Confidence is a preference for the habitual festival goer of what is known as Parklife. Drifting in through the gates of Heaton Park amongst the droves of laddish, sunburnt, beer-swilling, bum-baring guys and gals of Manchester, I had my trepidations about what I was about the witness. Put simply, it felt initially like being dropped in an episode of Geordie Shore – pure sluttily dressed carnage. I’m not really sure when it became socially acceptable to wander round in a pinafore dress with nothing, not even a bra underneath, but I’m guessing it must be the latest trend, because I spotted several of these brave girls before I even got inside. But I digress. Let’s talk about the music shall we?
|Delphic by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
First up on the mainstage were Manchester’s very own Delphic. Having seen an reviewed them several times before, I’ve always found them a very agreeable and accomplished live act, a perfect happy medium at a festival like Parklife, that flits between indie and dance. They way they segue each song into the next, almost like DJ’s, they are impeccably well rehearsed and draw some synchronized fist pumping with hit single Doubt’s jittery intro.
|The Temper Trap by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
|Rudimental by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
|Jessie Ware by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
|The Maccabees by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
There was only ever one band who would define Parklife. Even on the train from Huddersfield to Manchester, one chant was being hummed along the carriages, one lyric audible throughout the hoards trying to get through the opening gates. ‘When a fire starts to burn, bright…’
|Disclosure by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
Whilst the music they make its necessarily the most captivating to watch live, the music does all the talking. Quirky visuals flicker on a screen behind the duo, and refreshingly for an act of this nature, they play all of their own instruments, even doing a little singing here and there. They’re clearly nervous to begin with, but steadily, there are more ‘how you doing Manchester?’s, more ‘let’s go’s’ and finally, just a huge ‘Parklife!’ as they hit their stride with Stimulation. Jessie Ware beams at the side of the stage like a proud mother, before legging it out for a run through of Disclosure’s remix of her single Running, and gladly a high octane version of Confess To Me, the next single from Settle if Disclosure have any sense. One album deep, it already runs like an arena show. Parklife, consider yourself well and truly burnt.
|King Krule by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
weather. Similarly muggy are the deep tones of King Krule, which ring out across the field before you even reach his stage.With far less technical hitches that his set at Live At Leeds, a rare outing of Portrait in Black and Blue gets one boy pogoing, and several more whipping out their camera phones to catch his unique blend of trip hop and light dubstep on vine. As always it is Baby Blue that is the biggest triumph, hopefully setting the precedent for what could be a very interesting and oddly sensitive record.
|Iggy Azalea by Kevin Lawson (editradio.org)|
Despite her cartoonishly sexualised appearance, it is an audience of 98% girls who grind along to the dulcet tones of a song about 'twerking', closely followed by one about 'pussy'. It’s ridiculousness almost verges on feminism just be reclaiming misogynistic terms, but making your hype squad of black and mixed race girls shake their asses for a living seems a little too desperate and over-orchestrated. Politics aside, she clearly possesses a strong rap ability and a do-or-die attitude, as presented in her biggest single Work, which gets more than few audience members proclaiming that they too are ‘working on their shit.’ An intelligent businesswoman no doubt, but perhaps Iggy could use her skills for better.
Unfortunately just as thinks are getting interesting, a schedule of bad train times forces us to flee for the exit, missing sets from Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Everything Everything, Rita Ora and Example. Not impressed. But nonetheless for £70.00, the Parklife weekender is more than value for money, which might explain it’s popularity. I’m not sure of the actual attendance figures, but Heaton park was rammed throughout the weekend, sometimes uncomfortably so. Perhaps a site expansion or a downsize of tickets is the sensible thing to secure its future.