With Wild Beasts, Midnight Juggernauts and action from the Rizla Arena

Following Rox must feel like the exact opposite of opening for U2: no pressure. Such was the task for Wild Beasts on Saturday afternoon, the Main Stage at LoveBox having seemingly been taken over by a bunch of amateurs, performing a so-so Fleetwood Mac cover to a sorry selection of sun-stroke victims.

Move over, murmured the dozen-strong crowd, and let someone else have a go. Predictably, the rest of Victoria Park soon stopped playing hide and seek when a proper band appeared, Wild Beasts opening with ‘The Fun Powder Plot’, track one from their album Two Dancers. The crowd multiplied like a Festival STD, transfixed by a band that defies categorisation; or, if you’re being trite, falls somewhere between ‘genius’ and ‘conducive to sea-sickness’. It depends who you ask, of course, but in this crowd’s opinion Wild Beasts most definitely fall into the former.

Sure, you couldn’t really hear Hayden Thorpe’s fruity falsetto while bassist Tom Fleming, wheeled out to take the lead on the cracking ‘All The King’s Men’, looked like he might chin you if you even thought about buying another four quid can of Tuborg. No danger of that, though. This Wild Beasts set was a must-see.

Cue the most expensive carousel ride ever, watching Coco Sumner check her emails while her (female) fans chatted her up and a frightful ordeal over by the pit-stop urinals, then it was over to the Rizla Arena for something resembling MTV’s almost-forgotten-car-crash-of-a-show The Grind.

Trojan Soundystem saw snakes of people squeezing into the arena, dancing so low you could actually see what was going on from the back – a first, surely, for any ‘arena’. The atmosphere was convivial, the bass not so, but when one bloke on the ‘VIP’ platform moved his bumbag to the side, for some full frontal thrusting, it was time to move on. Over on the Gaymers Stage, Australia’s curiously coiffured cosmic-rockers Midnight Juggernauts, decked out in jeans and t-shirts, looked more Glasto than LoveBox. As Paloma Faith took over the Main Stage, dressed as a peacock, the decision to skip it was immediately justified, the threesome launching into ‘Shadows’, all sky-high beats and deep and dirty vocals.

Lead singer Vincent Vendetta had something of the Ian Curtis about him, until he started playing what can only be described as ‘a fucking weird xylophone-type thing’ in the centre of the stage.

With the inflatables getting chucked around by a raucous crowd intent on dancing ’til they dropped, the Juggernauts bulldozed on. ‘Shadows’ was followed by the synth-porn of ‘Tombstone’ and, with the crowd desperate for the set to last to infinity and beyond – or, at least long enough to drown out Mark Ronson and the Business blah blah blah – the band unleashed their biggest hit, ‘Into the Galaxy’.

Follow that, you ponce.

Words by Gavin James Bower http://twitter.com/dexterity97

Find out more about the Rizla Invisible Players on ClashMusic.com HERE.

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