Big Chill 2010: Villagers

Stirring lyrics, enchanting melodies and a good hill to lie on
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Sundays at festivals seem to be an art form. There are two ways of dealing with the all encompassing hangover alongside the inevitable fear of the real world the next day - either hair of the dog or let the soothing elements of folk music make you forget about the shameful things you probably did. Luckily for the absonant Villagers were there to lend a helping hand.

With people scattered around the Clash stage, (mainly lying but some not moving for questionable periods of time), the moment was set for lead singer Conor J. O’Brien to grace the stage. Bracing the stage solo with only an acoustic guitar, a quiet admiration took over the crowd with his surprisingly gutsy performance and his ability to remain so in control.

As the set progresses the band began to grow, finally assembling Villagers as we know it. Becoming one with the newly acquired village of Eastnor Castle, people become aware of the talent emerging. Drawing in more of a crowd, people begin to gravitate towards their soulful harmonies. The drabs of colourful people recently painted after posing nude for Spencer Tunick’s art piece amble around being consoled by the kind of music that might draw realization that they’ve just been violated for art. Barely conscious they might be but unquestionably they do love it.

Throughout, their songs become even more resolute and more spirited. Well known track ‘Becoming a Jackal’ serves the crowd well despite technical problems. Aware of this, Conor stops proceedings in order to tell the sound-man "We can’t do it like this". Starting the song over causes no problems to the comatose crowd. Villagers establish themselves as an integral part of the Big Chill and it’s way of life. Stirring lyrics, enchanting melodies and a good hill to lie on it’s hardly a stressful life.

Words by Anna Conrad

Discover more Clash at The Big Chill 2010 coverage

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