Conrad Duncan in awe of Sharon Van Etten at the InstituteWritten by Conrad Duncan on 23rd January 2015
Lounge On The Farm
Wellies on, tent in hand and clutching on tight to a pack of tissues
Wellies on, tent in hand and clutching on tight to a pack of tissues. It could only really mean one thing. Festival season has hit us. The line-up of Lounge on the Farm, based down in Canterbury, wasn’t too shabby and hosted a range of entertainment for its muddy yet sunburnt clients. Yes, the weather was that ridiculous! From Emeli Sandé to The Wombats, Caspa to Bastille, Various Cruelties to The Staves…this little farm offered you everything. The best thing about festivals, I think, isn’t just the music, the atmosphere and the look of disgust as the punters pass by the portaloos. It’s also the vintage stalls, the colourful Cath Kidson campervan, drinking tea in a tipi, kids running around in frog costumes with tiger face paint and watching the sun close in on the tents before perching its bottom to form a beautiful sunset in the middle of Kent’s countryside.
The farmfolk tent was the perfect hangover cure with its pastel pink lighting and slow indie folk acoustics. Matthew and the Atlas, with songs such as 'Within the Rose' from his To The North EP, victoriously soothed away any remnants of regret from the night before. As the night approached, out burst the Kentish Town folk family band that is Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. Having opened for the likes of Coldplay and Jools Holland, it was no surprise that the banjos and harmonicas lifted everyone’s feet off the ground and sent us jiggling around the fields, bumping into hay bales in all the excitement. Bastille attracted a bigger crowd than most other artists there, and his face said it all. The beautiful front man and producer Dan Smith was beaming! They gained a lot of recognition with 'Laura Palmer', the opening song to Made in Chelsea; but that was just the starting point, a song that showed off their talent in the most nonchalant way. Slowly but surely they have become a loved London band and sound as good live as on a record, if not better.
Headlining the main stage on LOTF’s first night was the beautiful and intelligent Emeli Sandé. This girl has a set of lungs on her! She sounded out of this world and it was an absolutely faultless performance with her explaining the meaning behind each song before knocking us out with that voice box of hers. I would have loved an acoustic version of 'Next To Me' but it probably would have brought me close to tears. Sandé ended the night by incorporating in some Bob Marley so it’s pretty safe to say every little thing was more than alright.
Various Cruelties. Main stage on the Sunday, so it was a pretty good Sunday afternoon. Front man Liam O'Donnell looked slightly awkward which made me feel slightly awkward…but he had a great shirt and sounded great so who cares? Saving the best until last, they ended on 'Chemicals' from their self-titled debut album which was a big crowd pleaser and in response to Liam’s question of ‘We have eight minutes left, what to play?’ they had festival goers shouting ‘JUST PLAY CHEMICALS TWICE!’
Man Like Me are a band I have been raving about and following in a big way since 2010. Recently signed to their idol, Mike Skinner, they seem to be loving life. Every single performance sees theband squeezing every ounce out of energy from the song, themselves, the instruments and the crowd. And they gave LOTF no less. Johnny Langer is someone I can only describe as a young Freddie Mercury. Huge compliment I know. Maybe an exaggeration. Possibly a bias comment. But when you watch someone hanging off and swinging on fences, jumping onto and leaping off sound systems and generally oozing the same flamboyant craziness that Freddie once did then you’d say the same. Ade Omotayo, Amy Winehouse’s fellow bandmate, was sporting a traditional African suit and has a voice that makes it seem as though the heavens were opening and light was shining through despite the greyness of the weekend. I’m talking James Carr, Sam Cooke level. They are always so much fun and Saturday’s performance was no different. Jumping into the crowd to dance with clowns and defying security’s attempt to drag them down from the speakers is probably pretty standard for them now. Check out London Town, Oh My Gosh and Squeeze and make it down to the Electric Ballroom in Camden on October 3rd.
All in all, LOTF is a great little festival. Teeny, tiny but in a good way that allows it to be quite an intimate gig space depending how much of an eager beaver you are. I managed to hop, skip and jump to the front of every set I wanted to see. The Peaceful Progress tent, which was covered in art and organic home-made cakes, accommodated a cosy space to play Jenga and the Solar Cinema featured 2 minute long trippy films on repeat of finger puppets and cartoons swimming through the choppy sea. The only downside was that, and I regret to report this news but I feel I must…sadly, Charlotte Church dropped out last minute. I will leave you readers to decide how we feel about that!