For those with a taste for electronic musical genres, it’s going to be difficult to find a better line-up on home turf this year than Manchester’s Parklife. Of course, the likes of Jessie Ware, Rita Ora and The Maccabees dominate the main stage, but it's generally in the tents where the magic lies.
Saturday night sees Disclosure giving the main stage a run for its money, in the overflowing Now Wave tent. The duo whirls through their still hot-off-the-press chart-topping debut album 'Settle', with an audience response usually reserved for a hit-filled classic record far beyond its years. The pair’s latest single, 'When A Fire Starts To Burn', can be heard all over the site, and their music is played by DJs across the programme, from Baauer to MistaJam. This makes Disclosure an appropriate closing act for the first night, even if their sound is more suited to the blazing hot afternoon than a chilly 10pm slot.
Sunday’s HudMo Presents stage sees the Glaswegian producer curate a diverse programme of the most exciting artists in hip-hop and electronic music, which includes back-to-back performances from Action Bronson and Danny Brown.
Action brings an incredible sense of showmanship to proceedings. After a couple of songs joining the crowd, where fans douse him in beer, he unexpectedly re-appears from backstage. Soaked and with a deep V ripped from his grey T-shirt, he heads a pink beachball back into the crowd, without missing a bar, exclaiming: "Tell Manchester United to sign me!"
After teasing out the beat for A$AP Rocky's '1Train' (a showcase of new-school MCs, which he and Bronson both feature on), Danny explodes onto the stage to deliver a goosebump-inducing festival highlight alongside the departing Queens MC. Following with his own set, Brown blasts through some of the highlights of a successful past few years including 'Blueberry (Pills & Cocaine)', his massive transatlantic grime collaboration with Darq E Freaker, as well as treating the crowd to new music from his highly anticipated forthcoming album, 'Old'.
After a strong set from Baauer on the Saturday afternoon - incorporating everything from D Double E's Grime anthem 'Bluku! Bluku!' to Rihanna's Mike WiLL Made It-produced 'Pour It Up' - TNGHT finish off the weekend with a set that bridges the gap between their own releases, contemporary mainstream hip-hop production and epic soundscapes, which could easily have been pulled straight from this summer's biggest blockbuster.
Hudson Mohawke stays relatively calm and understated throughout, whilst Lunice seems to waver between collaborator and backing dancer depending on the level of hype behind the track. The duo also use the weekend to play unreleased music from Kanye West’s forthcoming ‘Yeezus’ album, with the world premiere of a TNGHT-produced track during HudMo’s solo set, and finish the whole weekend with a rare spin of ‘New Slaves’.
With such an impressive, varied line-up, and outstanding organisation, it's doubtable that many festivals of this ilk will be topping Parklife this year. We just can't wait to see what's in store when we return to Heaton Park in summer 2014.
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Words: Grant Brydon
Photos: Haydn Rydings
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