Bands to check out at Field Day

Off to Field Day this Sunday?  The Victoria Park festival is many things – a village fete; a Shoreditch scenefest – but above all else it’s a treasure trove of emerging musical talent, spread across five thrilling stages.  With band times and stage line-ups now available, you can plan your day accordingly.  Nearly every act’ll have their merits, and some are already well-enough known.  But here are four less familiar bands I thoroughly recommend you catch:

The Big Pink  (19:00 – Stage 4: Adventures in the Beetroot Field)
Proponents of a jangly, grandiose ‘post-rock’ noise that sounds, well, important, The Big Pink pack a elegant, digitally-enhanced punch.  On With You, the singer (no idea if it’s Milo or Robbie!) lets out occasional burnt-out screeches to accompany his standard boom as guitars and keyboards team up in shimmering tandems like mirages on an open road. Crystal Visions distantly reminds of Ian Brown’s funky phase with its echoey vocals and tremulous background sounds, before morphing into something altogether glummer. Dominoes is the bruiser of the bunch, a much less complex chant-a-long either side of melancholic, strangely quiet verses.  These are epic, lavish soundscapes of songs, ones that may not make for love at first listen.  But they’ll get you in the end…

Mumford & Sons  (18:10 – Stage 4: Village Mentality)
With their spindly-sounding acoustic guitars, relentless redneck rhythms and often gloomy subject matter, Mumford & Sons seem certain to be a 12-piece country outfit, the type that’s clad in nice, but slightly mildewed, shirts and impossibly cool boots, hailing from a one-horse town called Tulsa or Tookema or Tucson. But in fact – despite one of the band being called Country – they’re a four-piece London act. At the start of the year I tipped Mumford & Sons for fame unbridled, envisioning that the quartet’s beautiful bluegrass epics would catch on quicker than it takes to say Arcade Fire. Perhaps their songs are a tad too intense, or it could be the lack of a real catchfire anthem; whatever the reason, fame has thus far been elusive.  New friends ought to be won at Field Day though, especially with the band’s placement on the folksy Village Mentality stage, perfectly suited to their songs’ dizzying highs and terrible troughs.

First Aid Kit  (12:00 – Stage 4: Village Mentality)
I can imagine this going a bit wrong: First Aid Kit, songs as fragile and maddeningly beautiful as a rare butterfly, are first on the Village Mentality stage, one likely to be sparsely populated with half-asleep punters still catching up on last night’s gossip, and at an hour scheduled to be a bit damp to say the least. Stockholm sisters Klara and Johanna’s music is spirited, and captivating given the chance, but it’s also quiet and the siblings may struggle to gain an attentive crowd.  I hope I’m wrong (I often am), though; these are dainty, pretty melodies, complete with coquettish vocal sounds and graceful instrumental sections, that deserve full attention. Make the effort to catch FAK and you’ll also hear their gorgeous cover of Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, one I consider better than the excellent original.

Sian Alice Group  (13:40 – Stage 3: Adventures in the Beetroot Field)
Distant death knells; keyboard thuds that descent to fizzy, fuzzy, nothingness; a trinkling jangle like an alarm clock on marijuana; seemingly uncontrollable waves of electronica… over all this cornucopia of musical weirdness frontlady Sian Ahern sings a graceful tribute to sunrise, and that’s just one song discussed. A sixpiece when live and again fitting the impossibly vague category of ‘post-rock’, Sian Alice Group pair up quirky, avant garde sounds with ethereal chords, and then sugar the whole thing over with saintly, seductive vocals. Motionless has a thumping percussion base and soaring peaks; Contour floats dreamily above an intent, constant wall of instrumental sound, one that builds and builds in decibels before exotically tailing off again to begin afresh.  On record it all feels a bit remote and elusive, but I suspect in live format the experience is total. So if you’re in desperate need of new favourite band, one that’s esoteric, unheralded, complex and plenty fricking cool, look no further.

Also well worth a peek is the epic, pulsing electrica-rock of Errors (13:30 – Stage 1: Eat Your Own Ears), Wild Beasts‘ (17:45 – Stage 3 – Adventures in the Beetroot Field) lush, languid and goosebump-bothering Northern pop, and the suspiciously simple, rarefied pop refrains provided by The XX (15:30 – Stage 5: Bloggers Delight), about whom I recently gushed here.

Have a great day!

The Big Pink – With You (zSHARE)
Mumford & Sons – Roll Away Your Stone (zSHARE)
First Aid Kit – Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (zSHARE)
Sian Alice Group – Motionless (zSHARE)


~ by ripamel on 31/07/2009.

One Response to “Bands to check out at Field Day”

  1. […] Big Pink A pretty post-rock band that I bigged up ahead of Field Day only to miss their show like a regular pillock.  At a guess I’d say their […]

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