Field Day 2012: Part 2

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Photograph by Jason Williamson

Following the afternoon’s frivolities, Josh Hall, Lauren Down and Luke Morgan Britton powered through the increasingly cold evening with soggy shoes and undampened spirits to catch what would be some of the stand-out performances of Field Day.

Grimes


Photograph by Jason Williamson

Gauging from this afternoon’s performance a lot of people already seem to be turning on the young Claire Boucher, not understanding the adoration or why on earth The Village Mentality stage would be so packed for her early evening set and whilst I agree that the ear-bleeding screams of some girls completely loosing it near by are definitely unnecessary Grimes will never be anything but a fascinating artist in my eyes. Yes it is just one woman hunched over keys and keyboards, and yes her set does begin on a fairly choppy sea of sound levels but by the time she has hit her stride with ‘Genesis’ everything is more than plain sailing: her distinct, sweet and playful vocals flowing gracefully over tripping beats and clattering percussion. LD

Chairlift


Photograph by Jason Williamson

Chairlift have always seemed an unjustly underrated band, without the chicness of fellow synth-pop duo Tennis (or indeed the compelling if not overwrought backstory either). Neither have they experienced the mainstream embrace like Beach House; but they seem at this moment in time the band you’d want to fill this gap at Field Day, particularly after a disappointingly repetitive latest output from the latter. And, indeed, the place explodes when they drop recent single ‘Met Before’ nearing the end of their set. An ode to teenage romance and all the “Does she like me?”, “Is she staring at me too?” self-questioning that goes with it, the song exhibits an enormous chorus to go with it that sounds like it’s come right out of a teen movie corridor scene. It’s a set that really sees the duo hit their stride, sure to be a favoured outing even for those who have witnessed them live before, with everything clicking into place and the rather striking Caroline Polachek coming out a proper bonafide popstar by the end of it all. LMB

SBTRKT


Photograph by Sebastien Dehesdin

If you tallied up the amount of acts I’d actually caught a glimpse in comparison to the number of band’s I heard from the outer echelons of an over crowded tent I think the balance would come firmly down on the latter, as it was with SBTRKT but even from that barely in the tent position he and Sampha sound triumphant. Their warm sonics trip over the crowd, whose dancing individuals could almost be mistaken for one mass body, moving in sync to the warped, elated ambience and grooving in time to Sampha’s irresistibly smooth vocals. LD

Beirut


Photograph by Jason Williamson

Anybody who’s ever seen , or even seen a Youtube clip of Zach Condon and co, should know what to expect. Condon’s familiar baritone, a Balkan-infused backing band and some sure-fire hits to make any sunset appearance seem like a personal epiphany between friends. This expectancy and Beirut’s delivery of it can sometimes seem a bit monotonous, they do stick to the same tried and tested formula, never really deviating from a rigid setlist. But the real wonder always comes from the audience’s reactions that they seem to evoke. This time round, for example, as the sun fades and the rain starts to pour; Beirut act as a soundtrack for what can only be described as an unplanned impromptu bout of mass dancing at back of the audience, as festival goers set their bags aside, link arm-in-arm and share a rare instance of fun free of any inhibitions. In this very moment, it’s more interesting and exciting than anything that’s happened on the stage prior to it. LMB

Gold Panda

Gold Panda enjoyed the welcome of a returning hero, playing to a large and appreciative crowd in the Village Mentality tent. The ‘indie’ world’s favourite producer, Derwin Schlecker meets the needs of those who wish that The Field was just a bit more melodious. Indeed, Gold Panda is at his best when he completely embraces his most tuneful tendencies, using his short, percussive loops as a foundation rather than a focus. His set has become progressively more house-inflected, the fluttering atmospherics more earthbound now they are tied to an increasingly bullish kick. The more vehement Schlecker gets, the better. JH

Austra

As the rain turns from what the prior forecasting called “light showers” to a more apt “torrential downpour”, the prospect of standing outside becomes unpopular. Likewise, Mazzy Star seems too far to trek to all the way down at the Village Mentality tent. Meanwhile, the thought of standing just outside the packed Bugged Out tent for Modeselektor doesn’t really seem compatible with the party vibes that they’re presently creating. And so it’s to Austra in the Shacklewell tent, which thankfully is a bit bigger than last year’s shed-sized space but like last year, the stage is a late contender for many’s festival highlight. While it was Chad Valley who closed the evening last time round (due to some chronic over-running, Hugo actually went on after Wild Beasts headlined the main stage and thus acted as an after-party for many), this year it’s Canada’s Austra that manages the feat with her brand of electro-noir. The quietly emphatic Katie Stelmanis appeals to arty as well as pop sensibilities and sends everyone home with something to swoon over whilst braving the rather soggy last tubes and night buses. LMB

Modeselektor


Photograph by Sebastien Dehesdin

Modeselektor are the ultimate party band. The German duo have always threatened to become a full-blown pop act and, on most recent album Monkeytown, they have finally grasped their opportunity, bringing a Berlin bass sensibility to bear on chart-worthy melodies. Modeselektor’s complete inability to take themselves seriously is perhaps their biggest strength, with the band’s good humour almost palpable from the back of the day’s most over-full tent. Add a fantastically well-constructed production, full of comedy projections and illuminated set dressing, and the result is one of the most enjoyable electronic acts touring today. JH