Graham Coxon proves worthy of a Lounge On The Farm headline slot

Lounge On The Farm 2011 review

published: Thu 14th Jul 2011

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July 2011
Merton Farm, Nackington Lane, Canterbury, CT4 7BA, England MAP
£105 for the weekend
last updated: Thu 30th Jun 2011

Looking through the programme again, it strikes me how badly laid out it is. The Bookhouse Boys played a tiny stage on Friday night, and I missed them due to not knowing they were even on. The map on the back is small, hand drawn and difficult to read. Six years in, for an extra fiver on top of ticket prices, it really needs to be much better all round. Waiting for the other stages to open, I catch an unlisted band called SSkinny Lister playing drunken sea shanties to unsuspecting onlookers. They help alleviate the tea-infused boredom of an overcast morning.

Thanks to technical issues beyond their control, Two Wounded Birds come on to a busy Sheepdip stage late, and then have to soundcheck. Not ideal. They've got the surf noir beatnik vibe down to an art, and fittingly, wear sunglasses indoors. Despite strong local support, thanks to a short set they never get a chance to build up momentum and are gone in a flash. Better luck next time.

Back to the Meadow Stage, I find Spector, a tinny sounding pop rock band. They wear grey suits and have all the intrigue of a late era Human League b-side. Their banter is dry, arch and forced. They can't get off stage fast enough, for themselves or me.

D/R/U/G/S are much more fun. Perhaps it's better to say that of all the bands today, they are the ones who push their genre the hardest. They're indie rock, certainly, but their influences are so diverse as to render them almost impossible to identify. Although seen by too few here today, they should become a bigger and better band.

Fujiya and Miyagi are much harder to call. Some of the time they sound like New Order, and the rest sound like they're trying to power through an audition for the BBC Radiophonic workshop in the 70's. It's pleasant enough, but not as mind expanding as those two parts truly spliced together would make. The night has a chill to it now.

They are baying for her. When I say they, I mean hordes of young girls, aged 11 to 19. It can only mean Ellie Goulding. There's a hint of underhand crowd management the PA set up to feed chanting? For a moment I feel sure it is, but then wonder if it is a natural event, with the wind blowing gradually growing chants of 'Ellie, Ellie!' around. Before the spectacle proper begins, young girls are hoisted onto the shoulders of boyfriends or fathers. This creates a pack of 10ft tall blonde monsters, and they group together centrally. The music, when it comes, is pure pop, polished, palatable, packaged. It's more like watching a delivery mechanism than a performance; a Hello Kitty angst-flavoured gumball machine vending to 7,000 people simultaneously.

Seeing Graham Coxon is a more familiar experience. He's wearing that grey and red jumper that seems to be surgically attached to his body, and he's finally got a back catalogue of his own worthy of a headline festival slot. He doesn't disappoint, peaking on the Mission of Burma chestnut 'That's when I reach for my revolver'. Even if the encores lose a touch of momentum, it is a performance anyone would be proud of.
review by: Thomas Perry

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th July 2011
Merton Farm, Nackington Lane, Canterbury, CT4 7BA, England MAP
£105 for the weekend
last updated: Thu 30th Jun 2011

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