Future Music Festival 2012 @ Doomben Racecourse

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6 Mar 2012, 8:56

Sat 3 Mar – Future Music Festival 2012

My contributions to the Rave review.

Faced with the grim task of drawing some of the otherwise Skrillex-directed crowd to Flamingo, Kiwi indie-electro sensations The Naked & Famous give it their best shot, sending squelchy synth noises and thwacking beats far and wide. Calling card Young Blood predictably goes off, however the five-piece are unfortunately plagued with equipment issues and spend precious allocated time sorting out the malfunctioning gear, losing plenty of vibe in the process.

Meanwhile Andy Butler’s groovy Hercules & Love Affair have a rare distinction of performing for the first time in their current line-up at the DFA Stage. With a multinational vocal troupe – a saucy American vamper, an English soul diva and a hyperactive Belgian who likewise turns out to be a mega-talented singer – up front, Butler and Shaun Wright cook up slinky New York nu-disco and Blue Songs-distilled piano house.

Well-known for their incendiary live act, Friendly Fires today appear to lack the energy of their glorious Splendour and Good Vibes’ performances – but only initially. Despite cutting a vertically challenged, puffy and pasty frontman figure, Ed Macfarlane pumps out an assortment of trademark (hilarious) moves, prowling the stage during the ‘80s-indebted Hurting. As ever percussion-friendly, the UK indie-dance combo duly take off on Paris, the finest moment coming in set closer Kiss Of Life.

Over at the heaving Las Venus, muscle-y Tinie Tempah reigns supreme over a herd of heavily perspiring dudebros. Grinning like a champ, the UK grime/pop megastar effectively fulfils the same objective as his compatriot Dizzee Rascal last year: keep the Top 40-leaning crowd enraptured and divert the more serious electronic music connoisseurs to the far-flung Likes Of You and DFA stages. As expected, mega-hits Pass Out and Written In The Stars summon a gigantic reaction.

If one were to pick an ultimate post-LCD Soundsystem “hipster-disco” outfit, New York’s Holy Ghost! would tick all requisite boxes. Aided by the check shirt-clad backing band and not in the slightest fazed by the dismal showing, Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel dial in copious amounts of cruise-y, funky electropop from the DFA Stage – peaking with Static On The Wire, It’s Not Over and the shuddering Do It Again.

Seasoned festival-slayers, New Yorkers The Rapture show the Flamingo gathering how to indie-dance and punk-funk, ably serving up the funkiest basslines and strident sax passages. Frontman Luke Jenner yelps like the young Robert Smith and attacks his Telecaster like Gang Of Four’s Andy Gill, the hip-shaking hits – Get Myself Into It, Whoo! Alright-Yeah… Uh Huh, House Of Jealous Lovers, Sail Away and the gloriously daft No Sex For Ben – coming thick.

Back at Flamingo, and evidently unscathed by their acrimonious split with iconic bass player Peter Hook, Manchester legends New Order (with original keyboardist Gillian Gilbert back in the fold) deliver a once-in-a-lifetime festival set. Each classic – Regret, Ceremony, Bizarre Love Triangle, True Faith, The Perfect Kiss, Temptation – prompts an impassioned sing-along. The skies open up during Blue Monday, turning the seminal song into a thoroughly English (albeit joyous) experience. We momentarily forgive Bernard Sumner for stuffing up the first verse of the closing Joy Division anthem Love Will Tear Us Apart … the timeless bassline of which still rings in our heads as we join the mud-splattered mass exiting the rain-sodden, somewhat smelly racetrack.

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