By Desh Kapur, Rock At Night Manchester
ELECTRIC FIELDS FESTIVAL 2018 -DRUMLANRIG CASTLE 30 AUGUST-1 SEPTEMBER 2018
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 with the most beautiful backdrop of Drumlanrig Castle, But sometime with smaller, family orientated festivals their 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 nights headliner was James which in its self is pretty big, but add to that Ride, Ezra Furman, who was exceptional by the way, check him out ASAP, The Orielles another up and coming band that I thought stood out and have been added to my list of bands to check out again.
Now as far as reviewing each band individually, that would make this the biggest review and almost a small novel, all I really want 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 headliners James.
I have to state right of the bat, I am a James fan, I really like the band and think Tim Booth is a talented singer and songwriter, yes I do prefer earlier James material and not so much the last 2 records, but a fan none the less, BUT tonight 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 as far as I could gather a lot of new and very new tracks which the audience were not familiar with, but this was a festival audience not necessarily a James audience, they wanted to hear the records they know and remember and that really didn’t happen and I felt it was all a little flat because of that
Tim Booth moves on a different level these days, musically spiritually and lyrically and has a msg he wants to share, about his views on honesty, politics, love etc etc, but that should be saved for a James gig and not a festival crowd, that’s only my thoughts, many people my think differently, I tried hard to listen and get into it, but to be honest I much preferred it when he was telling me to “Sit Down’ and get “Laid” and to end the gig with the comment “F@%k The English” 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 sun shine, there was Ferris Wheels, Waltzers, Street Food, Cocktail Bars, normal bars and 4 stages pumping out live music in one way or another, add to that the line up on the main stage tonight was fantastic, 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.
That was the main stage but there was fantastic bands, performers and acts playing on all the stages and as I pop 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 who’s back catalogue was 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, they have a new record out, and even though the crowd were unfamiliar with them, they were appreciated, but the big noise and singing along was saved for the classic hits “Thinking Of You” ‘in The Morning” “Pass It On” etc 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, lilted and danced and everything felt perfect, 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 who 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 had 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, “Little By Little”, “Wonderwall”, “don’t look Back In Anger” and “Half A World Away” and there was so much love, but don’t think for a minute that the High Flying Birds stuff lacked in appreciation, far from it. They stand on their own
I respect the fact that he has moved on from Oasis, even though we all long for it one more time, I respect the fact that Noel Gallagher understands how much those songs mean to us, Noel Gallagher is simply 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”