Caribou, Moderat, Beth Jeans Houghton, Night Slugs
Field Day Festival 2010: Band Reviews

Beth Jeans Houghton
Currently gaining a quite a following thanks to a lot of (deserved) attention from the music press, I was intrigued to see how the upbeat folk/dreamy alt.pop of Beth Jeans Houghton (today sporting a fetching Amy Winehouse-esque hairdo) would work in a live context. Her early afternoon set in the intimate confines of the Village Mentality tent demonstrated that Beth JH did indeed showcase her (and her band’s) considerable talents, as both songwriter and performer.

The lively bluegrass-tinged shuffle of ‘I Will Return I Promise’ went down a treat. Similarly, ‘Hot Toast’ was given a slightly heavier overhaul (as were several of the upbeat numbers, with some given a pleasant, light-punk touch), while the more acoustic numbers allowed us to hear properly Houghton’s rather beautiful singing voice. An excellent start to the afternoon, with a set of feelgood acoustic/poppy numbers (all of which steered well clear of cliché) putting everyone present into a fine festival mood.

Night Slugs
A little-known side-project consisting of genre-hopping bassline fetishist L-Vis 1990 and grime producer Bok Bok, Night Slugs played an early evening set in the dance-oriented Blogger’s Delight tent. Essentially, it ‘went off’, as I believe the kids say. Mixing up dancehall, grime, bassline house, crunk hop, and various dub bastardisations, the set was an absolute belter from start to finish from two of the most innovative names in the scene – aptly demonstrated by watching passers-by from outside the tent flock in when they heard what was going on. As well as a few separate L-Vis and Bok Bok tracks, the duo also dropped in tunes from their recent ‘Night Slugs EP’, including the old-skool/ nu-skool mashup wobble of ‘Run/Hide’.

Bok Bok’s MCing was also spot-on, relatively restrained when necessary and complimenting the music perfectly rather than competing with it. Quite possibly the best act of the day for me, Night Slugs produced a cracking set, which considerably picked up the pace and set the mood for further electronic goodness to come later on in the evening.

Hitting the main stage (the outdoor Eat Your Own Ears Stage) in the late evening, Caribou unsurprisingly drew a considerable crowd, all eager to catch the psychedelic pop/electronica of Dan Snaith and band. Having gained a huge amount of attention from recent, wonderful album ‘Swim’, Caribou now have a lot to live up to, but – as always – their set at Field Day fully delivered. Snaith and co put on a great live show, with Snaith’s occasional wild forays onto a second drumkit providing an added enticing visual element.

Pretty much every track they played sounded ace, but in particular, the trippy prog-out of ‘Sun’, the understated beauty of ‘Jamelia’ and the wonky electronic brilliance of ‘Odessa’ all sounded fantastic, as did the organic electro riff and subtle stomp of ‘Bowls’, which somehow created just as much of a dance buzz in a live set as it does on record. The crowd lapped it up. A faultless set, as per.

A rare UK performance from the mighty Moderat – Modeselektor and Apparat – in the Bugged Out tent was the headline act that most of the Field Day punters seemed to favour, and with good reason. Their set started with an extended version of ‘A New Error’, the glorious opener from their self-titled album. Sounding like a heavier Boards of Canada, the dark tech-hop resonated satisfyingly throughout the tent. The rest of their set further explored their debut album, giving a new depth to lot of tracks. Both ‘Seamonkey’ and ‘Nasty Silence, for example – while decent enough album tunes – sounded far bigger and more epic with the huge sound of a live setting, handled by three resolute electronics professionals. Far more atmospheric than a standard ‘dance’ set, Moderat’s performance was the perfect end to a madly enjoyable day of eclectic and alternative music.

Words by Tristan Parker

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