It’s the Sunday of Victoria Park’s Field Day festival and both the sun and the line-up are equally smouldering.
There’s already an implicit buzz about the place for The Wytches’ set as strewn around Victoria Park hang posters advertising their upcoming debut full-length album set for August release. They quench the audience’s appetite for surf-doom grunge rock with all the fan favourites including ‘Beehive Queen’, ‘Digsaw’ and a naturally explosive ‘Crying Clown’ to finish. Despite their exceptional set and great reception, seeing The Wytches in such a large, open space we can’t help but feel that the Brighton three-piece are better suited to more intimate venues as the sound feels somewhat diluted by the outdoor air.
Pond are quick to impress with their abundance of on-stage charisma and friendly Australian wit. During instrumental crescendos, singer, Nick Allbrook stumbles about uncontrollably like his guitar has some sort of bizarre gravitational field while guitarist, Jay Watson, sporting an impressive afro, spins on the spot in a frenzy. The crowd are on side from the get go and ‘You Broke My Cool’ is met with an uproarious sing-along.
Dressed in red and brown leather Telegram look uncannily like Gene Hunt’s police unit in Life On Mars. Furious rock and roll attitude oozes from this band’s swaggering persona and no-nonsense sound.
Excitingly, when Drenge take to the stage we are treated plenty of new material, equally as strong as that of their self-titled debut, filling us with confidence that there’s more to these two than one great album. Gritty, dirty guitar rumbles through the tent with pounding drums in a faultless set of crowd favourites and new material. The depth of sound two brothers from Derbyshire can make is truly spectacular.
“Whoever organised this festival has put the barriers too far away” grumbles frontman James Edward Bagshaw between Temples’ nostalgia-trip groove; this is alas, extremely true- there is a good ten foot gap between the barrier and the band which is a little disappointing for fans. Temples, however, are not. With a truly impeccable live sound, the group not only have a sackful of phenomenal songs, they’re the tightest live troupe of the festival.
One of the most anticipated acts of the day are The Horrors; with their largely praised new album, they’re currently a hulking force to be reckoned with- and they know it; “thanks for coming out to see us, but then again there’s not much competition” states Faris Badwan with a blunt confidence. The band are great- they play well, they look extremely cool, they have a superb stage dynamic and yet the best way to describe their performance is probably a simple, ‘very good’. At times a greatly extended outro sees clusters of fans petering out before the end of the set.
Pixies… Pixies, Pixies, Pixies. An hour before the headline rock giants’ set time, the crowd has filled out to beyond the size of many of the bands earlier in the day, and this is just the hard-core queuing for a good spot. It becomes pretty clear upon Pixies’ modest yet triumphant entrance, that this is the band that everyone is here for. Opener ‘Wave Of Mutilation’ is shouted back at the band by thousands of fans, and ‘Debaser’ played only second on the list, sees the entire ocean of heads jumping furiously and mimicking Black Francis’ almost demented cries. The old classics are scattered appropriately throughout the set, each received with absolute elation; ‘Veloria’, ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’, ‘Here Comes Your Man’ and of course, ‘Where Is My Mind’ are offered out nonchalantly like breadcrumbs for the poor, who in this case devour every glorious morsel. There is, as to be expected, a clear drop in energy during new numbers such as ‘Bagboy’, ‘Indie Cindy’ and ‘Silver Snail’ but by no means is there even a whiff of disappointment in the air.
It’s a wonder that even this far into their career, Pixies still mean so much to so many, and that they still attract such a young audience- maybe Radio One should take note. After Pixies exit the stage, having uttered not a single word to the crowd, the Field Day babble begins to flood out to burden the streets of London, excited, mostly drunk, and extremely satisfied.