Global Gathering 2011 – Headline Acts

Pendulum & Tinie Tempah
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There's one area in which Global have, shall we say, struggled and that is headliners. Either the acts are just wrong for the Main Stage – so thousands of ravers are left scratching their palsied heads to, say, Mike Flowers Pop. And when there is somebody of sufficient OOMPH! - say, Faithless last year, the sound just evaporates into the ether, leaving thousands turning up their hearing aids and bellowing “WHAT?!” at the six hundred moshers lucky enough to be within earshot said act. The sound problems were largely overcome today on this stage, so it's even more of a shame that the headliners were disappointing.

In reverse order, well Tinie Tempah was always a strange choice to headline Britain's biggest dance festival this year, only one studio album in, no matter how big that album was. The man has the chops for dance, certainly – Pass Out is a thumping track, an encore that far surpassed the set before it, aside from a fantastic live cover of Hitz. But for all the half hearted pleas to the contrary, this gig never seemed like more than a filler in Mr Tempah's schedule – and his choice of two ballads and visuals never more adventurous than edited music videos and London postcard pics (at a Midlands festival? Really?) was just baffling. Not to say he won't light up the festival circuit like Dizzee has learned to do. But he needs more love for the crowd, less love for himself, and for Christ sake some more fast dance tunes.

Pendulum haven't inexperience as an excuse. They've got the material, they had their most empathetic crowd in all the festivals they've covered, they even had a Main Stage capable of delivering the bass they require. But their set – oh, god, lazy isn't the word. Occasional flames, a band so far back onstage the roadies were twisting their necks, and hardly any talking. Okay, so it can't be denied – they've got pulling power despite this year of constant criticism, and if their set showed once and for all that they haven't the same charisma of, say, The Prodigy, the superb crowd begged to differ – and the combination of bouncing and singing along made us all trip the light fantastic. Just a shame the band never showed up.

This needs sorting out at Global. Either the organisers gets that can do dance AND the outdoors – like Dizzee did last year, like The Prodigy do everywhere, like Chase and Status would've done had the not been chosen to close the festival instead. Or they give up on the idea of a Main Stage as something for those indie kids to stick with.

Words by Colm Field

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