Live Review

Secret Garden Party 2013: Day Two

The party goes on until the early hours.


Photo: Danny North / Secret Garden Party
Saturday gets off to a mellow start as we enjoy scouting the best in festival fashion: among our highlights, a guy in nothing but flared black cords, a man (dangerously, stupidly) in a suit covered in shards of mirror and a couple in middle age priest attire.

Less mellow is what we get up to next in the Village Hall tent. First up, we listen to a twenty-minute dig at capitalist culture from precocious hip hop poet Sonny Green, with genius lines like “But we’ll fight for fish and chips.” The guy’s great and he’s obviously moving up in the world , but a vile man who’s perpetually going down in it is just about to emerge.

Welcome, David Icke, former professional football player and New Age conspiracy theorist of “reptilian humanoids are controlling humanity” fame. He’s here to talk about, well, we don’t really know, and the crowd is here to cheer sarcastically and mock between themselves. Starting out by reading definitions about superstition, quantum physics, faith, and so on, he links together his radical views on these subjects with tenuous quips like “bollocks begets bollocks,” “the world is flawed because it isn’t solid,” “humans are basically blind” and “political systems are based on the fact that the world is solid.”

All medical work is flawed by nature as bodies are merely holograms, we live in a holographic reality, there is no physical, and hence there’s a total suppression of knowledge. Icke’s arguments made about as much sense as that last sentence did and no one’s fooled. Ask him for evidence and he’ll simply tell you to read his books. His latest, The Perception Deception, apparently sums up his oeuvre nicely. We’ve had enough.

Later on, we accidentally catch a glimpse of penis at the naked mud wrestling competition in the appropriately named Colo-Silly-Um, but an ominous grey covers the sky and we decide to head somewhere under cover. On our way we bump into the Disclosure brothers sauntering around with Sam Smith – indeed, we’ve heard Disclosure are doing a secret, off-schedule DJ set a bit later – and we pry for clues as to their stage time. Guy Disclosure is wearing Ray-Bans and tells me, wittily, “Sunglasses O’Clock” but Howard reluctantly gives in: ‘8pm’, it is.

We then amble over to Where The Wild Things Are where Danish popstar MØ is having a good go at scaring the hell out of pretty much everyone. Criss-crossing layers of bleak, rippling noise, as quickfire guitar licks wrap themselves around slick, intense hip hop beats and electro clicks and clunks, her band are the tightest we’ve seen in ages. MØ herself is an enigmatic figure, scowling at the audience, dancing around her microphone, occasionally hugging the floor, chanting animalistic wallawallas. Her sultry vocals hit every note; she has a massive, intoxicating voice. Sounding like no one else, yet drawing inspiration from Björk, Lykke Li and Santigold, we’re sure, songs like ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Waste Of Time’ are future cult classics.

She’s a tough act to follow, and Chlöe Howl finds the task all the more difficult given it’s just started to bucket down and the turnout is sparse. Appropriately so, Howl’s brand of pop is a lot less invigorating, but a lot more cheery. Hers is back-to-basics, attitude pop, all formulaic 3-minutes songs with comparable bridges, chord changes and room for slinking effortlessly around the stage. ‘Rumour’ is a cool way to start and the bobbing, synthy ‘Bad Room’ similarly impressive. Our favourites, though, are big single ‘No Strings’, which as Howl puts it, “is just about [giggling] casual sex”, and ‘This Song’s Not About You’, a power ballad driven by an immense beat and an 80s synth line.

Next up, as promised, we check out a little bit of Disclosure back-to-backing with Skream, Artwork and Zed Bias over on the Pagoda stage. The queue is massive, but we manage to squeeze ourselves in. There’s a sense of triumph here as the duo, now Number One A-listers, return to the festival they played a whopping three times last year. Dropping their own songs (‘When The Fire Starts To Burn’), along with garage classics and newbies, the crowd is in awe, and the triumph justified.

As most stages begin to pack up, Saturday’s main event comes with a post-headliner slot from Seth Troxler, voted best DJ in the world by Resident Advisor last year, who fills the relatively tiny Drop stage at 1.30am. Playing out a fusion of techno, house and deeper, more cavernous genres, we watch from a vantage point and take in the enormity of the crowd and the scale of the event. People go mad, chill out, pass out, dance, wave umbrellas, glowsticks, whatever. In combination with a consistent bass drum, visceral vocal lines and house classics like Robert Owens’ ‘I’ll Be Your Friend’, the Secret Garden vibe is encapsulated perfectly. The party goes on until the early hours.

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