REVIEW festival Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Field Day Festival 2014 Is a Gloriously Sunny Success

‘What’s that big yellow thing in the sky?’ asks Nick ’’Paisley Adams’’ Allbrook the singer of Aussie psych-rockers Pond as he approaches the microphone, with a heavy dose of sun-cream on his face, on the second day of the Field Day Festival - the first time in its 7 year history that the festival has expanded into a 2 day event, as if it’s the first time he’s seen it - at least in this country.  
The Horrors @ Field Day Festival 2014, London Victoria Park, Sunday June 8th The big yellow thing is the sun - as in the star in the sky not the so called tabloid of the same name - which seems to be a rarity in this country, not least during the festival period. But luckily and happily for Field Day Festival and its, by now, sun burnt, but otherwise very happy and friendly punters, its been gloriously sunny on both days (the Saturday was supposed to be thunderstorms and be a bit of a washout which luckily didn’t happen). Another great thing about Field Day Festival is that it always seems to have an intriguing line up, with particular focus on lesser known or new acts, - which people can check out without having to stray too far from there homes, for people that live in London at least. And this years line up is no exception. Although £5 a pint or for a bottle of cider is a little eye watering to say the least, is the only slight drawback of the whole weekend. But this year there’s at least 3 bands that could potentially be future headliners of festivals, and not just this one. Not counting Pixies, who gather a very very enthusiastic crowd on Sunday night who have been waiting all weekend, and ‘Monkeys Gone To Heaven‘ sounds just as great as it did down the local rock club night, and Metronomy who put on a multi coloured extravaganza of a show, which could easily rival The Flaming Lips walking in a massive balloon on the heads of the audience show, on the Saturday. But its 3 bands a little further down the exciting and eclectic bill that could be potential future headliners. There’s Jagwar Ma who draw in a massive crowd in the ‘Crack Magazine’ tent on the Saturday to play a wigged out and dance crazy show (basically I’m trying to avoid describing them as Indietronica because there’s more to them than that) which with their spinning music and Gabriel Winterfield bending from side to side like there’s no tomorrow around the stage feels like its going to turn the audience into a whirling dervish where we will be spinning forever, as they pelt through their debut album ‘Howlin‘. There’s a riotous feel to early Klaxons to some of their music but its more widescreen and epic despite the velocity and at times ferocity of it. Jagwar Ma offer us a dose of future loved up pop and its very hard to resist. Then there’s Drenge on the Sunday, who could possibly be the bleeding nose rock version of Jagwar Ma, as there self titled debut album offers us joyous rock moments with the word MOSH written all over them, particularly the anthem that is ‘Bloodsports’, which is enough to rival Queens of The Stone Age. The very lovely chemistry between the 2 brothers is hard to resist and adds an extra dimension to their show and their music - future headliners of Download? Watch this space! Then there’s The Horrors which possibly if it weren’t for the Pixies on the Sunday, they would and should already be headlining this festival not least because they’ve played here pretty much every year and also because no other band can touch them at the moment. Indeed halfway through their set their singer Faris Rotter, arguably the coolest - as well as polite - front man of the moment, says ‘Thanks for coming to watch us, although to be fair there isn’t much competition at the moment’, which he was probably referring to their being no other band on in the rest of the festival at that point, but he could also be stating that they’re the best band by miles at the moment. Not least because of their new album ’Luminous’ which has taken their rock, dancey, and psychedelic element that they’ve been melding into their own shape for the past 5 or so years to a new level, and they played a good chunk of it at the festival which goes down a storm not least the masterful ’I See You.’ But its their older material that gets the biggest response the snaking brilliance of ’Sea Within A Sea’ still has a haunting charm despite the warm weather. And ’Still Life’ is basically this century’s answer to ’Live Forever’, and ’Bitter Sweet Symphony’, the crowd sings a long to every word and the spaced out rhythm works it slow but magnificent magic. They close with ’Moving Further Away’ which is the bands way of leaving a marker saying we want to headline Glastonbury next year. Other acts throughout the eclectic weekend worth mentioning, are the brilliant Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 who plays early on Saturday afternoon and shows the rest of the artists how its done.  

10310555_10152095127882343_7147582330668825553_n                                                                        Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 @ Field Day Festival, Saturday June 7th

Seun Kuti’s backing band, his late father Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s legendary band, Egypt 80 playing for a good 5 minutes before he enters the stage but the crowd are grooving along almost as soon as their uniquely (and recognisable) afro funky rhythm starts up. But its when the showman, and lets face it sex on legs, Seun Kuti twists on to the stage that the dynamism of the band and their music really takes place. Seun is equal parts Jarvis Cocker (especially in terms of his anecdotes - which are as incisive and cutting as some of the lyrics in his music - in between the songs, but in terms of some unique dance moves) and Michael Jackson (again in terms of the dance moves he does as well as his star presence), and he more than wows the crowd when he takes his top of and Egypt 80 are really taking their rhythm to some rocked out levels. When Seun Kuti arrives he turns that's when the heat is turned  up even more with more ways than one.

10342777_10152095128667343_2956332939942400153_n                                                                           Ghostpoet @ Field Day Festival 2014, Saturday June 7th

Ghostpoet also draws a pretty impressive, and impressed, crowd as he plays his first show of the year, playing songs of his acclaimed debut album ’Peanut Butter Blue And Melancolic Jams’, as well as last years ’Some Say I So I Say Light’, and turning the heat up on them a little bit, particularly ’Survive It’ which the crowd sings a long too, and then the immersive experience that is ’Meltdown.’ But its on a new track which he calls ’5 Alive’ where its see’s his music getting sharper and spikier - although it has some slightly worrying lyrics - which bodes well for more new material from him. Neneh Cherry is having a ball on stage, playing tracks from her new album ’Blank Canvas’, particularly the intriguing ’Black Dog.’ And then right at the end she plays, because she can, and as she says ’because I’m 50’, ’Buffalo Stance’ which is her calling card and the whole world knows it despite it being 25 years old, it still sounds fresh, and any artist would play it if it was in there back catalogue. And it sees Neneh skanking around the stage like she’s 20. Meanwhile Lunice is whipping up a storm in the Red Bull Academy which is packed to say the least. Then there was also the sticking out tongue mayhem of Danny Brown - he‘s essentially the Mario Balotelli of Hip Hop, you either love him or hate him which is what he seems to thrive on - and the current bad boy of Hip Hop is on high octane form at the festival with his alter ego firmly in tact, and spitting out the filthiest, and some controversial, lines known to man. All in his high pitched flow from his ‘Old’ album, which are mixed in with some earthquake inducing bass, phatness doesn’t even begin to cover it and somehow makes you feel even more filthier for listening to that Old Danny Brown. On the Sunday it starts of fairly sedate, but Love Park get things underway with their impressive and apt sunny pop set, and Theme Park drop in a promising new song of their own in the midst of Bryan Adams songs that they play in their DJ set, which kicks things off in the Shacklwell Arms tent. Elsewhere Desperate Soundsystem aka Steve Mackey from Pulp and Dan from Fat Truckers get us dancing like Elvis Presley with Hawaiian shirts on, around the shaded bandstand on the Sunday. Also there’s the above mentioned psych-rockers Pond who attempt to make people dance with their hard rocking but rhythmic yet pounding sound, but the glaring aforementioned yellow sun is making dancing a very tiring thing, especially in front of the main stage.      
Nguzunguzu @ Field Day Festival 2014, Sunday June 8th But the highlight of the weekend is Nguzunguzu, who as it turns out are a duo, and they take it in turns to play some hard body shaking beats which gets everybody dancing and freaking out. They’re mesmerisingly brilliant, and somewhat of the beaten path which I suppose sums up Field Day Festival as a whole.