Summer Sundae Weekender 2012
Friday begun through damp beginnings. With the promise of Balearic weather conditions, a grey tropical storm ensued and reminded punters that of course, we were in England. However, there was no need to worry.
With this year's theme of safari, the venues had been renamed to appropriately fit the bill. The main, outdoor stage becoming the 'Lions Den', The Indoor Stage the 'Crocodile Lagoon' and the two smaller tents the 'The Watering Hole' and the 'Into the Wild Stage'.
Leicestershire band Kyte were the first to open up the 11th Summer Sundae weekender and it proved to be quite an average beginning. “The band have a huge following in Asia” was the ploy used by the MC to ignite the crowd's excitement and as you can imagine, it really worked (sarcasm). Electronic mashed with rock is something I believe we hear a little bit too much of these days and this proved to create a quite monotonous, dreary and all round confusing sound.
With the juices yet to be fully flowing, Clock Opera appeared on the main stage, but unusually as a three piece, something that was quickly cleared up as they explained that Dan (synth) was stuck on the m1. This prompting endless shouts of Dan from the crowd a la Alan Partidge. Musically, the band put on a makeshift show but with the arrival of their fourth member on their last song, it was all a little too late. Without the vital components, it would be harsh to really criticize the band.
Fun Lovin Criminals eccentric drummer Frank Benbini followed on the main stage, with his alternative guise of Uncle Frank. Backed by members of These Furrows, he provided the crowd with a typical performance in which anything could happen. After the band arrived squeezed into yellow latex suits, the peak of the set came during a melody of "the greatest hip/hop songs of all time," which featured Rob Base's It Takes Two and 50 Cent's In Da Club.
The smallest, hottest and smelliest tent played host to two of my most anticipated acts of the weekend. Clean Bandit burst onto the scene with their track UK Shanty, which presents a certain Lily Cole as a mermaid. The group are a culmination of new and old influences, with rap, electro and strings all being integrated to create a completely new sound, which certainly appealed to the diverse audience.
Bastille also followed drawing one of the largest crowds in the 'Watering Hole, and their energy certainly seeped into the crowd, with the fans seemingly knowing every word to their latest single 'Bad Blood'. Although a few struggles with sound, the bands quirky rhythm, instilled an excitement to the audience and they certainly pulled off the performance of the day.
The night was then closed with Katy B. We got a few photos. She played some dubstep. That's all you need to know.
Saturday saw the arrival of one of the most talked about men in music at the moment. In the smallest tent, 18-year-old Jake Bugg took to the packed 'Watering Hole' stage that saw punters attempting to crawl under the barriers to get a taste of the action. With high expectation, Nottingham born Bugg showcased songs both new and old, mainly from his self-titled debut album, due for release in October. His infamous whiney vocal struck a chord with the audience, who repeated almost every word to his current single 'Lightning Bolt'. Throughout the performance Bugg made sure the proof was in the pudding, keeping himself to himself and just playing through a set in desert-like heat.
The main stage provided the pick of the entertainment on a sizzling afternoon in the most multi-cultural city in the UK, with American girl-group Friends and the irrepressibly lovely Lianne La Havas, who swooned the sleepy afternoon crowd with her soft, pitch-perfect vocal.
After this relaxing and soothing afternoon, the night ended on a different note with local favourites These Furrows playing to another jam-packed crowd in the watering hole. With their unique post-hardcore pop sound, the four piece created the only mosh pit at Summer Sundae, something which can only be described as a fourteen-year-old alcohol infused riot. Performance wise, the band provided the usual fast tempo, high energy that you come to expect from These Furrows, with 'Duke' and 'No Invitation No Welcome' proving the picks from the set.
Day three of Summer Sundae spelled the arrival of Jonny Rotten as well as Django Django, King Charles and what we thought would be the near perfect conclusion with Gold Panda.
Django Django, the energetic, psychedelic quartet hailing from Scotland performed in possibly one of the darkest venues I've ever seen on one of the hottest days of the year. Their experimental sounds form a complete new blend of music, which managed to get the audience up on their feet. 'Default' proved to be the real peak of their set, with a lot of dad dancing being witnessed.
Following this in the sauna like conditions of the 'Watering Hole' tent was King Charles. With his eclectic fashion sense and an amazing moustache, he went down a storm with the festivalgoers. His unique appearance integrates perfectly into his indie/folk sound.
Rather than venturing to see Jonny Rotten, in his band Public Image Limited, we decided to see the special one-off show that was put together by Leicester's All Ska's Big Reggae Band, which featured a memorable performance from By The River's. A culmination of hard work and a sheer passion about Leicester ska music brought the group together and this was reflected by the pure enjoyment from the crowd, something very refreshing to see.
Gold Panda, who played a fine set from his back catalogue, drew the night to a close. Unfortunately, the stage was just too large and The De Montford Hall swallowed up much of the sound that left quite an empty atmosphere. This, along with the fact that most of the audience seemed to be more interested in other ventures, completely overshadowed the set.
For a festival aimed toward families, the balance is spot on. The play area, full of arts and crafts is perfect for children. The music, with acts such as Public Image Limited, Ocean Colour Scene, Adam Ant , the list goes on, caters for the family. However to really venture into the market of 16-30, the festival needs to play host to a lot more current music. Although there were standouts, such as Django Django, Lianne La Havas and Bastille, more needs to be done to cater for other tastes. However, I have no doubt that we will be back next year.
Alexandra Palace is one of those peculiar London pleasure spots that doesn't feel like it's in London at all. They feel above and beyond the city, where the air is breathable, the immediate skyline uncluttered, and the sounds of the city muted out. It's a point of omniscience, outside and inside the city simultaneously; a lavish venue that oddly befits I'll Be Your Mirror (and is generally worth a visit if you enjoy views and gardens and generally nice surroundings.) [read more]
After hearing countless friends and colleagues declare Secret Garden Party as the one of the best, I finally got my chance this year to tick the proverbial box that sat on top of my festival wish list. Arriving at the gates in Cambridgeshire, I was met by a festival site like no other; a vast open field pimpled with hillocks, each with an assortment of dazzling art installations and even two man-made swimming lakes. [read more]
"Progress is impossible without change." This deceptively simple nugget of wisdom came from a man who knew a thing or two about music and literature, and remains the only person to have won both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar. But the sentiment behind one of George Bernard Shaw's most profound utterances is as true today as it was in the late 19th Century, and one that Sónar 2013 has wholeheartedly embraced. [read more]