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Preview: Splendour 2011

14 July 11 words: Paul Klotschkow
illustrations: James Huyton

Splendour: A day-long chunk of festie goodness, without the massive mobile phone adverts. And tents left behind by gormless students that blow across a field and upset some cows. And being in a different postcode to the nearest decent bog. Our Music Editor marks your card for this year’s event… 

The Huge Band
It’s become obvious that Splendour can’t keep away from high camp pop music - as we’ve seen before with Rufus Wainwright and the Pet Shop Boys. This year, it falls to Kylie Minogue faves Scissor Sisters to turn Wollaton Park into a giant Studio 54 with a mix of nu-disco and glam pop that fizzes and froths with the energy of a thousand glitterballs.

The Undisputed Legends
Over 40 million albums sold. A catalogue of classic pop tunes. A band that broke out of the CBGB’s scene and left peers such as The Ramones, Talking Heads and Television choking in their dust, fronted by a genuine New Wave icon. Heart of Glass. Hanging On The Telephone. One Way Or Another. Dreaming. Atomic. Rapture. Blondie. Ooh.
 
The Young Upstart
Next on the main stage bill is youthful singer-songwriter bedraggled-Cockney-flower-girl Eliza Doolittle, whose singles Skinny Genes and Pack Up bothered the Top 40 last year whilst her self-titled debut album flew in to the album charts at number three. Her poppy mix of jazz and soul will go down a treat as the sun starts to set in the early evening.
 
The Dadrock Slot
Then we arrive at Cast. Remember them from the mid-90s when they released Walkaway, Sandstorm and Alright? Well, dust the picnic crumbs off your Ben Sherman, plonk one of your kids on your shoulder, and do that Ian Brown ‘Frankenstein that’s peed itsen’ dance whilst telling your offspring that this is ‘proper music’. Yes, the band whose live show Noel Gallagher described as a ‘religious experience’ are on that reformation bandwagon, and will be doing their best to ensure that the Splendour crowd have a real, ahem, Finetime.
 
The ‘Hang On, Is That…’ Bit
Justin Currie was the singer in Del Amitri, the Scottish band of Roll To Me and Nothing Ever Happens fame, but now he’s working solo, with a set-list containing both the hits of his old band and his current breezy acoustic rock fare. Before that, however, Sam Duckworth – who isn’t the son of Jack and Vera, but rather the artist formerly known as Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly – will be emptying a songbag full of charming leftfield acoustictronica songs.
 
The Opening Act on the Main Stage
Why, it's none other than the winners of the Future Sound of Nottingham 2011.
 
The Second Stagers
As is its wont, the Jagermeister Stage (as it’s known this year) is playing host to a cornucopia of indie rock mainstays and esoteric Notts delights. Feeder top the bill, and their everyman alt.rock is bound to get the crowd jumping up and down to the likes of Buck Rogers and Just A Day. Britpop veterans The Bluetones are on their last-ever tour, so this could be your final chance to hear indie disco staples Slight Return and If... live. Look out for huffing Dads pegging it across Wollo Park from the Cast set. Meanwhile, fresh from playing Dot to Dot, Romance head backto Notts. They look like they have stolen the Human League’s wardrobe circa 1982, and sound like The Bravery. Say no more.
 
Our Local Heroes
The second stage will host four local acts, showcasing local talent to a local audience - and they’re all from the very top drawer of locally-sourced musical produce. Indie-popsters Dog is Dead will be making their third appearance at Splendour and will still be celebrating the fact that they’ve just inked a deal with none other than the supremely massive Atlantic Records. That means this might be your last chance to see them before they start playing really big fields. Swimming will barely have time to take their pants down to the launderette after coming back from a UK tour supporting Killing Joke before they hit the stage and show why they’re causing more than a ripple on a national level. Combining the power of Smashing Pumpkins, the noise of My Bloody Valentine and the dream-pop of Sigor Ros, you would, quite simply, be a fool to miss them.
 
Handling the truly essential dance-like-a-mad-get portion of the day will be the NG’s very own funky groove machine, Royal Gala. With an abundance of soul, bass and massively infectious hooks, there is no other act on the bill who is as guaranteed to get a party started. But before that, Harleighblu - a young songstress with a remarkably smooth and velvety voice – will be easing you in gently with her magical take on smoky r’n’b and soul. She’s an exceptional talent: miss her and people will laugh at you.
 
The LeftLion Stage
Oh yes, yours truly will be handling things on the Courtyard Stage once again – and this time, we stomped our feet and screamed and rolled about on the floor until we got our own way and put even more Notts acts on. Look out for the likes of Jake Bugg (a seventeen year old singer-songwriter who mixes 50s country and 60s beat-pop to create heartfelt acoustic ditties), Gallery 47 (a folky wordsmith par excellence whose songs adiate charm like a box of chicken on the bus radiates stench), Cecille Grey (a folky French-pop-influenced band), The Petebox (fresh from drumming for Swimming, and up for demonstrating his award-winning beatbox skills).
 
Lob in a comedy tent, a real ale bar, entertainment for the really young ‘uns and the usual stalls selling food and gifts, and it’s safe to say that Splendour really has that one-day outdoor musical splurge honed down to a fine art. See you there.
 
Splendour Festival, Sunday 24 July, Wollaton Park .Tickets £10-£35, under-10s free.

 

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