Nitin Sawhney commands a dedicted following. Whilst many casual punters at Friday nights Hop Farm drift over to wallow in Peter Gabriel’s multi media bluster, or bob along to British Sea Power’s evergreen indie, the big tent sees a cartel of Sawhney faithful held rapt by the master musician for near an hour. For the most part, Sawhney sits stage right, teasing sinuous Indian scales from his acoustic guitar as his trio of singers vocal his trip hoppy beats. Sawhney isn’t here to reinvent the wheel, so the fan pleasing elements are present and correct–fearsome percussive passages, occasional drifts of pretty ambient and globular bursts of bass all keep the crowd swaying and cheering.
As his set draws to a close he muses “I can’t believe I’m sharing a stage with The Stranglers” seemingly unaware that after near 20 years in the industry he’s not to far off national treasure status himself. Any doubts he may have was quickly swept away by the tents roared demands for an encore– which Sawhney duly obliges with a dervish of guitar and drums, ending his set on a triumphant, tabla bashing high.