B.A.D kick off Beautiful Days 2011

Big Audio Dynamite took to the stage at Beautiful Days 2011 like heroes returned but fail to ignite the crowd until the last.

Like the Clash before them, Big Audio Dynamite inhabit a sonic world where influences are worn like medals. Punk, dub, electronica, garage and funk are all in there somewhere regardless of the setlist.

A massive band in the 1980s, they remain somewhat underrated considering their pedigree and achievements and as they come out onto the stage there was a palpable ‘Who?’ from the 15,000 strong crowd that gathered on the hill – it could be an age thing.

Flexing their eclectic audio muscles through a number of early songs, the band were doing their best to light the blue touch-paper of the festival, but somehow it wasn’t quite working.

Mid-set there was a feeling that the obvious quality of the music was not being reciprocated by the crowd. As with most bands, there was one defining song, a track that stands out against all the others. For B.A.D, that song was ‘E=MC2’ and it comes in at the end.

It was too late to excite the crowd, but the song is so good that it matters not – everyone was on their feet – Beautiful Days 2011 had begun.

Ruth and Callum from nearby Ottery St Mary sum up the evident mood: “great to see Mick Jones. Wish they’d played that earlier, it would have got people going sooner,” said Callum.

Festival performances are a two-way thing and the audience, for one reason or another, seemed lacklustre and content to shuffle from one foot to the other instead of jumping around.

By Jon Wright.