The first thing that greets us at the festival is a WELCOME sign in Neapolitan Ice-cream colours approximately 5 feet high and make up the Summer Sundae logo and this just the first sign of how welcome the festival will make us feel over the three days that we are here.
The second pointer how how welcoming they are is that they have co-ordinatd their wristbands to match my outfit, but then you have to be utterly impressed by any Festival that has leopard print wristbands – regardless of whether they go with your outfit or not!
A first look around the festival is promising too, everything is well laid out and easy to find because it is well signposted, which is essential when running between bands to get to the next appearance.
First band we catch at the festival are Norways very own Datarock, who are resplendent in their matching red tracksuits and seem to see it as their task to wake the festival up both visually and aurally. The beats are hard and the guitars are funky and they are determined to get the crowd up and dancing and the crowd duly oblige.
After thundering through their first song ‘Life is a Musical’ they introduce ‘Kevin from the Happy Mondays’ (this turns out to be almost accurate it is infact Leicester music man Kevin Hewick who was well known around Factory records and the Hacienda) and a funky mondays-esque riff is evident in the song and the crowd are lapping it up. The banter with the crowd is reminiscent of fellow Scandinavians The Hives – just what is it that they put in the water over there? –
Then as the singer and drummer swap places and the drummer starts to introduce the band a girl from the audience shouts “You have my name tattooed on your chest” to which he immediately states that he’s been waiting his whole life to find the person that his tattoo is connected to. his sincerity is to be applauded. (I’m not sure if the girl said her name was Eva or Eric…..I’d like to think it was the latter). They introduce us to the countdown clock which is positioned onstage to let the bands know how much time they have left. The band ponder if the stage will get blown up if they disobey and stay along for longer than allowed. They finish off their set, way after time and not blown up with a dedication to the audience “we are Datarock and we love you” they sing before dissappearing quickly as they came.
Just as the tempo had been speeded up it is slowed right down again for the arrival of Ghostpoet, the alter ego of Obaro Ejimiwe and Mercury prize nominee in 2011. The songs have hypnotic rhythmic words over a contemporary beat…the lyrics of “I ain’t been paid and I ain’t got a lot” from ‘Us Against Whatever‘ from his ‘Peanut Butter Blues and Meloncholy Jam’ album surely resonating with plenty of people in the audience who could echo his feelings of despair and desperation.
Although far more downbeat than the energetic set that Datarock had sent out way this chilled out set is drawing a large crowd and he treats us to further singles from the album , ”Liiines’ and ‘Cash and Carry me Home’ are both greeted with warm admiration and even the security guards down the front are getting into it and nodding their heads as if to give their seal of approval. Ghostpoet, I think you could call that a success.
Patrick Wolf fans are on the whole an easy bunch to spot. He has a large fan base with a lot of young followers who all try to emulate his style and persona. You know his arrival is imminent just by the amount of mini-Patricks that are suddenly floating about and first song ‘Wind in the Wire’ gets all them all in a frenzy and his achingly melancholic vocals pour into the air like honey.
“Are you as hot as I am?” he enquiries resulting in screams from the crowd indicating that they have intentionally taking this comment the total opposite way to which it was intended, or maybe not…which ever way flirtatious Patrick doesn’t seem to mind the attention.
A giant disc ball lights up the room and seems to throw a gliterry magic with it. Patrick does not seem to have aged a day and it’s years since I last saw him. I’m pondering that he must have a portrait in the loft somewhere and his Victorian Schoolboy attire does nothing to detract from my notion. He then moves the harp out of his view stating, “I’m disturbed when I can’t see all of the crowd” and it doesn’t even seem a little bit weird that a pop star in 2012 has a harp on the stage. But then this is Patrick so basically anything goes.
He then plays a song called ‘Together’ telling the crowd that if the instruments go wrong it’s their fault for being radiant as the heat has an adverse affect on the instruments. After two false starts the heartbreaking raw emotions of the lyrics have the crowd transfixed. He ends his set dedicating it to the jailed members of ‘Pussy Riot‘ and leaves the stage promising to return to Summer Sundae as a hologram in 2080.
With that the first day of Summer Sundae for us is done and dusted and the good thing abut it being so close is that I can commute every day and not have to resort to camping. I will return refreshed after a decent nights sleep in a comfy bed ready for day two……