While I’m sure it was thrilling to hear about bus journeys, how to top up a cashless wristband and the culinary delight that is a tin of meatballs, it’s time to move onto the main point of BBK Live: the music.
Having set up the tents and consumed a suitable amount of beer and vodka it was time to take the short bus ride to the festival site at around 7.30pm. In the interests of not waffling on too much (even I get bored of myself sometimes), I’m going to try and compress my thoughts on each act into a few short sentences. Here goes…
Temples – It’s easy to get confused by the plethora of indie bands that have come around in the last 10-15 years with scraggy hair looking like they’ve walked straight out of an NME photoshoot and Temples are no exception. A nicely surprising mixture of psych and indie blended into one who I’d definitely watch again.
Gaz Coombes – I’m not an expert by any stretch, but I like Supergrass enough to listen to them every now and again. I’m less familiar with lead singer Gaz Coombes’ solo stuff and could only name you a handful of songs off his last few albums, but he knows how to put on a live show backed by an good band. Quite mellow at times, but good for an early festival slot.
Childish Gambino – Apparently I’m in a minority here (many said he was their favourite of the weekend), but I can’t remember a single thing that stood out about this performance. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good – it just seemed to happen. He’s good at opening his eyes very wide, I’ll give him that. Not for me.
Parquet Courts – A band I’d been looking forward to for some time as their album ‘Wide Awake’ is one of my favourite of 2018 so far, and they didn’t disappoint. Nothing fancy about their set-up, and in fact the band themselves were setting up, sound checking and packing away their own gear before and after the show.
A bit punky, a bit Talking Heads-y; it’s shouty and rough around the edges – the perfect combination for a beer-fuelled (and no doubt countless other substances!) sweaty mosh pit. A highlight of the weekend, for sure.
Florence and the Machine – I caught the last 20 minutes of her set. Good voice, but not really my thing. No denying the talent though.
Bomba Estereo – Having done my usual thing of wandering off and losing everyone, I found myself at the Heineken stage. I was pretty drunk at this point but I’d heard a lot about Bomba Estereo and can see why they’re popular. The thought of Latin party music instantly makes me think of the dreaded reggaeton – thankfully these were nothing of the sort. Synths and heavy drum beats – not bad for 2am.
After calling it a night having wandered around aimlessly following Bomba Estereo and ‘accidentally’ cutting a 500-deep queue for the bus back to the campsite, I woke up a little worse for wear on the second day. Thankfully, a day of sun and relaxation (read: drinking more warm beer) got me back in the mood by the time the music started again. A few renditions of ‘Southgate you’re the one’ on the bus to the site also helped.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard – We weren’t really paying attention to these, but the mad name, psychedelic sound and two drum kit set-up was quite impressive. I’m probably not doing them justice at all here.
Fat White Family – Another great name, I’d heard their live show was worth a watch. Unfortunately the sound was really poor and it was hard to hear anything the lead singer put out. Wouldn’t mind seeing them at their own gig, as their records are quite good.
The XX – On stage half an hour late and when they did come on I was bored to tears. I’m sure they’re alright in a smaller setting, but a headline slot on a Friday night at a festival? No thank you. We ended up leaving well before the end, and what a decision that was because…
David Byrne – The highlight of the festival, without a shadow of a doubt. I have to admit to only knowing the very famous Talking Heads songs (This Must Be the Place and Once in a Lifetime) and even forgot about Burning Down the House! As soon as the stage was set up simply with a table, chair and a replica brain we knew we were in for something special.
As the show went on the rest of the band took to the stage carrying their instruments (even the drums!) and performed a bizarrely wonderful completely choreographed show with a setlist made up of solo stuff and classics. It’s hard to describe the show in words so do yourself a favour – if you get the chance to see him live, take it with both hands.
The Chemical Brothers – Anything that followed David Byrne wasn’t going to live up to the high standards he set, but as far as button pressing goes, The Chemical Brothers did it pretty well. Not much else to say, really.
With festival fatigue kicking in it was time to muster up the strength to do one more night of watching good live music. It’s a tough life.
Benjamin Clementine – A good voice and decent performer, although I was too engrossed in my chicken wrap and cheesy nachos to fully focus. I did notice he had a load of naked mannequins on stage though. Each to their own.
James – One I was really looking forward to and was ultimately a little disappointed. The band were tight, and Tim Booth is an excellent frontman, but it was very clear they were promoting a new album and left out some absolute classics like Sit Down and She’s a Star. It must be tiring playing the same songs year after year, but you’d imagine at a festival you’d play a few more singalongs. That said, Getting Away With It (All Messed Up) was a real highlight of the weekend – what a tune.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel just never disappoints. Having not seen him tour his latest album (one of my favourites of 2017) it was great to hear tunes like Holy Mountain and It’s a Beautiful World live, as well as a few old Oasis classics. Ending with a cover of All You Need is Love was a nice touch too.
Jungle – I must have been drunker than I thought at the time, because I barely remember a thing of this set. They were good though, I remember that much.
Gorillaz – Similar to Childish Gambino, a lot of people rated Gorillaz but I found them a little forgettable. That said, I was half asleep and fairly drunk, which may have played a part in it.
I called it a night after Gorillaz and, having seen the massive queue for the bus again, I braved the half-hour uphill walk back to the campsite. I didn’t fancy my chances of cutting the queue again without getting a smack. A knackering end to a great weekend and I passed out in my
sauna tent within seconds. Roll on 2019!