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Bestival 2010

At a glance
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Time 00:00
Date 09/09/10
Price £150

After travelling through forests, misty seas and hazy hot sunshine we are here at Bestival, year of the fantastic.....

Arriving on site, we were greeted by a very friendly attendant who set the tone for the whole festival: Thousands of almost exclusively nice people tramping around camp in the most impractical of fancy dress, apologising to one another for inevitable bumps and stumps on toes.  It is unsurprising that the festival has become so vast in a mere 6 years, as the line up is designed to appeal to a very broad demographic.  Bestival itself feels well organised and safe and sound, with families and children as well caterered for as the shoals of partying but unintimidating teenagers.
 
The arenas sit in a valley surrounded by hilly, gloriously green countryside and is beautifully decorated with flags and props in keeping with Bestival's 2010 theme: the fantastic, which as you can see lent itself to an anything goes approach to costume.  A massive amount goes on from 11am to 4 am (so no all night partying on offer other than quietly, in camp) so punters stand to gain a large return on the admittedly steep ticket price (£200*).  For most this also involves shelling out for an Isle of Wight ferry trip on top of ordinary travel costs however this is part of the charm of spending 4 days at Britain's sunniest spot, Robin Hill. It's worth it though, given the absolutely immense quality of music on offer.
 

bestival 2010 run-riot from Helen Marshall on Vimeo.

 

La Roux and Dead Guy - DJ Set, Big Top
 
These ladies provided chilled funky sounds reminiscent of London's 333 bar as their set opened and moved onto some surprise classics, When the Doves Cry by Prince is a firm favourite and Tease Me by Chaka Demus and Pliers.  Ok, so the set was not what RR were expecting from La Roux and was mainly mid tempo, but it suited chill out night and warmed us up for a weekend of diverse music.
 
Janelle Monae - Live Band, Big Top
 
This woman is one to watch, having the impressive vocal range, power and projection to rival any platinum selling diva but producing songs with much more heart and soul.  The band are wild and if anything the layers of beats and melodies in every track are a little too complex: RR wanted to hear the vocals and were indulged by just her and accompaniment from her brilliant guitarist as she launched into Smile.  Talent like this does not go unnoticed and it turns out Janelle contributed to new Cee-Lo track, Cold War, which was a particular highlight, as was the band's funky nun costumes and mock praying during the set.  
 
Late Night - Club Dada, Come Dancing
 
RR were listening to the wee small hours to the sounds of Coley, Mark E and P45 and was shocked and delighted to be gyrating to a Bomb da Bass track, It's a Megablast played by a DJ for the first time in decades and everybody loves Tupac, whose California Love always goes down a storm.  So sweaty condensation dripped from the ceiling, we ended 3 out of 4 nights at Bestival in this club, open until 3 or 4am most nights.

bestival photos 2010 from Helen Marshall on Vimeo.

 

Friday:

Neon Indian - Sailor Jerry's:
 
This chill wave, US outfit produce quality music created by Alan Palamo.  Having started his musical career after penning a song of apology after standing up his girlfriend, "Sould Have Done Acid With You" the album Psychic Chasms was released Stateside in 2008.  Musically sound and well worth a watch, their album containing remixes .  Their videos are also well worth a look: the clip for Sleep Paralysist is a masterpiece in time delay: check out their My Space for more details: UK album release date 20 September.
 
Romain Bno & Bart & Baker  - DJ sets, Club Dada/Come Dancing:
 
Romain Beno and B&B's back to back sets from French DJs gave RR an introduction to the Electro Swing Revival, Chris Tofu having sourced the creme de la creme of the French contingent to Bestival.  We can name few of the tracks, in the same vein as Gramaphonedzie, Why Don't You but a good crowd danced themselves silly and left the club drenched in sweat.  Different and fun for a night out: check out Chris Tofu's Facebook  page for upcoming gig details.
 
Saturday:
 
And the rain came down but high spirits prevailed, as RR wandered the balance of the site taking many a picture.  Best costumes of the weekend were noted on this day, including the 3 little pigs and RR's favourite, a swarm of boistrous smurfs: next year RR is going as Smurfette!
 
Example - Main Stage:
 
A strong set from this young songwriter, with Watch the Sun Come Up being RR's favourite.  Example is keen not to be labelled as an act with only one song and this performance proved he was not: RR was impressed anyway.
 
Chic - Main Stage:
 
True professionalism in entertainment form.  Who could go wrong with Nile Rodgers' repertoire and entourage?  Responsible for huge hits such as We are Family, Dancing in the Street, Le Freak and Good Times, the band and vocalists sounded note perfect, making it look easy to boot.
 
Best in Show / Arcadia - Arcadia Present the Spider:
 
Wow!  Amazing band playing the dirtiest bassiest sounds to keep the ears happy while the eyes glory in circus performers spinning from nets and hoops strung from a huge spider containing stage and DJ booth, made entirely from recycled materials.  RR were lucky enough to meet some of the performers, who really are dedicated, brilliant at conveying the ghoulish charm of the characters and seemed so happy to be doing what they love.  The Electric Boys were shockingly good: running electric currents around their bodies and through their heads this is an act which must be seen and should be a household name with State funding.  Best in Show!
 
Best Live Band / The Egg - Bimble Inn:
 
We met Ned Scott (vocals/keyboards) 1/4 of this 4 piece band, chilling out in the press tent and were glad we covered this gig.  These relative unknowns have been honing their brand of ambient funk for a decade or so, and were really tight and together and even. RR will be catching up with ned & co soon and, if you like Air or Groove Armada you will love the Egg, live or recorded, the basslines alone are worth it.

Sunday:
 
Pants to poverty - Tomorrow's World: we saw Bestival break 2 world records for the worlds smallest and largest pairs of pants, the latter of which was filled by Bestival goers in their underwear.  Like Glastonbury, Bestival is admirably committed to raising environmental issues and campaigning for 10% reduction in emissions and RR appreciates the sentiment and effort bring issues to the fore through "edutainment."
 
Best Dance / Horsemeat Disco - Bollywood Tent:
 
Brilliant, sweaty, funky ol' tunes with lots of bass.  Wish they had played longer but boogie on down to their club night at Kennington Lane on Sundays to see what the fuss is about.
 
Prodigy - Main Stage:
 
The Bestival Headliners pulled another performance out of the bag, with Warriors Dance and Breathe getting the best reaction.  No surprises here: lots of effing from Keith and Liam and the sound was turned down and not as good as their MK Bowl gig in July, but with a back catalogue like that, who cares!
 
Fever Ray
- Big Top:
 
Well one of RR's best loved bands played some great music but are elusive, dimming the lights for their performance and then illuminating the stage with lamps, which went on and off at intervals.  Whilst this means that you pay attention to the vocals, basslines, beats and melodies RR confesses to feeling a little unfulfilled by not seeing the artists and wanted to see them really reach a crescendo and come into the light.
 
Conclusion:
 
Finishing our night and festival season off by heading back to Arcadia for more Electric Boys and brief sets from Rob da Bank and the Dub Pistols, RR danced until the plug was pulled in the White Wedding and Bimble Inn tents.  Josie and Rob Da Bank, whose Brainchild Bestival is, should congratulate themselves on another bumper year: RR will be going again, whatever the weather.

 

Q & A with CHRIS TOFU

 

What was your personal highlight from the festival?

I think actually TAKO LAKO from Denmark being the new goggle bordello helps
Also all the electro Swing we did especially correspondents , dj Switch and PAris BArt and Baker

What do you think of this festival location and Club Dada?

The Spiegel tent we use was first used over 75 years ago by people like Edith Piaf and holds this incredible atmosphere. Electro Swing brings it back to its roots in a remix sort of way , LOVE IT !!!!!

What are your musical influences? Describe your sound.

Well we have for years chamiponed the remix of 1920`s to 1950`s through Lost Vagueness all the way really. Love that old BRass and jump of old swing but then mixed through the modern lens to create Charleston Hip HOp , Drum and BAss Boogalooo etc . Ive been making the Gypsy Remix happen for 20 years now ( we were the first ) so theres a bit of that and how festivals breed travelling etc

What are you doing and where are you playing next?

Electro Swing Club is every 3 rd Sat month and is actually completely kicking and cool 100 leonard st . Im off to Auz to Dj at Christmas and well be at CArnnneeevil of course in Bristol and 100 `s of other spots

Love Run Riot by way

 

 

 

Q & A Neon Indian

 

Neon Indian: Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms / UK- Release 20 September 2010; Live at Sailor Jerry’s, Bestival

 

Foundational US chill wave outfit, Neon Indian, are touring the globe at the moment peddling the deluxe edition of acclaimed 2009 Stateside debut album, Psychic Chasms.  Solo composer, Alan Palomo, has collaborated to form a very competent 4 piece live act, who are extremely polite when RR shamelessly interrupts their attempt to pack up quickly following a well received  Bestival set at Sailor Jerry’s.  

 

RR grabs a moment with Palomo, who explains that after 3 weeks on the UK festival scene, they are zooming to Europe (Berlin and Paris), “It’s kind of been a gradual build, just kind of letting people know that we exist out here.”  Of diminutive height and geeky-cute, he smiles when I tell him that it’s working, judging by the Bestival crowd’s awareness. 

 

Having created a multilayered, original sound and lyrics peppered with metaphysical musings, Palomo is no dummy either and almost scarily articulate when talking about NI’s videos.  Referring to the video for Sleep Paralysist, it seems that many of the visual ideas are also his. Directed by Aaron Brown & Ben Chappell, aka Focus Creeps,

 

“… [they’re] just really fantastic dudes… very collaborative and you know it seems that they just had this concept and were definitely willing to interject a couple of ideas.  Once we got there it seemed that they were really great at creating these very inventive, imaginative situations and then everyone runs round in a frenzy trying to capture those moments.” 

 

With sequences involving riding white horses and closed eyed REM the metaphors are not new but the clip is successful, making RR like the track more.  The same is true of the video for moody track 6669 (I don’t know if you know) which uses time delay techniques to fascinate the eye, and images conveying a more definite meaning to the lyrics, “Everything comes apart if you find the strand, all it takes is a hand.”  One need not be a frustrated philosophy graduate to see that this applies as much to relationships as to life, the universe and everything.

 

Besides a sense of intelligence, which shines through in their music and upon meeting them, the band are not without humour: gorgeous, elfin keyboardist Leanne Macomber offers to pose in front of the artistes’ Portaloos (hopefully this does not epitomize NI’s experiences on the UK festival scene).  Humour resonates through some of NI’s tracks too: Should’ve Taken Acid With You was originally a private ode of apology for a missed date, and the fuzzy squelch of synths on original versions of Terminally Chilland Deadbeat Summerare comedic.  RR absolutely agrees with BBC reviewer, Mike Diver: Deadbeat Summer does sound like the theme to 80s Bob Godfrey Cartoon, Henry’s Cat!  While this may induce some to skip on, the noise induces RR to giggle then listen harder, and other tracks RR wants to incessantly replay. 

 

The deluxe album version, out in the UK this week, Mind Ctrl: Psychic Chasms Possessed,features remixes from the likes of Javelin, Yacht and Anoraak.  RR prefers the original “Terminally Chill” to Yacht’s higher octane mix (purely a matter of taste) but there aren’t enough superlatives for Anoraak’s version of “Psychic Chasms,” utterly sublime, gorgeously subdued, plinkety-plonkety joy (now embedded in RR’s consciousness and on repeat). 

 

Live or recorded, original or remixed, RR likes NI’s sounds, which are gentle but not dull, ambient with weighty beats and chilled yet uplifting, give or take a painful come down or two: guitar lovers may prefer the moodier, darker Ephemeral Arteryor Local Joke(RR detects a touch of the Pixies, and certainly identifies with the latter’s title).  RR loves some of the tracks from the same part of the heart occupied by the KLF and Orbital, yet NI produce moving lyrics AND giggles AND a decent live act.  Overture AMis an interpretation an alarm tone (humour again) but Psychic Chasmscertainly woke America up to chill wave: Alan Palomo must have been a very dreamy but rewarding child….

    
 

 


 

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