Tag Archives: Jackmaster

Riverside Festival, 27/5/18

It’s a beautiful sunny day by the Riverside Museum as Four Tet takes to the MasterMix stage; Electric Frog and Pressure’s Riverside Festival has become an unmissable event on the Scottish electronic scene in recent years and the blue skies and scorching heat set the tone for the sixth coming of the event to be bigger and better than ever before.

Having already seen acts such as Joy Orbison who would sell out a Glaswegian basement on his own, the party is already well underway and Four Tet continues it with a heavy start giving it some drum and bass.

A bit of oldschool funk from ‘Question’ quickly follows this and soon he is ramping it up another level with tunes such as his remix of Bicep’s ‘Opal’ building tension and really getting the crowd going.

The familiar start of ‘Lush’chimes out to a huge cheer and everyone is dancing like there is no tomorrow.

Such are Four Tet’s mixing skills that he turns Selena Gomez’s ‘Bad Liar’into an absolute banger for all to enjoy and helps close out a memorable set for a man whose reputation is only continuing to rise.

Fatima Yamaha is buy andriol well known for his live sets and he doesn’t disappoint with tunes such as ‘Borderless II’ going down a hit

Undoubtedly the highlight for many is when he releases his not-so-secret weapon ‘What’s A Girl To Do’; the speakers need not be on everyone is singing along so loudly.

A new addition to the festival this year is a stage inside the actual museum, an incredibly surreal experience seeing the precious exhibitions of cars, trains and trams of Glaswegian days gone by being turned into the scene for this off the rails party.

Andrew Thomson of Huntley and Palmers, Dixon Avenue Basement Jams and Subculture’s legendary Harri & Domenic played hosts in here across the weekend.

As well as expanding the stages at the festival, the organisers have ironed out many of the logistic woes that have haunted the festival in recent years including getting rid of the frustrating drink token system which allows everyone to have a much more hitch free day.

As the sun stoops lower in the sky and evening draws in, Skream plays a Colombian infused ‘Hotline Bling’ instrumental by Quantic Y Los Míticos del Ritmoand hips are shaking.

He soon launches into some heavier dub that people are getting in the mood for at this time of night.

As always, Jackmaster closes out the festival he has helped pioneer and with his huge entourage on stage for the final ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, you can’t help but feel you’re at the best party in town.

Looking around at the thousands of slightly sunburnt faces having the time of their lives in the fading sun beneath the majestic Tall Ship, it’s clear this is a festival going from strength to strength and will be here for years to come.

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Words: Chris Cox
Photos:  Stewart Fullerton

Riverside Festival, 26-27/5/18

The river glitters and so do the arses on this most spectacular weekend in Glasgow: early summer sun competes with remarkable sparkling butts, freshly decorated at the onsite stall.

While it may not appeal to Rave Child on the ground, the young folk being basted in pounding house and techno all weekend are not so abashed; the arse-adornment stand does a roaring trade at the weekend-long shindig.

It may not be the industry celebrated within the Transport Museum or, for that matter, what this area of Glasgow is historically famed for but making yourself look like an explosion in a tinsel factory is quite the hit.

This must go down as the most successful Riverside Festival to date: there’s no point pretending, the weather doesmake a difference and it plays a blinder; gallons of sunblock instead of gallons of rain across the whole 48 hours.

The perennial bemusement as to how Electric Frog and Pressure are allowed to take over this fantastic location continues; indeed, not only are there thousands of frothing loons running about outside, they’ve only gone and let them into the museum as well.

In amongst hulking great steam trains, trams and Dickensian street scenes, a solid sound system thumps away noisily: a marvellous addition though the non-plussed staff look a little taken aback by the revellers, to say nothing of the stuffed and distinctly unimpressed-looking stuffed otter scowling down from above.

Outside across three stages, Riverside delivers serious material in 2018: a particular coup is getting Leftfield in to play live – “My God, this sounds like the end of the world“, says a reveller within earshot as they rumble on with what must be the loudest set of the whole weekend.

Another heavyweight catch is Robert Hood who delivers an utterly beautiful couple of hours by the Tall Ship as the sun descends on Saturday: to warm appreciation from a lurking Slam waiting to come on afterwards, he drops a hefty smattering of gospel and soulful vibes alongside the powerful 4/4; a Sounds of Blacknessvocal filters in through the pure Detroit vibes and, though not religious in any way, it’s hard not to be affected by the spiritual angle he takes in a quite wonderful setting; brilliant stuff.

Watching the Easyjet planes swooping down the Clyde and surrounded by a wriggling party crowd with (creosote colour #9) fake tan on and alarmingly aggressive eyebrows, the whole shebang has a touch of the Ibiza about it – in a good way: as the still futuristic-sounding ‘French Kiss’ is dropped, the throng is entirely nuts but the vibe is equally entirely positive and shiny.

There’s a markedly younger crowd this year, particularly on Sunday, possibly due to LCD Soundsystemplaying within a well-launched haddock at SWG3 around the corner – kudos to the authorities and ever cheerful police dealing with both large events and loved-up punters firing in for a hug.

Not a jot of trouble is spotted and a sort of collective delirium infests the whole postcode: the odd punter resembles a walking shower curtain in a Lady Gagakind of way but it seems entirely appropriate: the madness of crowds.

There really is the broadest of dance music offerings across the various stages: You want Sister Sledge’s ‘Lost In Music’with a gin and tonic by the waterside? You got it.

You want Rødhåd battering the shit out your ears with uncompromising but groovy techno from the main stage? All yours.

To quote somebody else, if you can’t find something to enjoy here, it’s your fault, not theirs.

We particularly enjoy a second set by Slam on Sunday: functional and hard and actually surpasses Richie Hawtin who precedes: we loll about on the sandy beach – some stuff chucked out the temporary pit presumably – and imagine we’re at some far-flung location…the crowd, needlessly to say, go mental.

Other highlights are a live set of clipped excellence by Lady Starlight – rocking the techno milkmaid look: Skream dropping the Gat Decortrack ‘Passion’ to near total delirium – luckily no one hops into the river with glee – and, perhaps greatest of all, Four Tet.

Four Tet lays out a set that is all over the place musically, but, with its chimes, faded then thunderous bass, pitter-patter drums….then frankly frightening beats…it’s just astonishing.

Kieran Hebden (for it is he) manages to get everyone from disco bunnies to tops offloons waggling their toes and dancing without being in the least compromising; or even particularly accessible.

It’s musical, it’s groovy, it’s tough as you like; perfect and the highlight of the weekend by an astonishing talent.

As we stagger towards the latter stages on Sunday, some barriers are erected to control the progressively more mental crowd as Jackmaster closes the festival around the back…and it soon becomes apparent why.

Hometown boy and hometown hero, the crowd swarm in and steam drifts off the sweaty mob: it may be crowd-pleasing, it isunashamedly party-stuff but, my is it good.

The stage looks like a crowded club itself let alone the swarm of punters below and the barriers are jumped as colossal records like ‘Age of Love’ are banged out: a fitting and barely-controlled end to a weekend of mounting mayhem: he is shoved off the decks as the plugs are pulled at 11pm on the dot.

This annual hoo-ha really does go from strength to strength: impossible always to run through all the artists but this year’s bill is the strongest yet.

We even forgive the absence of the scowling slipway swans this year: an annual presence stoically refusing to move even whilst their feathers are rattled by sub-bass, they are nowhere to be seen; we can only hope they’ve bowed to (temporary) defeat and taken the kids away for the weekend.

We froth out into the humid night with much more than a spring in our step: the departing headcases bounce around in the unseasonal warmth in shorts, t-shirts…and still just aboutglittery elbows and ears.

This may not be quite what Zaha Hadid intended when she designed the transport museum but one would hope she would appreciate a small but appropriate piece of mirroring: inside the glorious wavy building is a collection of venerable old bicycles called ‘Flying Scots’…outside there are thousands of the buggers…

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Words: Vosne Malconsorts
Photos:  Stewart Fullerton

Electric Fields, Day 1, 1/9/17

Another year and another weekend at Electric Fields probably the best outdoor festival in Scotland just now and we definitely have the weather for it; I have the privilege of my own bed each night so don’t witness the late nights and early mornings, but for all the time the main arena is open not a drop of rain falls, a near miracle considering we’re in Scotland in September.

In fact as we arrive following a scenic drive down towards the picturesque Drumlanrig Castle we find a leisurely field and one of the most conveniently set up festivals you’ll find, it seems after last year’s fine tuning Electric Fields may have nailed its perfect set up.

Audibly a force to be reckoned with local boys Tiderays open the main stage with a wickedly rocking sound.

Their presence is informal, with a keen attempt to bond with their fans, they throw out a characteristically Scottish indie sound, so nonchalant they aren’t even sure of the name of some of their own songs, yet nevertheless a well constructed outfit.

Opening the festivals biggest tent, the Discover Stage, we find that Modern Studies are no longer playing, but have been replaced perfectly adequately with the well-honed singer-songwriter tendencies of Alex Maxwell.

Stepping up his game for the early arrivals Maxwell’s Scottish folk rock leanings with a bouncing alt rock touches are a nice thing to ease you into the festival atmosphere, his strong Scottish tones echo around the tent in an uplifting manner and after only making it here with minutes to spare (he reveals he only arrived seven minutes prior to his set), he sets us going nicely.

Local electronic indie act Onr. have a huge synth led rock sound that could easily squeeze into the mainstream with the sort of hooky tracks that the like of The 1975 would be proud of, and they have the perfect slot for it at second on the main stage just as people start to feed in from the campsite.

Their set is full of sky-scraping tracks that beg for a huge audience, add to that some hunks of 80s pop it seems they might have the right sound at the right time to achieve that.

A graceful display of simple sentiments, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever bring an addictive sound with a fierce, cohesive stage presence.

All the way from Australia, the guys all bounce their heads along in concert, while drummer, Marcel Tussie, shines in his ability to keep the pop-punk tempo.

Never before have I seen such a well matched group of musicians, they exude confidence, and rip up the Discover stage with their self acclaimed “punky jangle pop”.

Popping over to the Neu Reekie stage, a lovely set up that showcases some of the best poetic talent the country has to offer, before turning into Sneaky Pete’s ,the festival’s dance tent, at 7pm each night, I’m told the news that I’ve missed the local garage pop of Savage Mansion after they take an earlier slot than published on the Redeemer stage, however Louie & the Lochbacks quickly have me forgetting that.

It seems a while since I’ve seen Louie perform, and I’d almost forgot how much a commanding presence he holds, even without a full band behind him; today however he is joined by three of the strongest vocal talents in Scotland just now in Be Charlotte, Pronto Mama’s Ciaran McEneny and Stuart Ramage, formerly of Bella and the Bear now performing under VanIves, delivering a mainly acapella set with Louie’s sharp poetry on top.

It turns out that Louie has misplaced his book of poetry so he delivers a few classics and throws in a couple of Hector Bizerk numbers as a welcome treat to a few fans gathered in the audience, his strong Glaswegian accent lends a real grit that is essentially already their in his words, while the vocal trio deliver an angelic and warming back drop.

Adding a touch of guitar Be Charlotte takes centre stage to being a chirpy number before Louie comes back in on full pelt rap, it’s an impressive set from some of the most talented people in Scottish music just now.

Over at the main stage the crowd seem a bit subdued for Marnie‘s set but the sound coming for the stage sparkles with synth pop brilliance.

Helen Marnie’s tones are coated is sultry pop brilliance while powerful drums and euphoric synths engulf the field, it’s effortlessly cool breezy electronic music that chills as much as it gets you going and the perfect set for the sunny afternoon.

Nothing has a churning rock sound and a non-giving energy that is just explosive.

They’re well documented at having a rather troubled past, but they immerse the Discover tent in volume as the band deliver the loudest set of the festival so far.

At points Domenic Palermo’s heartfelt vocals float over soft drumbeats, but the rest bite is short lived as the set thrusts into gear.

Halfway through the set you witness the fickleness of festival crowds, the tent is never mobbed sadly but one second you see a guy having the time of his life pummelling his air drums the next second he’s being led off elsewhere, clearly not enjoying himself enough or his pals aren’t, still that’s kind of what festivals are about and the set continues on through and sees Palermo climbing up the tent poles with guitar and mic in toe.

Anna Meredith follows on and has one of those truly overwhelming sets, as a composer she is so revered and it’s clear to see why here, live it sounds huge with a touch of impending danger that submerges the emotions and leaves you dancing to quell the fear.

Epic doesn’t even begin to describe this musical collective; think orchestral prowess meets techno beats, the sound is bold and each track a climatic experience.

Despite the lack of vocals for the most part (not proper music according to Meredith’s niece and nephew) there’s a huge emotional depth in their sound that has the crowd lost in the sheer complex beauty they deliver.

At points the sound moves to tropical touches dance vibes at others vocals kick in to add to new urgency that just reassures how impressive an act you’re witnessing.

From one landscape to another, And Yet It Moves do power on a different level, with a set full on genre defying intensity that moves from quivering high keys to a beastly rhythm section to Dale Barclay’s sheer presence.

Yeah he may look like he’s dressed as a Christmas stocking in his glittery red polo neck (which he quickly sheds), but there is no doubting he is the real deal with sneered vocals and a presence that you just can’t take your eyes off; these guys deserve the big crowds.

Bringing in the evening with Joy Division and New Order, Peter Hook and the Light clearly have a strong following.

Solid 80s vibes pulsate through the fields of Drumlanrig, exuding expertise of the synth variety.

A dizzying confession of angst, anger and revolt, thumping out rock beats backed by clever hooks and clean vocals, Car Seat Headrest is not your average rock band.

They bring a sound that’s both large and loud with a hope their audience is entertained as much as them.

As the band grow into their set of first wave channelling emo that has enough pop hooks to addictive angular guitars to get you addicted, it quickly becomes overpowering and they close to huge sing-along chorus’, crowd surfing and soaring belters.

Across the Atlantic Band of Horses would headline a festival of this size, on a worldwide scale they’re the biggest band on the entire line-up, and they prove why with a set dotted with huge sounding tracks that keep the main stage bouncing along.

There’s touches of country to the Seattle based five-pieces catalogue but when they get to hits like ‘The Funeral’ they reach real classic American indie rock territory which has the now pretty substantial main stage crowd singing along.

Known for their partly psychedelic, fuzzy tunes, Temples don’t disappoint and allow for a reminiscence to 60s rock while maintaining skilful melodies.

A little mysterious and reserved, Temples’ stage performance is one of aloofness and grandeur.

Hidden away from all the bands, starting later on each night is a dance paradise that’s rammed as much as the Slam tent would be for Jackmaster, the Numbers founder is an incredible prospect as ever delivering a diverse maximal set that has everyone moving.

He gets on his horse a wee bit with an inflatable ball hitting him a couple of times, but who wouldn’t, he has to leave directly after his set to play the Sub Club, but and who would have thought there would be a bigger crowd for him in Dumfries at 9pm.

Closing the main stage are a band that, in this part of world at least, need very little introduction; but as a somewhat flattered Scott Hutchison notes, Frightened Rabbit aren’t a band that gets to headline festivals, let alone follow one their favourite bands to it, still they promise no confetti no fireworks just a fuck load of songs and they more than deliver.

They’re on stage for a bumper set that draws from their increasingly strong back catalogue of superbly structure Scottish vocals, folk tinged alternative rock that moves from tracks of moving beauty to belting sing-alongs about shagging, a superb way to close the first night.

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Words: Iain Dawson/Rachel Cunningham
Photos: Allan Lewis/Erin McKay

Electric Frog and Pressure Riverside Festival at Riverside Museum, 27-28/5

Festivals, especially ones as full on as Riverside, inevitably provide snapshots: moments and memories that add up to a faintly confused and nebulous whole; often intensely vivid but scattergun, nonetheless

That’s perhaps the whole point – an array of experiences that don’t fully make sense but nonetheless coalesce into a hyperreal survival task.

So it is that perhaps one of the standouts from 2017’s romp around techno and house by the banks of the Clyde ironically enough involves… neither house… nor techno.

Three stages for this shindig and the tiniest of the lot – an anything goes, Balearic micro-festival all of its own – manages a perfect though somewhat incongruous moment: as New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ batters into life – a joyous thing in itself – the Waverley paddle steamer comes careering up the glassy river with a loud honk of its horn with its own crew of party people hopping up and down going mental on deck.

It may not quite be a Russian oligarch’s three-mile long superyacht swishing past Cafe Del Mar in the sunset but it’s damned close: all ashore yelp, all aboard do the same, stuff is chucked about and all is right with the world.

For all the purity and exceedingly high-quality and upfront electronic music on show across the two days of madness, that brief, never to be repeated alchemy hits a particular sweet spot.

Now in its fifth year, this jolly jaunt down by the imposing Zaha Hadid-designed museum has always cherry-picked from the cream of global electronica along with a good old splattering of local talent and 2017 is no different: across a total of 28 hours including afterparties – enough to test even this good to go observer – we get everything from Telford and Jackmaster through to Nina Kraviz, Loco Dice, Sven Vath, Rødhåd, Derrick Carter, Surgeon and of course Slam.

That is a cursory and clipped flip through the bill: whether you’re after four to the floor stripped back mayhem or more organic disco-inflected sounds, as long as you have a map, a pair of legs and a fistful of drinks tokens, you’re good to go.

In one enthusiast’s case, a rather massive inflatable rubber ring seems to be required outfit: for sure she could float around past the sunset area to the next part of the site but that would necessarily involve negotiating the dreaded slipway swans, sullenly guarding their river-based access point to the festivities; a perennial feature.

A rash decision indeed to take on those stoic beasties, particularly when observing one enforcing its territory by chucking sticks about in the vague direction of the sweaty throng.

What that does illustrate is a sort of abandon that pervades the whole event: we may be but feet away from the traffic but once inside, Riverside is a world of its own: whether chilling on the grass under the silver birch trees or going at it down the Cocoon stage, it’s a fully enclosed world of varying grades of delicious chaos.

Worth noting that a slightly less toothsome version of chaos affects the weekend: the British Airways meltdown means that the aforementioned Kraviz comes gambolling on site slightly late yet is on the decks in three minutes; impressive stuff, though one suspects the odd heart attack for the organisers.

That she delivers one of the sets of the weekend with her typical locked grooves is testimony in itself.

She plays to a roadblock at the Pressure stage and the resulting jollies by the lively Saturday crowd means the staff give up preventing people clambering on the walls to wave their arses about: again a testimony, this time to how well she actually plays having finally arrived.

At the same time around the front, Sven Vath does what Sven Vath does: it’s a little too obvious to these ears – big riffs, bangers and all – but the kids love ‘im: in the drizzle, shoulders are clambered on, and umbrellas are chucked about… thankfully the fish and chip concession is shut as a flying haddock is de trop in any culture.

And so, like that notional fish, we negotiate the site pausing only to rehydrate at the pleasingly relaxed Prosecco stand, the necessary to keep things flowing along, you understand.

The standouts are, pleasingly, not solely the biggest names on the bill: for sure Loco Dice closing events on Sunday is an absolutely massive, rattling beast of a set but a late afternoon outing for Paula Temple the day before is no less impressive: one to bust a gut to see if she brings her cheerful presence and powerful grooves anywhere near you.

George FitzGerald and Scuba go back to back on the slightly more relaxed Sunday evening and get the crowd going without at any time resorting to the obvious; a class pairing, working in harmony together and hitting bassy groove after bassy groove; a near-perfect lesson in less is more and one which gets a phone call from half a mile away enquiring who is playing the excellent tunes seeping into a garden barbecue.

Amongst the other ne’er-do-wells on offer, Surgeon delivers an uncompromising, purist and jacking live set whilst looking like he’s puzzling over a cryptic crossword with his pleasing lack of audience interaction.

Derrick Carter hits spots so sweet that one cheerful fellow going on near two days without sleep – and yet still alarmingly coherent – confidently declares it set of the weekend.

We’ll close such admin by noting that Slam – playing three sets across the weekend, including the afterparty on Saturday – predictably step up to the plate, particularly when going back to back with a gleeful Alan Fitzpatrick: it’s a perennial observation that you expect them to be brilliant because, well, they always are.

When Rave Child eventually tumbles into the Sunday night afterparty to discover a micro-club within the SWG3 complex being manned by Fitzgerald and Scuba yet again: all is pitch perfect and that extends to the pleasingly frazzled but still good to go punters.

This bank holiday always delivers in one form or other – see the collapsing bar-fest, of a year gone by – and 2017 nails it on pretty much every level.

Whether you are a wryly amused policeman keeping an eye on the frothy proceedings and fending off friendly hugs, a quizzical starling wondering who these noisy buggers are hopping up and down by your normally quiet perch, a silver goblin escaping the Coors ice cave thingy or a tops-off madman going at it for 48 hours, this Riverside certainly throws up an event: that amorphous thing where you know it’s going down, even if you can’t quite explain why… beyond the bleeding obvious.

Towards the end of Sunday night, Jackmaster pauses his set – a fine enough but slightly too sequential effort – to take note of recent terrible events in the UK: “GLA 2 MCR” projects in black and white, bordered by the setting sun; Glasgow and Manchester, cities with a long musical bond and a real moment of solidarity.

It’s very touching and, in an utterly respectful yet perfectly in keeping gesture, ‘Voodoo Ray’ by Manchester-born A Guy Called Gerald is then played.

The Hydro is lit up in rainbow colours along the river, people dance, smile, roam about and… do what people do.

That, perhaps, is the most abiding image amongst a heap of fractured memories.

People, music, good times… the whole point.

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Words: Vosne Malconsorts
Photos: Erin McKay/Stewart Fullerton

T in the Park 2015 (Saturday)

After a rather easy ride back the previous night, leaving before the full on headliners finished, we decide to opt into a car park a bit closer to the festival site; little did we know how much hassle this would cause, but more on that later.

Popping down to the media bit for the small portion of time that tins of T actually made it to the fridge I boost out just as quick to catch the openers at T Break.

AmatrArt provide a nice synth filled wash to ease us into proceedings, withplenty of quirky clicks that combine with pleasant pop sensibilities, making them stand out from the plethora of electronic indie rock acts trying to break just now.

At times they touch on soaring and rarely are they not engaging and the fact they drag down a moderate crowd, considering the gates only opened minutes before they took the stage, sits them in pretty good stead.

Opening the BBC Introducing Stage for the weekend is Edinburgh’s Stillhound, playing just there second ever gig – managing to get such a gig with so little live experience is impressive, however sharing a drummer with charming pop duo Honeyblood must have done them no harm.

Regardless their sound is full of fun slanted guitars and sparkling synths, and shows plenty of promise; for band that have only played together live on one other occasion the set is impressively polished as the they inject some future dance floor fillers into the early T in the Park afternoon, while showing a cool assurance in their second show that many band’s won’t get after a hundred.

I dash back over to T Break, thankfully less than an minutes jaunt away, for the start of Catholic Action, and after a promising few releases things are really starting to blossom for these guys.

Chris McCrory cuts a confident figure centre stage as they deservedly pull and successfully woo a healthy crowd with their scratchy melodics, bouncing energy and classic, sometimes almost chanted, addictive vocals.

McCrory loses himself from time to time behind his mop of hair, but there’s always a real assured vibe about his delivery, occasionally touching on a full blown rock star vibe; this has been said before, but from the rumours I’m hearing you may just have missed you last chance to see these guys in a small tent.

Catholic Action-2

Fast forward 90 minutes and the ever active McCrory, who has also produced a number of high quality records, as well as playing in multiple bands, is back on stage; this time he’s behind the kit, as him and guitar/vocalist Corrie Gillies take the stage for Pinact’s set.

Pinact have become renowned for their buzzing live shows and today’s set only justifies that; from the very off it’s a fully fuelled energy fest of fast, fun songs delivered with a joyous sneer.

They take pages from the lo-fi indie rock book, but add in all the better aspects of pop punk to deliver a never resting, explosive burst of fast, fussy, vibrant playing and urgent vocals that are enough to shake anyone from their hangover, if the first flat pint hasn’t helped.

My first taste of the bigger stages today comes over at the Radio 1 where one the most interesting pop emergences over the last year, Charli XCX, has already taken the stage.

Last year she held a fairly quiet early slot of the Main Stage and caused a stir, mainly down to her revealing attire, rather than her fresh pop hooks.

Today’s she commands a much larger crowd; gone is pretty much all of her fantastic, critically acclaimed, fairly under the mainstream radar, 2013 album True Romance and her massive hit for Icona Pop, ‘I Love It’, is relegated to a lower slot in her set, as in the last year this girl has really taken off.

Huge singles like the gloriously addictive ‘Doing It’ blasted her well into the public eye, and it fires an early dose of soaring pop brilliance over the mid afternoon crowd and makes sure last year’s questionable outfit is well forgotten.

Today she’s clad in a much less revealing zebra print two-piece, while her, all girl, band are all clad in silver in front a podium and a giant love heart sporting her latest album’s name, Sucker.

It was plain to see two years ago, when we caught her play in front of a hundred or so people in the ABC2, that she was set for bigger things and the fact she continues to push the boundaries of mainstream pop makes her one of the most exciting acts in the charts right now.

It’s still a bit early for the crowd to be in full flow today, or maybe they’ve just fled in fear that they won’t get away before this year’s most annoying band, Years & Years, take the stage.

Probably her most generic single to date, ‘Break The Rules’, receives the biggest reaction from the crowd, but as she demonstrates some impressive rap chops, taking Iggy’s part during ‘Fancy’, and closes on the huge sing-along that is ‘Boom Clap’ I’m left more than satisfied with my pop hit of the weekend.

Did I mention it’s been raining today, well it has on and off and it’s pelting it down when Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, from The Beautiful South, take the stage in the mobbed King Tut’s Tent, and it’s hard, for even those who’ve just stumbled in avoid getting wet, to suggest that this isn’t impressive stuff.

Both singers still possess impressive voices, and while I’m not as familiar with all the classics as a lot of the older faces around the tent, it’s still an engrossing set of catchy jangly pop numbers.

Still as the big hitters start to filter into the setm ‘Don’t Marry Her’, ‘Perfect 10’ and even some of Heaton’s Housemartins material, things seem to gain an added push, which makes this a much more memorable set that many would have had it marked down for.

If you’re not convinced by the end the of the impeccable, set closing accapella of ‘Caravan of Love’ that you’ve made the right choice coming here over Jessie J, then there’s something seriously wrong with you.

Paul Heaton Jacqui Abbott-8

A lull in the line up where the cringy voiced George Ezra takes the Main Stage, Enter Shikari bizarrely play Radio 1 (I was tempted to go see what the crowd is like) and those guys Jungle, that have that one song that’s quite good, but sounds like everything else they do, complete the larger stages and nothing that tickled my fancy hit the smaller ones, means it’s time for the compulsory visit to the Slam Tent.

Being honest, I had this slot penciled in anyway, Jackmaster b2b Joy Orbison is easily one of the stand out slots on a line up that always packed with some of techno’s bit hitters.

There’s something a bit off about the tent this year; in Balado it was always a trek away from everything, quite fittingly as for some the Slam Tent is a yearly pilgrimage to get off your face and have a good time and not for the younger ones wandering about to see some chart toting band.

This year it is right next to the Main Stage, less than a minutes walk, and when you walk in you notice instantly why this so wrong… There’s so many youngsters here.

Yeah you’re never too young to get into good tunes, and what’s on at the Slam Tent is generally miles ahead of the like of Guetta and Avicii, on the open air stages, in terms of sheer musicality, but when you consider the Slam Tent’s reputation it’s not something you want to mix with young teenagers; without going into detail it feels questionable to say the least.

The set however is blasting, as expected it’s to the heavier dance end of both individual’s sets, but the Slam Tent as laps it up despite it seeming much quieter than the den of noise it was in the past.

A jaunt back to the Tut’s Tent for the unrelenting brilliantness that is St. Vincent means walking through a field where The Script are mid set, a couple of hilarious pictures of my pal with her fingers in her ears and witnessing a few grown men singing along (shame on them) and we’re free and ready to experience one of the best acts on the whole bill.

Unsurprisingly Annie Clark and co. draw a relatively small crowd, it is T after all; but from the instant she emerges, looking like some crazy, hot, space robot lady, and blasts into ‘Marrow’ we don’t look back.

Like The War On Drugs yesterday, this isn’t the best place to see St. Vincent, regardless Clark is an insanely talented guitarist who crafts her songs in such a mesmerising way that it’s easy to get lost in her set, while her performance is clinically choreographed yet spectacular, something that has been an ever present since her time touring with David Bryne.

St. Vincent is someone that should be seem by the masses at festival’s of this size, but should isn’t good enough and as she tops her podium, giving a similar spiel about “freaks and others” that she did at her ABC gig back in August, it feels somewhat of an injustice.

Today’s set doesn’t quite have the full glitz of her venue sets and she doesn’t have any speakers to climb/fall off, but there’s enough to shake up excitement from any newbies that might have wandered in uninitiated.

There wasn’t much that could follow that for me, but my flat mate was up today and eager to relive her childhood, for which I was dragged along for the ride, meaning I was back at the Main Stage; albeit after struggling to stay above ground during a mass of congested people moving between stages in both directs.

I was never a fan of The Libertines, that said I had never given them much chance, of course I was aware of them, it was hard not to be growing up in a time when Pete Doherty was headline news every other day, but that aside I went to see them willing to be won over.

In short; I’m not, yes the crowd is massive and well up for it, belting out each song word for word, that’s what festival set’s are all about after all, and the band seem well into it Doherty and Carl Barat interacting like the best of pals, but it feels off, not necessarily the quality of the songs, but the sound seems washed out in the rainy field and it’s only the crowd’s unrelenting knowledge of every word that keeps it afloat.

It’s particularly noticeable when they play newer tracks and there’s no en mass crowd participation to back the band up, still the majority of the crowd seem to enjoy it and that’s the main thing, right?

A quick wander back over to T Break and the haze is beginning to come over me, I catch the end of Other Humans high octane set before it’s time to make a move and beat the traffic for another day.

Or so we thought! The car park is a mess and we had been directed to park on a hill earlier, despite our protests, so, after a good half hour trying to get up the hill and out of the mud, which needed four of us pushing in the end we get onto the flat.

Still, we need another set of people pushing to get us out causing much hilarity from the back of the car as sets of puzzled looking girls get hit with the line “Little Mix! Push the car!” and a rendition of Camera Obscura’s ‘Let’s Get Out of This Country’, with “country” naturally changed to “car park”, goes down a treat.

So, day two doesn’t go quite as smoothly, but we get home for a wee rest before the final day’s activities.


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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Bill Gray

The End Social presents The Last Big Weekend at Richmond Park, 31/8/14

After yesterday’s Chemikal Underground curated day of post-rock tinged festivities Sunday’s line up curated by Glasgow’s now legendary DJ duo Optimo (Espacio) looked set to provide something completely different.

Yesterday’s line-up may well have been more suited to a completely outdoor setting, rather than the large tent set up, but tonight you feel the tent is more necessary as a collection of local and international DJ elite get ready to flex their skills in Glasgow’s east end.

Having never been previously aware of Richmond Park it was always going to be an issue of getting there on time, aiming to arrive for the start of Golden Teacher and arriving just after they finish, was an expected but unfortunate scenario, the park itself, across the river from the south east corner of Glasgow Green is relatively well signposted but taking the wrong bridge across the Clyde and encountering a few building works we end up a good trek out the way.

When we arrive the place is relatively tranquil, the Golden Teacher guys and all those who made it down to watch them are chilling on the grass in the late summer sunshine, while Numbers boy Spencer plays to the cavernous darkness of the tent to pretty much no one, something that he surely would have expected down to his early slot and that Glasgow generally sees more Spencer sets than sunshine, that he’s on b2b with Optimo and Numbers mate Jackmaster later on doesn’t work in his favour just now either.

Still, intrigue peaks for South African shangaan electro producer Nozinja, who provides the first and only real visual presence we get of the day, with a couple of dancers strutting their stuff in traditional African style on stage.

Nozinja who is widely credited for starting the genre, which stems from various African dance movements, seems to have one mission in mind today… making people dance, and he regularly bellows “189 beats per minute” seemingly more concerned with speed than quality.

Mind you the quality is there too and it’s infectious as the slowly growing crowd get their feet moving with his dancers before Nozinja himself comes down from behind the decks with a far away look in his eye and proceeds to dance in the most entranced and captivating way you might see today, it’s almost enough to make you stop dancing yourself and take in what has the potential to be the highlight of the day.

With only slight gaps in changeover in the DJ dominated line up it’s not long before mysterious producer Sophie appears behind the deck, with his curly blond locks hanging to one side of his head while he blasts out refracted hooks along with those helium emblazoned vocals that have become familiar with the success of last year’s Numbers release ‘Bipp’.

There’s a bizarre feel to Sophie’s set, when he hit he it’s in big it’s almost out the tent dragging people in with his teasing hooks and at others it touches on euphoric trance vibes that could feel as at home on a hen party in Magaluf as from a Glasgow club, indeed he feels the odd one out in the Sub Club after party later on, but that’s not to say he doesn’t blow everyone away with his set and it’s credit to him that we get the crazy sight of a tent emptying to the arrival of Optimo, who suffer a similar fate to what Spencer did early.

Still, the Glasgow veterans deliver a set akin to their legendary status before they give way to their pal and LCD Soundsystem main man James Murphy at the surprising early slot of 5pm.

Murphy is man who needs no introductions, or at least if he does he shouldn’t, and he lives up to his name pulling out a set chocked full of disco-infused vibes to crowd that grows steadily towards reaching it’s potential.

It’s started to rain outside so Numbers co-founder Jackmaster doesn’t suffer the same fate of Optimo and Spencer before him, and with a crowd at its peak in terms of people and the nighttime energy beginning to grow he proves exactly why he is considered such a hot property.

That’s not to say Jackmaster is a new name on the scene, Numbers have been about a good decade now, but the Glasgow born label has only recently came into its own in popularity stakes with releases  from some top emerging names in the dance world, including one of tonight’s big draws Hudson Mohawke.

Jackmaster’s set is one filled with a diversity of sounds that powers up proceedings and gets the dancefloor moving with an abundance of energy that doesn’t look likely to give.

A switch over to local boy come growing superstar Hudson Mohawke doesn’t falter proceedings, those Kanye West affiliations have done his popularity no harm but today seems like a test in front of a hometown crowd with some of the best in the business, and he pulls it off impressively.

It’s an enthusiastic set as HudMo delivers some left field experimental dubstep tinged beats that possess something a little more than underground, he’s been able to develop his skills with a whole range of talented individuals as a result he seems comfortable with a whole spectrum of sounds at his disposable, a few nods to another local boy turned good Rustie are present as well as a the expected hip-hop enthused beats that found him working with Kanye before he gives way to one of the biggest names in American techno, Jeff Mills.

Mills, who was a late addition to bill comes with decades of experience and is given a 45-minute longer set than the last four act’s hour to drive his stripped down and relentless sound at Glasgow’s east end.

His slim slippery appearance behind the decks are in complete contrast to his powerhouse set, that only further enhances the Detriot legend’s status.

That late b2b set from Optimo and Numbers boys Jackmaster and Spencer closes of proceedings in a fluid and intoxicating manner as they flash up notice of the after party down at Sub Club featuring pretty much all of tonight’s line up, minus Mills, and as we wander over to Bridgeton train station on our way there it’s pretty certain this one will remain in the memory for sometime.

Whether it will happen again is doubtful but there’s no doubt The East End Social have spent that Commonwealth money in a more than worthy manner.

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Photos: Stewart Fullerton