A Festival Mixtape: Field Day 2012
Field Day was born in 2007, the same year as the Motel, and it has fast become one of our favourite festivals. Come rain or shine, it always delivers musically, and who would turn down a day of delights in the beautiful surrounds of Victoria Park?
This year's lineup is beyond compare - you could go so far as to say that it's probably one of the strongest in the festival's relatively short history. In fact, it's so darned appealing that the Motel has only been able to 'narrow' it down to twelve excellent acts:
1. Metronomy - 'The Bay'
Metronomy's third album The English Riviera is their most accessible yet. Warmer in tone and outlook than their previous fare, they struck gold with this - perhaps their signature track. It raised the roof of a packed tent at 3am on a wet Sunday morning at Bestival last September, and it will surely do the same - although hopefully with no roof and no rain - in Victoria Park. Also, the video is worth it purely to see Gbenga playing the bass in a convertible, cool as you like.
Eat Your Own Ears stage, 18.40
2. Sleigh Bells - 'Crush'
A well-meaning friend has been trying to get your humble narrator into Sleigh Bells for two years, and with good reason. 'Crush', from their latest album Reign of Terror, should be wafting across fields to thousands of rabid punters all swept up in its energy, but it still sounds like it was made in a concrete garage with a sliding door. Addictive major key guitar hooks burrow into your brain, Alexis Krauss's vocals sound effortlessly cool, and the sampled rabble-rousers cheering on loop in the background only add to the celebratory air.
St Jerome's Laneway Festival stage, 19.40
3. Django Django - 'Default'
Django Django show off their genre-hopping brilliance on 'Default'. It straddles the yawning chasm between dance, pop and rock expertly, thus giving it universal appeal, and you just know that some bright spark is going to notice that it makes lyrical references to starting guns and stick it on a bloody Olympics montage before the summer is out. One of the more instantly accessible signings on Because Music's (still admittedly ace) roster, expect them to distract casual observers from the Village Mentality area's traditional fare of tug-of-war contests, coconut shies and afternoon tea.
Village Mentality stage, 15.50
4. Errors - 'Magna Encarta'
Errors' glitchtastic offering has wooed many a Motel contributor, and indeed, Andy P gave them due care and attention in his preview of Field Day 2009. The comparisons to Hot Chip that he drew then don't go unwarranted on the evidence of 'Magna Encarta'. The Glaswegian fourpiece have the same sense of melody and knack for an irresistible hook as their more commercially successful contemporaries, but there's definitely a greater sense of adventure and danger about their output.
St Jerome's Laneway Festival stage, 15.00
5. Here We Go Magic - 'Collector'
'Collector', from Here We Go Magic's second longplayer Pigeons, blends the precise, unrelenting rhythm of the post-punk days with the light, poppy, afrobeat-tinged stylings that have been in vogue for a good few years now. Those of you who had pondered upon what would happen if you stuck Vampire Weekend and Everything Everything's debut albums into a particle accelerator (just me?), wonder no more. It'd probably sound a little bit like this.
St Jerome's Laneway Festival stage, 12.55
6. Chairlift - 'Amanaemonesia'
Chairlift are probably best known to international ears for 'Bruises'. The irresistible lead single from their debut album, it famously soundtracked an iPod Nano commercial four years ago. Anyway, their second album - produced by a team including Dan 'Franz Ferdinand, M.I.A, Hot Chip etc etc' Carey - is packed with equal quality. 'Amanaemonesia' has a name that will certainly get your tongue in a twist, and its straightforward, chugging bassline and breezy vocals will have your ears all of a flutter too. P.S: That first well-placed dischord at 1'23" is just heavenly, by the way.
Red Bull Music Academy stage, 19.00
7. Blood Orange - 'Forget It'
Devonté Hynes is a truly clever musician. Why so, I hear you cry? Well, he's able to turn his hand to any genre he likes and make it seem so bloody easy. Such is the breadth of his musical output - including the ridiculously broad range of other artists that he has written or co-written tracks for - that it's easy to forget he was a member of dischordant indie-rockers Test Icicles once upon a time.
Having locked off sweeping, sentimental indie ballads as Lightspeed Champion, Dev is now exploring his poppier side under the moniker Blood Orange. 'Forget It' - from Coastal Grooves, his first album under that name - is slick, accomplished and cool, harking to Prince and Blondie in equal measure.
St Jerome's Laneway Festival stage, 13.50
8. Beirut - 'Postcards from Italy'
The reception that Zach Condon and his merry band of troubadours received at Green Man in 2010 was absolutely insane. Imagine the energy generated by tens of thousands of screaming One Direction fans, multiply it by ten, then multiply that by ten. The sun had set and it was chucking it down, but there was still mirth, merriment and lusty singing aplenty in the air. The perfect warm-up in the penultimate slot on the Main Stage - but as with Doves at Green Man, they might even end up outshining the headliners. Who knows?
Eat Your Own Ears stage, 20.20
9. Revere - 'Find a Safe Place' (acoustic)
Fresh from an appearance at Liverpool Sound City, Revere have spent the last year collaborating with acclaimed Malian musicians Toumani Diabaté and Vieux Farka Touré (recording a rather sweet folk-tinged cover of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' with the former). The intricacies in the band's dark acoustic offerings are best served acoustically, as the soaring 'Find a Safe Place' proves beyond all doubt.
Village Mentality stage, 12.00
10. Julia Holter - 'Willow Weep'
Recommended by one of the Motel's many resident men of taste Andy F, Julia Holter has already turned out two albums in as many years, and her dream-pop stylings are well worth turning up early for (although I will glare if anyone starts yacking during her set). 'Willow Weep', one of Holter's earlier tracks, is a 21st century siren's call, its distinctive vocal reeling you into what Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes would probably term his 'mind palace'. Hazy experimental beats - what is that eerie/beautiful metallic distorted noise? - only add to the escapist air.
BleeD Music stage, 12.30
11. Toy - 'Clock Chime'
Toy's first two singles carry on in the fine tradition of their label Heavenly Records. The lush, psychedelic lines of 'Clock Chime' echo early Doves, albeit with a healthy dash of The Velvet Underground. They recently recorded a session at Edwyn Collins' studio West Heath Yard - a pretty good indicator of quality - and a debut album is apparently due later this year.
Shacklewell Arms stage, 20.30
12. Franz Ferdinand - 'Outsiders'
The promise of Franz Ferdinand alone was enough to get your editor all of a quiver about this year's Field Day lineup - welcome news in the depths of last winter. A band who always deliver live, they're at the peak of their powers when they've got fresh new material to show off, and let's hope they will share some snippets from their eagerly-anticipated fourth studio album with us.
However, as we said at the time their headlining appearance was confirmed, 'Outsiders' CAN AND MUST be played. The live version below is rather tame - let's all hope for more frantic drumming and a longer outro on June 2. Altogether now! "# Love'll die, lovers fade, but you still remain here/Squeezing in your fingers what it means for me to be here-o-o-oh, o-o-oh... #"
Eat Your Own Ears stage, 21.50
mixtape by Kate Goodacre
Field Day takes place on Saturday June 2 at Victoria Park in East London. Tickets are still available from many providers priced from £45. Festival organisers recommend travelling by bus (8, 309, 339, 388, D3, D6, S2), rail/London Overground (Hackney Wick, Cambridge Heath), or Tube (Bethnal Green, Mile End).