Mark Ronson remembers Amy at Camp Bestival
Singer plays emotional show after friend and collaborator's passing
John Bownas - 31 July 2011
A Mark Ronson show is like a festival in miniature, as musical styles are swapped, stage personnel change
at lightening speed and there's hardly time to catch your breath before it's time to move on.
Tonight the Business Intl. team deliver the goods in red, white and silver style, and Ronson himself exudes confidence, charm and charisma - as well as frenetic energy - as he switches from guitar to keyboards to electronic percussion and on to mixing decks.
Not surprisingly perhaps, this Camp Bestival set is a bit of a running eulogy to Amy Winehouse, and as a result we are treated to two versions of 'Valerie', with the song's writer, The Zuton's Dave Mccabe, taking centre stage both times.
But although he admits that it's been "a shitty week for any one who loved her," there's nothing maudlin about the way that Ronson remembers Amy. He commands the crowd to celebrate her life rather than commiserate her passing. And this certainly does feel like a celebration, with Ronson remarking several times that apart from some mad Polish crowds this field full of young families is the best audience he's played to.
The pace of tonight's set is truly frantic, and Ronson sets the tempo perfectly as he mounts the tallest of the stage's multi-tiered risers to beat time on 'Oh My God' with Rose Elinor Dougal on vocals. Despite his uber-suave image he isn't ashamed of letting his highly styled hair down to deliver a passable impersonation of Animal from the Muppets band!
This is followed by the funky guitar riffs of 'Just' and a great version of 'California', both featuring Phantom Planet's Alex Greenwald.
Retreating to his roots as a hip hop DJ in NYC, Ronson clears the rest of the band from the stage so that he can spin some old-skool tunes - and he speeds it "up to the rave," sending waves of pleasure through the crowd, who cheer uproariously as he tells them that he now loves them more than he did two minutes ago.
Finally it's time for the heavy synths of 'Bang, Bang, Bang' with MNDR, 'Back to Black' with Charlie Waller from The Rumble Strips, the second outing of 'Valerie' and a mini encore that is just a reprise of Ronson's favorite twenty seconds of crowd reaction from the night. "That was just what I imagined when I wrote that part" grins the maestro as he leaves the stage triumphant!