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Parklife Weekender 2014: Five To See

27 May 2014, 16:57 | Written by Joe Goggins

When Parklife Festival started back in 2010 as an offshoot of the Warehouse Project it wasn’t seen as a great deal more than a neat little extension to that operation’s calendar but Manchester’s student population quickly took it to hearts and for a little while it served as the bedrock of the post-exam, pre-going back home period of debauchery that early June plays host to at learned institutions across the nation. A simple case of demand outstripping supply, though, forced organisers to move it from the compact Platt Fields to the sprawling Heaton Park (as I never tire of pointing out to anybody who might not know, is the biggest municipal park in Europe).

Last year’s trial run was a roaring success and with no regular Warehouse season this year - as a protracted move back to the city centre, and to the Mayfield Depot., rumbles on - the pressure is on for Parklife’s organisers to make this year’s festival the jewel in their crown, and their most expansive lineup yet promises to deliver in that regard. We pick 5 performances we can’t wait to see across the weekend of 7-8 June.

Chromeo / Saturday / Now Wave

The Canadian duo certainly don’t rush records out, but good things come to those who wait; this month’s White Women is a thing of supreme beauty, and represents David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel’s most diverse electro odyssey yet. Amongst the highlights are the pulsating “Somethingood” and the Solange collaboration “Lost on the Way Home”. Look out, too, for the quick fire “Ezra’s Interlude”, featuring the eponymous frontman of Vampire Weekend - Macklovitch, who once lectured in French at Columbia University, once taught Ezra Koenig’s girlfriend. A slot third form top of the Now Wave stage seems a nice fit; expect one of the weekend’s most irrepressibly funky sets.

John Wizards / Sunday / Now Wave

Perhaps Cape Town native John Withers thought that forming a band would be easier and more efficient than simply issuing a public service announcement that would point the western world’s hipsters towards Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Either way, the self-titled debut record by his project, John Wizards, was the product of years of traveling across his home continent, and serves as a stirring grab-bag of its fabulously rich musical palette. A slew of UK live shows late last year hinted at massive live potential for the outfit; their Parklife slot on the Now Wave stage is likely to land at an indecently early time, but those arriving sharply will be richly rewarded.

Zomby / Sunday / Red Bull Music Academy

Talk about will he or won’t he; as much as making this a recommendation, only the most naive would be stunned to see the enigmatic Londoner withdraw from the bill at the eleventh hour. Should he make it, though, he should expect a capacity crowd; his stock has never been higher, with a belligerent social media presence rendered utterly secondary by the searingly impressive With Love, a remarkably assured blend of electronic and dubstep that has yet to be truly done justice live.

A$AP Rocky / Saturday / Now Wave

I can’t really talk about Rocky’s late booking for the festival without making reference to the massively disappointing circumstances out of which it occurred: Kendrick Lamar, originally scheduled to close the Now Wave stage on the Saturday night, apparently realised quite suddenly that he was supposed to be on tour in the States at this particular point in time. It’s as farcical a reason as I’ve heard for a dropout in a good long while, but the organisers should be credited for bringing in as high-profile a name as this at such short notice. A$AP will presumably be performing without a backing band but an already impressive back catalogue should ensure that few really lament its absence when he closes proceedings on the first night.

Warpaint / Sunday / Main Stage

Any suggestion that Warpaint’s hypnotic brand of art rock is best enjoyed indoors should be promptly shot down by way of direction to the sumptuous Coachella 2011 sets available on YouTube. That the L.A. four piece have dropped another gorgeously-crafted full-length since should mean that this mid-main stage booking proves a shrewd one. The sheer hypnotism of Warpaint’s sound - which revolves primarily around the masterful rhythm section of Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa - transcends the mere size of the audience; expect them to leave the festival’s premier platform with plenty more subscribers than they had before.

The Parklife Weekender takes place at Heaton Park in Manchester from 7-8 June. The full line and more information is available here.

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