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Live Review: Field Day 2013

When every mention of Field Day makes some reference to it being a ‘hipster’s festival’, the temptation to reel out the snide innuendo was so great I nearly fell off my fixie bike, sold my cupcake business, grew out my undercut and released a limited edition, digital only EP of my minimal ambient electro indie trance band. For charity. Through Vice Magazine. At a squat party. In Hackney Wick. It’s unlikely that this affiliation bothers Field Day organisers though as, for the seventh year since its birth, they’ve completely sold out.

To the Laneway stage where Scottish trio Chvrches have been consistently recommended a ‘must see’; nods to Kate Bush, Depeche Mode and their sultry electro-pop in steady supply. Lauren Mayberry’s Americo-Celtic vocal has the tone and soul of Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil and is a perfect fit for the Game Boy backing orchestra that beats and bleeps over huge sombre synths. All the tracks are just so bloody epic that it feels like you’re in an 80s movie soundtrack. ‘Recover‘ leaves you fearing ex-Aereogramme guitarist Iain Cook is the love interest in a disturbing music video where you’re the girl for some reason. And, yep, it looks like he’s breaking up with you. It’s a massive sound and as accomplished and pleasing to the ear Mayberry is, her band mates have equal weighting on this stage. Get prepared to see them everywhere.

Solange ‘Beyoncé’s sister’ Knowles graces the main Eat Your Own Ears stage with as similarly overproduced pop as big sis, minus the groove and iron lungs. The hope of her ending the day covered in piss quickly fades, the joyful crowd swarming to her as if her next stage stomp will result in half a hi-top of Ebayable Beyoncé-tainted DNA. Near rapture-like reactions to ‘Losing You‘, a track with the intensity and depth of ‘African Child’, mean that if she was initially a Daphne and Celeste style festival sacrifice, sunshine and “irony” have today spared her a golden shower. [Ed: These are the views of the writer, and certainly not those of Maison Notion].

Dancey chaps Disclosure have some pals. Collaborations with Jamie Woon, Jessie Ware and the usually teeth itching Eliza Doolittle (who actually seems bearable on recent single ‘You & Me‘) coupled with constant Radio One airplay means they’re, like, so hot right now, yea? Testament to this, the Bugged Out tent is heaving and their #2 hit ‘White Noise‘ with AlunaGeorge a highlight where hop-skip garage club beats meet the trademark infant vocal of Aluna Francis. Whether the guest star/big hook formula will get old remains to be seen, but their layers of glitchy future dance and satisfying drops are what makes this duo totally electric. Or it could be the electro.

It’s not ironic, the indie-dance sensibilities, the risotto food stalls, the wacky village fete theme, all justify the caricature that’s painted of them. It’s not a bad thing – the Shoreditch diaspora is a brand that very clearly works for Field Day. So let the hipsters have their festival. Undo a top button, let half your haircut down and actually look at the kind of line-up that sells out a festival for the seventh year running – if it’s not too mainstream for you.

- Josh Finesilver


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