Who is William Onyeabor? We’re eagerly awaiting the answer from the celebrated supergroup. and when a total of three percussionists start up proceedings, it’s clear that the Atomic Bomb is about to drop in a big way.
Beastie Boys’ Money Mark is buzzing around his synths, tiny keyboard in hand, swinging his legs off the stage like a giddy schoolboy. Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside appears for joyous ‘Heaven and Hell’ dressed up like a Texas businessman with white stetson, shirt, tie, and shorts.
“We’re going to bring a party to you guys, are you ready to party?” they shout; the mysterious Nigerian musician has a lot of totally tropical party vibes on offer. The crowd is suddenly scattered with swaying bodies, a stream of people performing the ‘shimmy to the stage, hands full of cider boogie’.
Staying to true to the ominous Onyeabor, african rhythms bump and chime through the animated set. Cowbells are popping and tambourines shaking as the loveable Mahotella Queens own the Obelisk, shimmying in traditional skirts and braids with contagious giant grins.
For 'Fantastic Man' the stage is brimming with beaming faces and an infectious atmosphere, and it doesn't matter if Sikane's lyrics float away in the afternoon breeze. Who needs words when you're having this much fun?
Young Fathers join the party and begin a rowdy chant of "William, where are you?" before Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor leads the final singalong and the rest of band, twenty-one and counting, clamber on the stage, wringing out every precious second of their time. William Onyeabor may remain an enigma, but every festival needs the Atomic Bomb.