Live Review

Friends Of Mine Festival, Saturday 21st May 2011

If The Rapture is to be anything like this then it will be a heavenly experience.

The second day of Fomfest kicks off with a death threat. Apparently today is judgement day, with rumours that The Rapture is to be set upon us at approximately 6pm; better get out there and judge some bands before the forecast doom.

Things get off to a great start as we awake to a soundcheck by The Cribs. We dash down to catch an almost exclusive 10am performance on the Satellite Stage to see them rehearsing material from ‘Ignore The Ignorant’, minus Johnny Marr. This is to be one of the first festivals the band play since his departure, and even with only a crowd of around five people in front of them at this early stage, they seem charged up.

We choose the soothing tones of Emmy The Great as the perfect way to spend our last moments on the planet. Battling bravely against a piercing headwind, the band fight against apocalyptic conditions to deliver a potentially world saving set. We’re not saying she’s the reason we all survived, but…

Kid British, with their up-beat ska meets reggae bounce, have everyone rejoicing. Previous single, ‘Elizabeth’, is greeted by rapturous applause. It’s metaphorical conceit about materialism and money seemingly suggests that things are back to normal with the world.

Next up we make our way to The Lake Stage to see the much blogged about London outfit, Fiction. With only one single under their belts as yet, the crowd consists of just four lads sat in a row. As the band come on one of them lies down for a nap, so in front of an audience of three (and a half conscious man), Fiction take to the stage. Beginning with avant-garde guitar distortion and building into an out and out indie rock blast, this band deserve a better slot. Unfortunately it passes as a bit of a tumble-weed moment, with plastic pint glasses rolling across the field in a homage to the spaghetti western cliché. “That band over there sounds good,” one of the group laughs while onstage facing Cherry Ghost at the opposite end.

We dash over to a great energy filled set from Dutch Uncles on The Big Top Stage. Duncan Wallis’ mission to prove that people can dance to shifting time signatures continues, with a number of people converted and some others mesmerised.

The Travelling Band provide the best moment of the day supporting Badly Drawn Boy at The Lake Stage. Their mixture of upbeat folk with added keys causes something of a hoe-down as the sun sets, adding a shimmering reflection in an already picturesque lake next to the stage. New material from their upcoming record is showcased and copies sold to fans at the crush barriers too.

As Badly Drawn Boy is driven to the stage in a golf buggy, we depart to get set for The Cribs. The weather truly asserts its Mancunian roots as the city’s arguably most influential act, Buzzcocks, battle through ‘Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone Else)’ and ‘Orgasm Addict’ while their stage banner flies like a flag, protruding the drum-kit towards the end of their set.

By the time The Cribs enter the arena the rainfall has gone from vertical to horizontal, aiming itself right into the faces of the band members. Rather than putting them off it simply adds to the ferocity of the songs this Wakefield outfit blast out with exuberance. ‘Ignore The Ignorant’ is the source of most of the set, with the group giving a shout out to former band mate Johnny Marr. ‘Men’s Needs’ garners a great reaction, as does ‘Our Bovine Public’, with the crowd singing back the words with well-intended angst. ‘Be Safe’ is another stand-out moment, as Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo provides a cascade of cynicism via a projected screen with The Cribs ironic choral chant interspersing his words. The set ends with mic stands being dragged to the floor as a haze of distortion and some quazi-spontaneous rapping from Gary Jarman. If The Rapture is to be anything like this then it will be a heavenly experience.

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