ELECTRIC FIELDS FESTIVAL 2018
DRUMLANRIG CASTLE 30 AUGUST- 1 SEPTEMBER 2018
By Desh Kapur
So its was the long drive up the M6 to Dumfries, Scotland, for the small family orientated but beautifully put together Electric Fields 2018, situated within the most beautiful backdrop of Drumlanrig Castle.
Sometimes smaller, family orientated festivals are great as a whole but for a music fan the line-ups can be found to be a bit wanting. This was definitely not the case with Electric Fields. The line up was…well…Kick arse to say the least.
Friday night’s headliner was James which in itself is pretty big but add to that Ride, Ezra Furman (Who was exceptional by the way, check him out ASAP!) and The Orielles, another up and coming band that I thought stood out and has been added to my list of bands to check out again.
Now as far as reviewing each band individually goes, this would make this the biggest review and almost a small novel and all I really want to do is to give you an overview of what an exceptional festival Electric Fields is, but with that said there are a few bands I would like to comment on as I go and the first is Friday nights headliner James.
I have to state right off the bat, I am a James fan. I really like the band and think Tim Booth is a talented singer and songwriter. I do prefer earlier James material and not so much the last 2 records, but I am a fan nonetheless. Tonight howver, they got it wrong in my eyes and, to be honest, in the eyes of a lot of people who I spoke to the next day. They played a lot of recent and very new tracks which the audience were not familiar with, but this was a festival audience not necessarily a James audience, who wanted to hear the records they know well. This didnt happen and i think the performance fell a little flat as a result of this.
Tim Booth moves on a different level these days, musically spiritually and lyrically and has a message he wants to share which centres around his views on honesty, politics, love etc etc, but that should be saved for a James gig and not a festival crowd. This is of course my opinion and I am sure many people may think differently. I tried hard to listen to the set and get into it, but to be honest I much preferred it when he was telling me to “Sit Down’ and get “Laid” . Towards the end of the gig, he made the comment “F@%k The English” which seemed shallow and beneath him.
Saturday was to be my full day at the festival. The sun was out, people and families were flooding in and my appreciation of this festival went up another level and as we were bathed in glorious sunshine. There were Ferris Wheels, Waltzers, Street Food, Cocktail Bars, normal bars and 4 stages pumping out live music in one way or another. To top this all off, the line up on the main stage in the evening was fantastic and included, Shame, The Coral, Teenage Fan club and the man himself Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds. It was going to be a good day!
This was only the main stage but there many other fantastic bands, performers and acts playing on all the stages and as I popped in and out of tents and stages some of the acts that stood out for me were, “The Dunts”, “Dream Wife”, “Sunflower Bean”, “Soccer Mommy”, “Baxter Dury” and “Young Fathers”
First up to the bright lights of the main stage were The Coral and on strolled the Mercury Prize winners. Here is a band whose back catalogue is filled to the brim with hit after hit. The sun was out and their sunny breezy indie tunes fitted the mood perfectly. They threw in a few new songs as would be expected as they have a new record out and even though the crowd were unfamiliar with them, they were appreciated. For Coral fans however the most noise was participation was savd for some of their classic songs such as "Thinking Of You" 'In The Morning" "Pass It On" etc.
Up next were Scotland’s finest Teenage Fanclub, a band who are a firm favourite of mine and “Grand Prix” is a true gem of a record and the timing was perfect. It had been a beautifully sunny day and as the sun began to set, the bands perfect brand of indie soared, lifted and danced to perfection. They played all the songs we were desperate to hear, the crowd loved it, the band loved it and I loved it even more.
And as the sun finally set and night crept upon us, the main stage lit up in all its glory, on he walked, the man, The Mighty O; a man whose sound tracked the youth of so many of the huge crowd gathered in front of the stage. He strolled on with confidence a man who knew who he was and knew what his song writing has meant to so many people.
He played a set of something old, something new and something Oasis. Of course, the Oasis songs got the biggest response as you would expect with songs such as “Little By Little”, “Wonderwall”, “Don’t look Back In Anger” and “Half A World Away” being performed during his set.
I respect the fact that Noel has moved on from Oasis, even though we all long to hear them together one more time and I also respect the fact that Noel Gallagher understands how much those songs mean to us. He is an outstanding songwriter, musician and performer and his contribution to British music is impossible to put into words.
Noel Gallagher “Little By Little”
Noel Gallagher and The High Flying Birds “The death Of You And Me”
Teenage Fanclub “Sparky’s Dream”
James “Sit Down”
The Coral “Dreaming Of You”
Baxter Drury “Cocaine Man”