Parklife 2012 - Review
'A well-conceived line-up with plenty of urban sensibilities'
Michelle Corbett - 11 June 2012
The stage was set for Chic feat. Nile Rogers and De
La Soul to show the young pretenders exactly how it’s done, but thanks to a combination of dodgy sound
quality; a largely 18-30 audience and a certain little ‘Rascal’ the must-sees became yesterday’s chip-paper
at Parklife 2012.
‘Alternative’ Saturday met and yielded to ‘Urban’ Sunday – with the latter’s line-up winning out over the course of two mud-soaked musical marathons in Manchester’s Platt Fields Park.
Actual Mancunians were thin on the ground with most people heralding from The Home Counties and further south. This was a festival to be seen at rather than heard in some respects - a fashion parade for beautiful faces and bodies of both sexes… Hunter Wellingtons and cut-off denim shorts for the girls and plenty of male cleavage from the boys in their All Saints attire and acid-bright sunnies.
That’s not to say there wasn’t musical quality on offer. How could that be the case with the Flaming Lips (8/10) headlining on Saturday night? Wayne Coyne set a healthy yardstick for Dizzee – distilling 30 years of genius into a visual and aural assault featuring - among many choice cuts – ‘Race For The Prize’.
Johnny Marr joined Chic (5/10) on stage – an ill-kept secret that almost remained so thanks to the woeful sound quality. I’d liken it to being stood outside a nightclub while the world’s best disco takes place inside. You get a feel for it. but the glitter-ball is spinning just out of your reach. We and the band were criminally short-changed as they delivered killer classics like ‘Le Freak’, ‘Good Times’, ‘Upside Down’ and ‘I’m Coming Out’.
De La Soul (6/10) – already 20 minutes late on stage - had sound problems of another kind… irritating and intermittent cuts that left them and us frustrated. Was the lack of ‘The Magic Number’ and ‘Eye Know’ a punishment? They were certainly displeased with the bottle-throwers and camera snappers. At least we salvaged ‘Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)' with its ‘Hey, how you doin’’ refrain from the chaotic melee.
Main Stage aside, it was The Now Wave Tent that offered some of the juiciest titbits of the weekend – packing the crowds in for Alt-J (7/10), Django Django (7.5/10) and Ghostpoet (7/10).
Oklahoma outfit Other Lives (7/10) won new fans with their psychedelic mantra-esque beats and quirkily
memorable style of delivery. A mouth organ; cello; trumpet; xylophone; kettle drum… the suite of instruments available
to their neo-hippy fingertips was astonishing. They’re a five-piece outfit doing the job of an entire orchestra –
worth a watch on that basis alone.
From our side of the pond Noah & The Whale (7/10) did their English indie folkster thing to perfection - turning in a workman-like 12 song-strong set that closed magnificently with ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N’.
At just £64.95 for a Weekender ticket, this was a bargainous festival – worth that money alone for Dizzee Rascal. This was a well-conceived line-up with plenty of urban sensibilities for cool hipsters with a taste for hot acts in search of a ‘scene’ to hang out at... an ‘Outdoor Studio 54 for the Noughties’.
Click here for our full Parklife 2012 coverage.
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