Sat 31 Jul – Field Day 2010
My second year at Field Day and well worth the return visit. Crucially, this year the rain mac stays in the bag. Good (though not spectacular weather) puts most of the punters in a good mood and doesn’t mess with the running order.
FD crams in a lot of music which is either a good thing (if you’re prepared to take a punt on people you haven’t heard of or wouldn’t normally check out) or a bad thing (see some of the previous shouts agonising over choice). Maybe they need a second day, though I suspect the economics and logistics work against this.
Always worth a word about the organisation of the thing. I could live with the clashes on running times – that’s a given at any festival. There did seem to be a lot of queuing – it took ages to get through security to get in (I’ve boarded flights in less time), and what was the deal with having your ticket taken off you intact (“you can have it back at the end of the night” Hmm, thanks)? Loos and food stalls also seemed busy even though the crowds weren’t huge. Having said that, there was some very nice grub on offer (not including the stuff that was being lobbed around the Village Green).
On to the music. I’m sure I missed all the best up and coming bands. A loo stop delay took out any chance of getting into the tiny tent where Yuck
were playing, for example, and Gold Panda
also played in a tent too small to get into. And despite resolutions to check out every stage, gravity kept pulling us back to the main stage more often than expected.
We started with Holly Miranda
, who played with spirit but was on a hiding to nothing with only a few dozen people in front of stage (“You all seem so far away” she said, sadly).
Next up Steve Mason
, kicking off with a solo acoustic Dr Baker
, and then getting some groove going with a set that seemed closer (live anyway) to Ian Brown than the mellow weird tinge of his earlier records. Put a smile on our faces anyway, and still only 3.30 in the afternoon.
By-passing Gold Panda (see above), we pitch up for Chilly Gonzales
. Two drummers and his piano, and its cabaret time. Ben Folds flourishes on the keyboard melded to a dedication to rap. A fairly unique proposition. If nobody has yet coined the pun Rap Man Enough, I’m doing it now.
Against my better judgement, my curiosity drags me back to the main stage for The Fall
. A band I’ve loved for 25 years (hearing Peel play a session version of Faust Banana, spun my musical taste off in a whole host of new directions). I’ve seen them about a dozen times but only once in this Millennium. Seeing MES in daylight is a shock for starters. As with every generation of The Fall though, he’s gathered a tight rhythm and lead guitar section behind him and he seems content to snarl through some recent cuts before clocking off with palpable relief on the dot of his allotted time. A narrow escape for my fond memories of the band in their heyday.
Band of the day for us was the Archie Bronson Outfit
. The set clashes are kicking in and the tent is surprisingly under-populated and even more so once Caribou’s set starts. This, at least allows us to get right up to the front to see them. The sound is a bit muddy, especially on the vocals (I mean even more than it’s meant to be), but they give it some real welly, with great riffs half-submerged behind the fuzz (and I don’t just mean the fuzz of face). Chunk
is the highlight.
We join the rush to see the second half of Caribou
’s set, arriving halfway through Bowls
, then Odessa
. A good choice for the sunset slot.Phoenix
are perkier live than I’d expected. I’ve always found them OK but uninvolving. Live, they’re OK, and a little more involving. Six or seven numbers in, we decide we’ve had plenty and, stopping by en route to get some ear-cleansing from Mouse on Mars
(I suspect that was the headline slot to immerse yourself in), we hit the road.
So a good natured Field Day, for us at least. The crowd seemed generally relaxed and beery boorishness was minimal compared to the more corporate events we’ve attended. We moved around the site easily enough, catching good sets from acts we might not have seen anywhere else. We still managed to miss a whole host of likely contenders (but that’s the way of festivals). OK, we didn’t see a set that really blew our minds but then we didn’t see anything less than entertaining. For less than £30, I’d say that was good value. I’m sure the shout-boxes could go either way but I’d like to see Field Day (or at least something like it) back for another year.