Field Day - Part 2 08.06.14

After a thrilling first day filled with brilliance aplenty, we were eager to get back on site for our second and final Field Day experience. The weather stayed pretty, the atmosphere stayed friendly, but would the music stay awesome?

Jun 8th, 2014 at Victoria Park, London / By Frankie Reeves
Field Day - Part 2 08.06.14 Before we begin on the second day, we wanted to say that it was a shame to have to miss Shy Nature due to prior commitments, who we really enjoyed when putting our Field Day Spotify playlist {here} together; we wanted to mention them anyway because we’re sure they were great, and think you should check them out if you’re a fan of the Mystery Jets and equivalent lovely indie bands like that.

We started our actual day with the smooth soul pipes of Louis Baker. It is absolutely ridiculous how good this dude’s voice is, like it’s actually annoying how someone can be so skilled; like seriously, how can anyone have a voice this good? More to the point, how can anyone have a voice this timeless and soulful in 2014 when no one gives a shit about skill and practise anymore? This reviewer is admittedly not big on acoustic music these days, but Baker’s original stuff was pretty good, incredibly good for what it is, with an obvious but very respectful nod to Jeff Buckley. The standout of the set however was his unbelievable cover of Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’. This territory is where Baker’s voice shines the most, the man’s positively made for soul: three and a half beautiful minutes of permanent shivers were had. You can hear a version of it here on YouTube actually, which has a bit of background noise and doesn’t quite hit home to the level it did live, but is definitely, definitely worth hearing all the same.

Then we went to try our luck with Drenge, who I didn’t really know much about and wasn’t expecting much from. It was a massively impressive set, a cracking cocktail of lofi, noisy, dirty, muddy, heavy, grungy punk rock and roll goodness. It’s way too hard to avoid the standard ‘can’t believe it’s only two people making that sound’ music journo platitude, they genuinely sound really impressive for two people who aren’t really doing anything special other than playing their instruments really hard with a shit ton of bass frequency and fuzz; it’s minimal, it’s primitive, it’s full of Seattle tinged 90’s punk rock spirit, and it really, really works. Listening to the debut album as I’m writing, the live experience is definitely better but it’s fair to say that they translate pretty well on record too. I’d heard a few tracks prior to seeing them, but nothing had really stood out on first listen; the live experience definitely turned Drenge from reasonable to remarkable, and now I hear the greatness where before I heard just another rock and roll band. I didn’t expected the set to slow down for the last third, but it did without becoming less interesting and actually served to allow the songwriting to show through: ‘Fuckabout’ especially was a real highlight.

We ended up staying at Drenge longer than planned, then headed over to The Horrors for a few. After the amazing breath of filthy punk air that was their debut album, I’ve always thought their sound dived off the greatness cliff into really mediocre territory, and that their songs were generally pretty dire, and nothing during the half of their Field Day set we saw made me think otherwise. ‘I See You’ was at least reasonably memorable, and there’s no doubt that they sounded like a mainstream band who seemed at home on a large festival main stage, but nothing about them seemed special or in any way outstanding.

I didn’t write any notes about Future Islands (pictured) because I was too busy dancing, and that says it all really. ‘Seasons (Waiting On You)’ was probably the tune of the festival—everyone dancing, everyone smiling at each other, everyone humming it as they were leaving a couple of hours later—and the killer ‘Spirits’ was an awesome live moment too. Vocalist Samuel Herring growled and spat his way through the band’s summery electropop like a total pro: there’s nothing quite like hearing vocal growls (or screams for that matter) in genres other than metal, especially with major key oriented music, and Herring was met with a ripple of applause almost every time he let fly with some spontaneous guttural vocal or other.

And then onto the Pixies, who treated us to a pretty extensive skip around their back catalogue. Newer tunes found their place and proved themselves equally strong against old favourites: ‘Bagboy’ especially sounded excellent against ‘Bone Machine’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’. ‘Crackity Jones’ was brutally fast and perfect for the occasion, and the extended version of ‘Vamos (Surfer Rosa)’ with Santiago’s mesmerising noise solo was absolutely kick-ass. They didn’t say anything, they didn’t have to, they just fucking played, and it was fucking excellent.

And so we close the chapter that was Field Day 2014: a complete triumph all round. Huge congratulations to all involved who put the thing together and made it possible for us all to feel rad all weekend, and to all the bands and artists who saved us from, and occasionally propelled us into, intoxicated insanity with some top class entertainment. Thank you thank you thank you, and bring on 2015!