Gig/Concert: Hop Farm Festival
Venue: The Hop Farm, Kent, England
Date: 4-5 July 2009
Headiners: The Fratellis and Paul Weller
In One Word: Positive
Day Two, Sunday – (click here for Saturday’s action)
I arrived on site to the sound of That Petrol Emotion, but only managed to catch the last song of their set due to staying up all night dreaming about what the next day would bring.
Vastly underrated London band The Rifles took to the Main Stage and drew a large crowd even though they were playing an early afternoon slot. The band played a blistering set, opening with fan-favourite ‘The General’, which is supposedly written about former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. The band tore through tracks from their two fantastic albums including ‘She’s Got Standards’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Local Boy’.
I had seen Sergeant support The View at their latest show in London before the festival and thought they were excellent, so I was thrilled to have the chance to see them by themselves on the tiny Third Stage. I had wasted an opportunity to shoot the band as I stayed for most of Ladyhawke’s set which seemed a somewhat uninspiring performance from the New Zealand singer/songwriter as she and the audience looked increasingly frustrated with the sound.
Next I saw London band Mystery Jets. I had seen the ‘Jets twice before and thought highly of their performances, but unfortunately, I only caught ‘Half In Love With Elizabeth’, set opener ‘Hideaway’ and 80’s throwback ‘Two Doors Down’ before I was called away to do an interview with The Rifles [which is coming very soon – check back later for a link] but from what I saw they were very good, but I think they would have been even better on the smaller stage.
Manchester band Doves pulled the biggest crowd of the weekend, kicking off with ‘Jetstream’ and ran through tracks such as Northern Soul-based ‘Black And White Town’, ‘Kingdom Of Rust’ and a samba version of ‘There Goes The Fear’, but it was the band’s gripe with Hellman’s Mayonnaise that was perhaps the most memorable moment…
“I was reading the papers over the weekend,” mused singer Jimi Goodwin, “and I came across this Hellman’s Mayonnaise advert. It looks like they’ve taken it from our backdrop. Have a look and see if we can sue them. Boycott Hellman’s Mayonnaise!”
You heard it here, first!
After following the flow of the mainstream yesterday I was told that I had to check out Dananananaykroyd (thats a cross between Blues Brothers actor Dan Aykroyd and the Batman theme tune!) on the tiny Third Stage purely because of their extremely lively performances, and in fact they’re not just lively, they are insanely lively. The band started with ‘Hey Everyone!’ which is just a surge of very, very loud guitars and drums. Throughout the raucous set frontman Calum Gunn repeatedly threw himself into the audience (and almost knocking me out with his size 10’s several times) and caused chaos for security who, once they had fished him out, he was straight back in again. Although, he was not alone, the guitarists weren’t shy either!
“I think we just blew our amp up!” giggled guitarist Duncan Robertson; whilst the amp was being replaced, the band organised ‘The Wall of Cuddles’ for the audience which involves forming two lines and then running into each other and cuddling, another activity that took place in the tent was ‘Name That Tune’ where the band launched into the beginning of TV theme tunes and inviting the audience to guess what they were. Drummer / singer John Ballie Junior applauded the audience for this and said that ‘they haven’t done it for ages and it was the best one he’d seen.’
The Rumble Strips’ music is something totally different to anything at the festival. They have all the basics : a singer, a bass player and a drummer, plus saxophone player and a trumpet player. Not your usual indie is it? The band kicked off with ‘Girls and Boys in Love’ which saw frontman Charlie Waller, who probably enjoyed the festivities a bit too much and forgot he was due on stage, do some peculiar things, such as run up to the barrier to announce the band had come on stage. Drunk or not, the band pulled off a stunning performance playing most material from their debut album ‘Girls and Weather’ and a few tracks from their new album ‘Welcome To The Walk Alone’. The usual tracks from the bands past sets returned such as ‘Alarm Clock’ and ‘Time’.
I had been looking forward to Paul Weller’s set ever since I got the green light to cover the festival. Every day at school it would be
“I’m shooting Paul Weller at The Hop Farm Festival on the 5th July!!” which eventually ended in only six photographers from major newspapers/agencies being granted access to the pit. Major bummer, but nevertheless, photographers who were not picked ‘protested’ by taking photos from the crowd anyway. From what I thought, his set was pretty standard for someone my age, but maybe more enjoyable for a person who had seen The Jam or The Style Council in their heyday. The biggest cheers aroused when Jam classic ‘The Eton Rifles’ and The Style Council ‘Shout To the Top’ were played. The former Jam / Style Council frontman then went and sat behind a keyboard before performing a beautiful ‘You Do Something To Me’ but to my disappointment there was no ‘Broken Stones’ and after the tone had been brought right down, it shot back up again with a fantastic solo song ‘From The Floorboards Up’.
Earlier in the day, whilst walking back from seeing Dananananaykroyd, a game of ‘celebrity’ (as in Big Brother standard celebrities) 5-a-side football was taking place and the commentator had said a ‘very special guest’ would be joining Mr. Weller on stage. Who could it be? Speculation mounted as recent collaborations that he had been involved with had been with Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher on solo single ‘Echoes Around The Sun’ and The Who legend Roger Daltrey who performed with him at some of his UK shows. Bets were down and I had opted for Gallagher. Though I was wrong, it was very exciting when Daltrey came on after the first encore to do Who classic ‘Magic Bus’ and then, to end ‘Town Called Malice’.
Overall, it was a fantastic weekend of music and music lovers. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, the weather was fantastic and it was overall a very positive atmosphere. I can only hope that next years’ Hop Farm Festival will be even better!
© Lauren Towner, Music Vice