Labrinth at Camp Bestival 2013 review

'A back-catalogue of hooks, styles and song lyrics'

Labrinth at Camp Bestival 2013 review

Photographer:Paul Kerr

John Bownas - 05 August 2013

His set unfolds into something that’s both urban enough to be credible for the kids and rock enough to be understood by the mums and dads. Indeed, his plundering of a wide back-catalogue of hooks, styles and song lyrics keeps you constantly playing a game of ‘spot the reference.’
There’s no points for twigging the full-on re-working of ‘Express Yourself’, or the wholesale lyrical lift  in ‘Sundown’ of the ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ line “…you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone” (set to a throbbing bassline). But tucked away there’s also more subtle moments such as The Cure’s 'Boys Don’t Cry' line in ‘Treatment’ and Queen’s famous clapping intro from ‘We Will Rock You' that launches ‘Earthquake'.
Timothy McKenzie (AKA Labrinth) does as he faithfully promised before the event and keeps with the family vibe by making sure that as the sun goes down and everyone prepares for the festival’s firework finale his language doesn’t even warrant a PG rating.

 Backed by a band who look like they double as his drivers or security team, McKenzie is dressed straight out of the pages of GQ.

In sunglasses, smartly fitted grey cardigan, slim grey trousers and a red tie he looks every bit the boy your parents would be happy for you to bring home.

Introduced to the stage by the disembodied voice of Stephen Hawking it can be no coincidence that the evening kicks off with ‘Last Time’. Its lyrical reference to ‘around the world’ – which has been the overall theme for this year’s festival – made it the obvious choice.

With only one studio album to his name Labrinth – unlike bands like Levellers who headlined last night and have over 20 years and scores of recordings to choose from – still has only a limited repertoire from which to build a set.

So this is basically an album playthrough of ‘Electronic Earth’ with the addition of the Tiny Tempah tracks ‘Frisky’ and ‘Pass Out’ – both of which featured McKenzie.

However it’s all solid stuff, and as Labrinth morphs from vocoder keyboard wizard to indie-guitar rocker he proves that he’s a versatile performer whose multi-skilled approach to music is what has earned him this well-deserved headline slot – a slot that he sincerely says is a pleasure that has left him "humbled".


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