Happy Mondays round off a Sunday Camp Bestival Holiday

Camp Bestiva1 2012 review

published: Wed 1st Aug 2012

Happy Mondays

Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th July 2012
Lulworth Castle, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
weekend camping £175 - SOLD OUT, day tickets available
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 24th Jul 2012

around the festival site (2)
Weary campers are greeted by another hot morning at Camp Bestival, and the day's treats begin with the Indian Circus in the Kids Field. The usual circus trickery gets taken to a whole other level as performers shuffle over tightropes carrying stacks of six pots on their heads or spin like helicopters on their stomachs atop ten-foot bamboo poles, all with a smile. Brilliant and energising.

The Castle Field plays host to the stunning Ren Harvieu, whose country and blues tendencies lull the gathered into a blissful tranquillity. 'Through the Night' has an early Chrissie Hynde tendency, while 'For You' leans toward the gospel with its domineering organ riffs.

Ren Harvieu
Seductive and yearning, 'Train Song' is a particular highlight, though the lack of Karen Elson to enrich the vocal is a loss. Following a wonderfully languid cover of the Beatles' 'Something', Harvieu closes with the crowd-pleasing 'Open Up Your Arms', a sweeping lament that gives air to her building vocal and sets a high standard for the afternoon.

Little Roy brings a rock steady touch to the line-up, giving a rendition of 'Bongo Nyah' in his trademark reggae style, moving later into his curious cover of 'Lithium' from the 'Battle for Seattle' Nirvana covers album.

Lianne La Havas
His set is suitably sunny and a warm introduction to current golden girl Lianne La Havas, whose sultry tones have set her up to be the new Norah Jones, beloved by the Guardian-reading crowd. 'They Could Be Wrong' and 'No Room for Doubt' trip along effortlessly as La Havas' jazzy tones belie the lyrical edge of cheeky little numbers such as 'Age' and the stern 'Forget'. The (uncredited) cover of Scott Matthews' 'Elusive' gives light to an underplayed and lyrically beautiful song leading into the piano-heavy 'Lost and Found', which is well received.

Continually charming and bantering with the crowd, she drops the light picking of her guitar for the fuller sound of title track 'Is Your Love Big Enough?', which has a touch of the Cuban beat about it, and has the crowd singing to its catchy chorus. A confident and seasoned performer with enough edge to avoid the sickly.

Rolf Harris
Drawing the largest crowd of the festival by far, Rolf Harris tops off the afternoon fun with a set so nostalgic it brings a tear to the eye of many of the gathered masses. As youthful looking as ever, Harris trundles through 'Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport' and 'Jimmy My Boy'(featuring guest digeridoo), all the while filling us in on the history of the instruments and stories within the songs, quipping about the weather and having a grumble of two.

'Irish Rover' rouses the crowd into an impressive sing song and 'Iko Iko' even features beatboxing, much to Harris' joy it seems. 'Sunrise' is built steadily into an epic orchestral feat of didg and guitar, and his levels of patter would be dull and unacceptable from other performers but is totally fine in this case, such is the love of Rolf and his wobble board.

'Waltzing Matilda' gives way to the tear-jerking 'Two Little Boys', after which he takes a break to publicly excuse the interruption of his Queen's Jubilee performance by Lenny Henry (it was due to a warm-up of Stevie Wonder's set overrunning) and have a dig at the Queen herself – winningly belligerent in his old age. The inevitable 'Stairway to Heaven' features and shows that while Harris' voice may have depleted slightly, his vim and vigour have not.

A regular feature of the Bestval events and fresh from tour, Scroobius Pip brings his bold new sound to the early-evening slot. Creating an unbelievable level of sound with just the guitar and drums, Pip's set crashes in with 'Introduction' and 'Domestic Silence', the front row hanging off his every word and a rowdy band of followers swelling to a mosh pit as he takes his mic out into the crowd, never missing a beat, and whips the cameraphone-wielding collective into a frenzy.
Scroobius Pip
'Death of a Journalist' airs Pip's animosity towards (some) reporters and bloggers, but also his own lack of subtlety – a real clumsy display compared to the well woven sentiment of more spoken word-leaning pieces such as 'Broken Promise', which he performs passionately sitting on the stage edge: "bad riddance to good rubbish."

Joined by the talented Natasha Fox, 'Feel It' trips out in a slow, sexy vibe dropping the tempo further, before dragging it back with die-hard fans' favourite 'Astronaut' and Distraction Pieces highlight 'The Struggle', with its dark and cutting lyrics.

Ploughing through his Rose wine, he whips the pit up further with the excellent 'Let Em Come', which closes the set with a blast of noise and energy, even without the performance talents of P.O.S and the ever-excellent Sage Francis, whose tutoring as part of the Strange Famous collective alongside B Dolan could develop the lyrical skills of this whipper-snapper to the level of their outstanding social commentary – his new releases should reveal all.

Dub Pistols' introduction by Howard Marks says it all with its reverb effect and stoned tones. With great dub backbeats and soaring horns, the steady lyrical flows of classics such as 'Cyclone' ska hooks abound and the set is jumbled and jovial. Bringing a Jamaican guest vocalist in, the Pistols add to their aspirations of cool, but come across as try-hard and disingenuous – their sound has long been outmoded and, aside from nostalgia, there's not much there, as proved by a rambling cover of The Stranglers’ 'Peaches'. However, 90s nostalgia is the order of the day, so they prep the stage well for Happy Mondays.

Happy Mondays
Sunday night headliners are always greatly anticipated, last year's heavyweights Primal Scream setting a high standard, now the Madchester Indie icons trip on, introduced, of course, by Bez.

Rowetta struts on waving her leather tassels and Shaun Ryder follows, proclaiming, "You've got the original Happy Mondays here." 'Loose Fit' blasts out, showing Rowetta's stunning voice has still got all the power and depth it always had, while Ryder is still as winningly obnoxious as ever – constantly goading his brother Paul, including a dig about him appearing in the popular '24 Hour Party People' movie. Can't imagine Shaun approved.

'Kinky Afro' brings Bez back to the stage, grinning broadly and manically, leaping around as Ryder refers to him as "Granddad". Still waving his maracas around.

Happy Mondays
'Dennis and Lois' and '24 Hour Party People' have the whole crowd pulsating in the packed Castle Field, and Ryder mutters away strolling about the stage as if at a private party, before introducing an iconic '90s track as "Another one I didn't write" – 'Hallelujah' drifts out, taking us all firmly back 20 years, with its unashamedly smutty and druggy lyrics.

Children flood onto the stage and strut around as confidently as what we can assume are their parents – a mini Bez shaking maracas aloft and Paul Ryder surrounded by enthusiastic youngsters. 'Holiday' runs into the ever-popular 'Step On', getting the whole crowd singing, and peaking a little too early. The set drags on a little, closing with 'WFL', which really only rouses the true fans, and Howard Marks returns to the stage to introduce another spectacular firework display, which, as ever, excellently caps off the Camp Bestival celebrations.

around the site (closing fireworks display)
review by: Helen Brown

photos by: Gary Walker / Rob Koster

Thursday 26th to Sunday 29th July 2012
Lulworth Castle, Dorset, BH20 5QS, England MAP
weekend camping £175 - SOLD OUT, day tickets available
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Tue 24th Jul 2012


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