Diamonds and delights from The Big Chill: a quick re-cap

1. Alice Russell, the best act of the festival, without a doubt. The most energetic, inspiring set I’ve seen her perform yet. Fantastic to watch and a joy to listen to. I continue to be astounded by the sense of fun she imparts to the crowd, that voice (man, that *voice*) and how palpable it is that the band around her just love to sing with her. For god’s sake, go and buy her albums. DO IT NOW.

2. Caribou doing Odessa live and our friend KT telling us about listening to the band crafting the track below her through her bedroom floor. Amazing. Apparently, he’s a lovely bloke as well. They drew a bigger crowd than Patrick Wolf for sure.

3. Norman Jay hitting the nail on the head, as he does every year, getting everyone up and dancing at 1pm on a Sunday (very hard to do) after the big night before.

4. Our 20 minute power nap in the sun, listening to Gilles Peterson do his thing.

5. Bad as it was, it was rather amusing to watch M.I.A. get it *so* wrong on Saturday night. (Check out one of the most ridiculously-placed and inaccurate stories here on Perez Hilton). She’d bagged the biggest spot of the festival, and just missed the mark spectacularly. We wanted to hear the nuances of the sampling in her music, instead we got her roaming around the stage shouting. Not rapping loudly in a ‘we’re doing this live and are a bit excited’ kind of way, just shouting. “I love the law, fuck the law” was one of the most prominent and repeated phrases throughout, but it didn’t come across as authentic rebellion, it was just a bit sad.

Not only were the crowd not feeling it, but they had to stop the set halfway through to do a super-quick soundcheck (a recurring theme throughout the Big Chill on the main stage at least). When she realised that so many people were leaving, she panicked, and invited everyone on stage while moaning “help each other”. I’d estimate that about 400 people actually made it up there before security stepped in, and then the music was cut a mere 30 seconds into Paper Planes with a booming announcement from the organisers. Needless to say, she didn’t return and I guess won’t be for any other Festival Republic event in the near future. The best bit? KT turning to us before M.I.A. came on stage and saying; “I’ve never seen her live and I have nothing to compare to, so there’s nothing she can do to disappoint me”. Then just half an hour later; “I’m *so* disappointed”.

6. Chilling out in the Sailor Jerry tent, and discovering Goldhawks, who ended up playing to a crowd of maybe 50 while we sucked down ginger beer and rum. I’d urge you to go and check them out, they’re like a German version of Arcade Fire (with a touch of Bono-esque vocals from the lead singer) – but with a little less rock and a little more indie charm. Oh yes, and we managed to stick transfer tattoos on all available patches of skin during their set.

7. Watching the firework display and ‘world famous big burn’ on the last night, matched perfectly to the dulcet sounds of funky soul coming from Mr Scruff’s tea tent, complete with his very special organic rooibos, pear and cinnamon tea.

8. Explosions in the Sky. Surprisingly energetic, like a cleaner version of Incubus. And as a double-hitter, the ENTIRE FIELD singing along to Massive Attack’s Teardrop on the same night.

9. I was truly impressed with how good Kelis was live. She was looking fabulous and sung her heart out. The tent was jam-packed, and her version of Milkshake, set to Madonna’s Holiday, was the highlight of a fantastic set that sparkled with tracks from her new electro-inspired album, Flesh Tone.

10. Finally, Bonobo on the way back to the tent on Sunday night. The perfect way to end the festival.

8 responses to “Diamonds and delights from The Big Chill: a quick re-cap”

  1. Tweets that mention Vikki Chowney » Blog Archive » Diamonds and delights from The Big Chill: a quick re-cap --

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by James Whatley, Digital Maverick. Digital Maverick said: RT @Whatleydude Probably the best Big Chill review you'll read this year… […]

  2. Stuart Alexander

    What was the festival like? Great to hear reviews of the acts, but what about the festival experience? I’ve never been to the big chill, am quite curious

  3. Tim Pritchard

    I think it was you who got M.I.A. wrong I and the 30 or so other people I spoke to about BC all concurred that she was the best thing about the festival….

  4. Tim Pritchard

    Too true, each to their own, and we certainly agree on Caribou, what a legend!

    Was the prospect of Plan B what tempted your friends away leaving nothing but the ‘hardcore’ band of M.I.A.’ites? That was certainly the case with my friend so perhaps we were blind to the crowds.

    Overall a great review though I was gutted to have missed both Bonobo and Alice Russell, so good to read about them, thanks and see you next year!

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