The Fall, The Kissaway Trail, Egyptian Hip Hop, Lightspeed Champion - Field Day 2010

Laura Prior 08/08/2010

I'm not going to pretend that Field Day was an epiphanic experience, that all the bands were amazing (not halfway passable), that it's nice being trapped in a Bow desertwith hundreds of knobs dressed like Paloma Faith all knitting ponchos, or that I enjoy spending 4 a can of cider at only 4%. I don't. If I'd had to pay for my ticket, and hadn't been granted free entry to write this lacklustre review here, I would've have felt ripped off to the point of sexual molestation. I saw Paul 'Maximo Park' Smith nosing around a record stall not long after I got there. I wonder if his heart was as tired as mine at the whole thing.

But hey ho, tough tits - it didn't rain, there was loads of wacky stuff going on that hipsters enjoy, like tugs of war, sack races and tramp fighting, and it offered, at least in theory, the opportunity to enjoy some of the most exciting rising bands in the country, as well as a few old favourites.

That said, it's always nice to catch up with Lightspeed Champion. Sporting the 'New York Hipster Rent Boy, circa 1977' look he's currently favoured since 'Life is Sweet! Nice to Meet You' came out, he was in chipper form. Live versions of indie-operetta 'Marlene' and his morning-dew-in-Dalston melodramas like 'Galaxy of the Lost' always make things feel like you're having a better time than you are.

If you were a real dickhead, like me and my +1, you were granted special access to the cordoned off 'Hospitality Area', which was basically like a hardcore twats holding bay. If you wanted to see Steve Lamacq sitting on a bench with his missus, or that tiny ginger from Egyptian Hip Hop walking around with a silky puffa jacket on, or Lightspeed Champion schmoozing with his buddies while ordering a burger in a foccacia, this was the area for you, my friends. The toilets may have been cleaner, and the queues may have been shorter, but the conversation way more objectionable, so you still felt like you were surrounded by bullshit anyway.

Low-quality sound and endless noodling hampered Egyptian Hip Hop's afternoon set, who really don't have the songs to live up to the hype yet. It's not their fault though, it's whoever the A&R cokehead was who thrust them into the spotlight as a bunch of 17 year-old Duran Duran mini pops. The elephant in the room was how brazenly the otherwise fun 'Rad Pitt''s chorus is lifted from the bridge in fellow Manc synth-fondlers New Order's song, "Temptation", but I'm sure they're very sweet and unique if you're 14. They probably soared much higher at the Underage Festival the following day, also in Victoria Park.

One band surely not appropriate for the Underage festival, or indeed for even intentionally seeking contact with any persons under 18, or actively carrying out activities which could bring them into contact with persons under 18, was The Fall. Some quite tight, intriguing rock instrumentals being shouted over by an alcoholic snooker player in a wind-bomber can't be many people's idea of fun. It seemed a bit of a sad decline if you were a big Fall fan, and not the best way to be introduced to them if you still didn't know where to begin.

The surprise of the day had to be The Kissaway Trail, 'soaring' pop from Denmark in the same constellation as Maps or Broken Social Scene. On CD they get a bit Editors but at Field Day they delivered the goods. Roaring through wide-eyed pop like "61" like Biffy Clyro on '57', and complete with a hairy Bez/Penny-from-the-Automatic-like figure with not one, but two tambourines, it was both delightfully noisy and well-behaved at once. The uplifting "SDP" was the highlight of the day, with a cute ode to "fathers", "mothers", "sisters" and "brothers".

So, Field Day: bit like a hipster itself. Noisy, underwhelming and amusing at first, but after a while it gets annoying and you just want to leave it alone, go home and watch Peep Show until you feel normal again.

Photographer: Peter Corkhill