrison et al leave the stage victorious and the grinning crowd leave Victoria Park for another year with fingers crossed for a day of sunshine this time next year.



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