Jamiroquai, Mr. Scruff, The Bees, Jamie Lidell, The Longcut, Battle, Hot Chip, Little Barrie, White Rose Movement, Cut Copy, Jim Noir, Larrikin Love, Guillemots, The Rumble Strips, Milk Kan, Gogol Bordello, and FlipronEdit this event
- Victoria Park, Poplar »
- Groove Armada »
- Gogol Bordello »
- Milk Kan »
- The Rumble Strips »
- Guillemots »
- Larrikin Love »
- Jim Noir »
- Cut Copy »
- White Rose Movement »
- Little Barrie »
- Hot Chip »
- Battle »
- The Longcut »
- Jamie Lidell »
- The Bees »
- Mr. Scruff »
- Jamiroquai »
- Flipron »
This summer I had planned on staging my own festival. I was going to find the remotest corner of these isles – Orkney perhaps, or a quiet corner of the Lakes, or Bono’s soul – set up a tent and a half-mile perimeter fence, give it some lame name (preferable ending in Fest) and charge people £150 per day to enter. Welcome to Cuntfest 2006, I’d say, the festival that replicates the solitary nature of camping in the British countryside away from all those fucking festivals.
You can’t move for them this summer. But at least mine would be different. No music. Not wacky hats. No bongos. Drinks are provided by the stream. Food is there on the fell-side waiting to be caught. Now leave me alone.
It didn’t work out. I keep finding myself at festivals like this one – one of the upwardly-mobile, heavily-marketed ones. Branded, billboarded, sponsored and dropped like a sweaty indie fretblanket into the heart of Hackney. (“Grab a Volvic and feel the volcanicity!” screams the ad. I grab two. Someone grabs £4 from me. I guess volcanicity feel a lot like anger and humiliation.)
So in the true spirit of festivals, I turn up a little late (OK, a day late), smuggle drugs in a bra (not mine), miss most of the bands, eat a corn on the cob and, despite my cynicism, have a damn good time. Because festivals are about the experience. And though Hoxton/East London vibes permeate throughout the Lovebox Weekender, they’re positive, peaceful ones so one can relax safe in the knowledge that the worst trouble you could possibly face today is grief from one of the multitudinous straw-hatted Johnny Borrell wannabes. And how hard can it be to fight one of them? Answer: piss easy, I imagine.
As it happens most of the big bands on today are gash anyway: bands like The Bees *(who cares?) and *The Feeling *(music for thirty-something wankers who should know better). Yesterday it was all about Groove Armada* (music for yuppies) and Hot Chip (yuppie music). *Jimmy Cliff *however, rules. He played Ivan in The Harder The Come. He’s cooler than any of us will ever be.
Apart from, perhaps, Eugene Hutz from* Gogol Bordello*, currently the best live band on the planet. No matter that the sound is ropey – this be could 1406, 1846 or 2006 for all anyone cares in a tent that is appropriately decorated like a twisted circus big-top and is rocking to a new rhythm. Electricity merely feels like a bonus in a set that is pure timeless hedonistic, dirty-stomping gypsy celebration. '60 Revolutions', ‘Start Wearing Purple’, ‘Immigrant Punk’ – it’s like The Clash or The Pogues, but with an added sense of wanton abandonment and a Pollock-sized splash of much-needed colour.
Speaking of which, for the second time in a week, DiS is getting down with Dead Kids’ perversely thrilling electro-rave-punk amalgamation. Like Rudolph Nureyev trapped in the body of Amir Khan, frontman Mike Title swirls and shakes, bobs and weaves, rips a grass skirt off a stunned onlooker and attempts to wear all the audiences’ hats at once. Special. On before them, though,* Cazals* prove themselves to be bandwagon jumpers of the highest order. Twenty-four hours later I recall their haircuts, but no songs.
Have you seen Stevie Wonder’s wife? Jay Kay has. He probably humped her while pilfering through Stevie’s ‘good ideas’ drawer while Stevie was sleeping. So yeah, what can be said about today’s headliner Jamiroquai that hasn’t already been encapsulated by the word ‘cunt’? Nothing, that’s what. To attempt to review the Jamiroquai experience is to enter into the realm of the repetitive and the tawdry. You lower yourself. "Cunt", you find yourself scribbling into your pad. "Cunt, cunt, cunt-titty-cunt". He plays that_ ‘Space Cowboy’_ song but we’re too busy discussing which would be a better vantage point for a headshot: the grassy knoll on which we’re sitting, or the rooftop of the adjacent tower block? (I opt for the knoll – better tree cover).
Actually, I’d like to see Jay Kay go the whole hog by blacking-up and speaking in an exaggerated hepcat patois. Change his name to Malcolm Ex or some shit. Only then might he claw back a shred of credibility, though on reflection it’s possibly not the best tactic. Still, it would certainly be interesting. Maybe if Jay Kay did that we might even let him play Cuntfest.
The day ends, as all days should, by sipping a cup of Earl Grey and watching a papier mache puppet show called something like 'Tommy From Space'.
He’s going to be big, yo.
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