Field Day 2011 - Festival Diary

With Wild Beasts, Warpaint, Veronica Falls
field-day-rainbow2.jpg
1.30pm – Stroll over to Victoria Park

After rallying a twenty-strong crew of Field Day troops for a pre-festival pep talk and a can of Red Stripe, I sidle up to Victoria Park, pick up my wristband and it’s time for Ducktails. Having only heard Matthew Mondiale’s tripped-out bedroom electronica on record it was interesting to see how this would translate in a live setting. And the lone hypnagogic pop crusader manages to hold his own (accompanied by some pretty psychedelic guitar solos) but I’d like to see him next time with a full band.

2.20pm – The cider starts to take its toll

Stagger over to the Eat Your Own Ears Stage for the interplanetary hit parade that is Sun Ra Arkestra. What a sight to behold; a fortified, pattern adorned army of jazz handed warriors and the only way to truly kick this festival into gear. The musical descendents of the inimitable Sun Ra keep the momentum going throughout, delighting people with cosmic, multi-faceted numbers like ‘Nuclear War’ and ‘Space is the Place’ and their on stage acrobatics. The unimpressed skulk off back to the Bloggers Delight tent for Roska.

4.30pm – Reunited by a mutual love

After an hour spent trying to reunite the wayward members of my crew, the moment everyone had been waiting for is upon us. Electrelane saunter onto the stage and show all of those pretenders how it’s really done. There’s just something about Verity Susman’s frenzied commandeering of the farfisa that keeps you hooked. Drawing out thoughtful, electrifying prog stompers like ‘To the East’, ‘On Parade’ and a crowd pleasing cover of Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown Boy’, the sound was a little too muffled for my liking but mind-blowing nonetheless.

17:20 – Itchy feet

Rush over to the Village Mentality Stage to catch the tail-end of Konono No.1. Quite a juxtaposition of sounds after Electrelane but my ears adjust as I give myself up completely to their Congolese dance party.

18:00 – The Syrian electro king makes his entrance

The authoritative presence of Omar Souleyman and his Syrian electro-pop currents permeate throughout the Village Mentality tent. Crazy rhythms and loose joints are rife as Omar takes his devotees on an outlandish journey - his powers are so great in fact that he even manages to conjure up some sun.

7pm – Preaching to the un-converted

Pleasantly surprised at Warpaint’s sultry, brooding all-girl sonics. Was nonplussed about the album but have been converted tonight by their ability to wow the crowd without appearing to lift a finger or get a single hair out of place. Effortlessly cool but not without depth either.

9pm – Found love in a field

Jangle-pop sweethearts Veronica Falls play to an intimate but enthusiastic audience on the Do You Come Here Often? Stage. Soon enough we’re all singing along so loudly to ‘Found Love in a Graveyard’ and ‘Beachy Head’ that the frustratingly skewed sound levels – unfairly making Roxanne’s vocals barely audible – become less apparent.

9.40pm – Animal nitrate

As Field Day draws to a close it’s a strange, rather sedate note on which to end but there are grinning faces all round as headliner Wild Beasts appear. Admittedly I’m not the biggest fan of their overly mushy outpourings you can’t deny the band’s effect on the crowd tonight. And hearing the new material al fresco under the night sky is particularly illuminating, it must be said.

11pm – It’s all over...but is it?

The mass exodus from Victoria Park begins although the crowd seen substantially more subdued than expected. We’re off to carry the party on elsewhere, most probably at some insalubrious Hackney warehouse just around the corner.

Words by April Welsh
Photo by Rachel Lipsitz


View a photo gallery from Field Day 2011 on ClashMusic.com HERE

Have your say

Sign in or Register to leave comments
-