Field Day's suffered teething problems in its short life. There's too often been a sense of "not enough" about this party in an East London park, whether that's toilets, bar staff or sound (the latter led Modeselektor to storm offstage in 2008). But seven years in, Field Day is emerging as one of the better programmed and executed among the swollen ranks of city festivals.
This year's weather helped: promised rain failed to materialise and the sun offered plenty of opportunity to indulge in that peculiarly British pastime of getting super burnt, super quick. Coupled with speakers that were quiet early on, this meant the early afternoon's biggest crowds were shimmying on the fringes of tents. Daphni's whirl of strutting disco and crowd favourites on the Bugged Out! stage was festival fodder of the highest order—he somehow managed to make even Mike Dehnert sound summery. The Hessle Audio trio had a tough act to follow, and opted for that brand of grimy basement techno they've made their own, which is all well and good in a grimy basement, but was a touch too shadowy in the beaming sunshine.
Still, that was like being serenaded by Wham! at Club Tropicana compared to the noises emanating from the BleeD/Lanzarote stage. Shed, dressed like a geography teacher on a field trip, made sounds that seemed to herald the Second Coming; "I Come By Night" especially, with its unrelenting train track beat, was dark enough to blot out the sun. Objekt's follow-up was equally murky, with skittering rhythms darting through booming house. It may not have been the busiest tent, but it was by some distance the most enthralling, with hammer-and-tongs techno that gave no quarter to the weather and would have worked just as well amid driving rain, or maybe a nuclear winter.
Meanwhile, people were still massed outside the Bugged Out! stage, but this time because they couldn't get in. Disclosure showed that lush subs and a catchy vocal can prick the ear of anyone, be they ecstasy-addled teenyboppers, double-denimed hipsters or red-shouldered truckers on their 15th lager. Theirs is a sound made for festivals, and this year is surely the last they'll be playing under canvas.
In a day of contrasts, none was starker than that between Disclosure and Karenn, whose acid squelch and riot squad kicks pulsed with an energy all-too-often lacking in electronic live sets, a sense of trepidation that their table-full of hardware could implode at any moment. On the main stage, sandwiched between Bat For Lashes and Animal Collective, Four Tet did a valiant job of rousing a weary and sun-exhausted crowd but, plonked behind a table in a cavernous space, it didn't quite have that late-night headliner energy. Still, after 11 hours of sunshine, sounds and San Miguel, it was an elegantly relaxed cap on a festival that continues to improve year on year.
- Published /
Mon / 3 Jun 2013
- Words /