Review: Sunday at Parklife Festival (07/06/2015)

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Sunday began a lot later than Saturday. I stayed in bed as long as I could reason. My feet were sore and unwilling to follow my commands. The commute to the festival site made me long for Parklife to be a camping festival, so I could reduce my overall step count for the weekend. But then I remembered the easy availability of a shower, the comfort of a mattress, and the quiet of the residential area, so I quickly shut up. I dragged myself through security, finding it far more relaxed at a later hour. My friend even proudly showed off his pack of sausage rolls that he managed to smuggle through.

After finding out about the tragic events of Parklife 2014, and the death of Robert Hart, it wasn’t a surprise to be confronted by tight security over the weekend. But seeing the array of prohibited items that I spotted around the festival, and the highly intoxicated state of the majority of festival goers, it is likely that a similar event is all too likely to occur. The campaign #HelpBobby was plastered all over Manchester, particularly in the main shopping area, mainly in the form of graffiti. Even a year after Hart’s death, no one has been charged with his death and it’s a surprise that Parklife was even able to take place again this year.

Badbadnotgood: photo credit to Joe Okpako

Badbadnotgood demonstrated highly skilled instrumentally driven music that sent the crowd wild

The day began on a complete and utter high with the introduction to a new band in my roster. Badbadnotgood, a Canadian trio, stole the rest of Sunday in their 45 minute set of extraordinary musical talent. The dexterity and skill at which they played their instruments was almost uncanny, and they blew me away with their smooth and practiced showmanship. They displayed unrivalled and unlimited energy throughout. The three-piece were joined onstage mid-set by saxophone player Leland Whitty, who took the show to new heights. The performance was pretty much a masterpiece as far as festival shows go, and my only small criticism is that they were on far too early to be fully enjoyed. Their level of talent is something I would want to see on the Main Stage, performing to a huge crowd. However, the intimate setting and the energy of the crowd allowed the group to excel in their originality, to an almost cosmic level. Safe to say, their set left me with a smile on my face, and slightly too high expectations for the rest of the performances that day.

Without any real idea of where to head next, we went over to catch Chet Faker, but ended up miss-timing it and catching the set before by Tourist. I’m not the biggest fan of music created by computers, and I like to be able to actually see the instruments I can hear on the stage in front of me, but all in all, Tourist were better than average. However, it may have just been the more docile audience and the afterglow of the cosmic Badbadnotgood set. By this point fatigue had set in, and the idea of standing around for long enough to catch Chet Faker was unappealing. This lead to us sitting outside the tent just to listen to his bitter sweet techno tunes.

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Nas performed his legendary first album, Illmatic, in full.

The rest of Sunday went by in a bit of a fatigued blur, hopping through venues, catching moments of Grace Jones, Action Bronson, and Madlib. Finally I settled in to watch Jungle on the Main Stage, who were average at best. They are at a difficult stage in their fame; a stage where everyone in the crowd knew one or two songs but no one really cares about them. The set dragged, the sound was slightly off, and I nearly fell asleep sitting in the sun.

The evening began with a dreamy performance from FKA Twigs, who had the audience in the palm of her hand. Her live set sounds almost identical to her recorded music, and was accompanied by the heavy use of a smoke machine, an eye catching outfit, and an unrivalled dance performance. Leaving the crowd waiting, Twigs saved ‘Two Weeks’ for near last. A failed attempt to catch Earl Sweatshirt followed, leading up to the truly legendary Nas, performing his first album and the truly legendary Hip Hop record, Illmatic. His performance ended a truly great weekend, and took several interesting spins, from a nostalgic Michael Jackson sampling to Nas revealing his own love for classical music and telling the crowd to listen to different genres.

Overall, Parklife is a well priced festival experience. The range of musical acts on offer was incredible, and for those local to Parklife it is completely ideal. However, the site was completely overcrowded from the moment I arrived to the moment I left. The ever prevalent bass throb was non stop and soul destroying. The number of unknown DJ’s there made me realise that perhaps there is a market for Zac Efron’s new EDM movie We Are Your Friends. The majority of festival goers were drunken bomber jacket clad cretins who think its a great idea to drink poppers, so basically not my type of people. But as Everything Everything so sadly put it, “it’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair old enough to run. Old enough to fire a gun”.

Until we meet again, Manchester.

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Head of Events for The Edge magazine. Keen concert goer and angry feminist. Shared recycled oxygen on a 12 hour flight with Foals.

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