Beach Break Live 2011 review
'BBL need not wait for its results - it's passed with flying colours'
Chris Eustace on 20 June 2011
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Rain may have lashed the first day of Beach Break Live 2011, but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 20,000-strong student crowd, with hideaways such as the excellently eclectic Chai Wallah's and the Bollocks To Poverty tent, which saw the entire room join hands for a spin of ‘Hey Jude’, to shelter in.
When the sun did come out on Saturday and Sunday, it was the cue for the bizarre Celtic Games, featuring water-sliding Human Curling, and the beach itself to come to life with sports, workshops, and the opportunity to relax in style.
The main stage saw Maverick Sabre (7/10) take the baton from Plan B on Friday and run with it, while if Cheryl Cole was actually good, you’d get Yasmin (7/10), and as Ed Sheeran (8/10) celebrated a Top Three hit, an extended ‘The A Team’ felt like a victory lap rather than self-indulgence.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’ (8/10) encourage everybody to “dance like Cossacks”, and Sabre returned to duet on ‘In The Air’ and ‘Jungle’ with Professor Green (7/10), who gets hands in the air for a cheeky ‘Just Be Good To Green’.
Zane Lowe (8/10) slayed Merlin’s Forest with a brutal DJ set, but Friday was owned by Tinie Tempah (9/10). Bursting to the front for ‘Wonderman’, and finishing on the titanic trio of ‘Written In The Stars’, ‘Frisky’ and ‘Pass Out’, his festival headlining first is unlikely to be his last.
Frankie and the Heartstrings (8/10), inspire sing-alongs to ‘That Postcard’ and ‘Hunger’ as Saturday gets moving, and while Ash Grunwald (6.5/10) may resemble a dreadlocked Russell Brand, his distorted blues storytelling schtick was more Seasick Steve.
Beardyman (8/10) beatboxed his way through ‘Can I Kick It?’ and ‘7 Nation Army’, even improvising a song around the word “Boobs” as the video screen flashing started up.
We Are Scientists (7/10) get a big reaction with ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘It’s A Hit’ though Keith Murray and Chris Cain’s stage banter makes you wonder when they’re getting their own TV show.
It’s Example (8/10) who gets the biggest crowd of the day, with the energy infectious on both sides. When he deploys ‘Kickstarts’ and ‘Changed The Way You Kiss Me’, the mayhem is such that you wonder whether he should have been headlining.
That duty falls to White Lies (7/10), though starting with four singles in a row means they dispatch most of their well-known songs early on, and the crowd noticeably thins out. An impressive set, but they’ll need to work on the pacing in future. Sub Focus (8/10) then kept the bass addicts happy with a blistering set in the tent.
Sunday started with The Chapman Family (8/10), the likes of ‘Kids’ blowing the hangovers away. Rodney Brannigan (6.5/10) played two guitars at once, while Florrie (6.5/10) crossed Girls Aloud with Franz Ferdinand.
The Milk (8/10) got everyone up and dancing, with ‘Chip The Kids’ particularly impressive, and Jamie Woon (7/10) kept things going with a shimmying ‘Lady Luck’.
Newton Faulkner's laid-back, if a little MOR, anthems went down well (6/10), while Katy B (8/10) divided the audience up for a Boys Vs Girls stand-off during ‘Easy Please Me’. As ‘Katy On A Mission’ segues into a cover of The Street’s ‘Blinded By The Lights’, the main stage resembles a crowded, outdoor club.
Perfect then, for Magnetic Man (8/10). Taking no prisoners with a furious ‘Fire’, ‘I Need Air’ has security at the front working overtime to fish people out of the melee.
While the spirit of the crowd meant that the festival shone even through the hailstorms, once the sun came out, it was positively idyllic, and with a bill as “now” as it’s possible to get, Beach Break Live doesn’t need to wait any longer for its results – it passed with flying colours.