Echo and the Bunnymen close the Lounge On The Farm with a sense of grandeur

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

Lupen Crook has been squeezed first on to the bill on the Farm Folk stage today. Given that he headlined a stage here a couple of years ago, in terms of last minute additions, this is a bit of a coup. The boy's a poet, and he rattles through a set of half old and half new material. For this time of the day, he's proved an impressive draw, and he gives a shy, soul bearing performance. Great stuff. Amber Room follow on from him, a folk five piece who owe an unspoken debt to the dynamics of grunge. Through the rhythm section they channel Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, and the rest of the band ride the wave admirably. Their lead singer, who reminded me a little of a hippy Michael McDonald, captains the ship, and they bring the house down in some style.

By the time I get to Still Corners at the Sheep Dip, it's late afternoon, the sun is set to 'scorch' and most of the people here are outside of the tent, crisping up nicely. It's hard to play to strangers 30ft away, and their subtle indie pop influences are wasted here. They don't even get much in the way of polite applause, and deserve better.

Little Comets are a little odd. It's strange to see a band base their entire musical approach on 'Nothing but flowers' by Talking Heads, but these Tyneside scamps make a decent fist of it. 'This one's for dancing' is saved for the end, and some people get up and dance. Presumably that's mission accomplished.

By the time Art Brut get onstage, it's already been a long weekend, but they prove themselves beyond reproach once more. Despite mistakenly calling Lounge on the Farm Hop Farm... twice. They took self-deprecation to a new level during 'My Little Brother', with Eddie Argos noting Art Brut were quite good, big enough to play the little festivals but had plateaeud. If they have, here's hoping they stay there a little while longer before finally going over the top.

The Joy Formidable are the tipsters favourites to do just that, and have been bubbling under, perfecting their sound for a couple of years. Ritzy, their lead singer and focal point, is a dervish onstage, her energy firing up the rest of the troupe, and they have material to match that intent. 'Austere', 'Abacus', 'The greatest light is the greatest shade' and 'Cradle' are all songs that show what's best about songwriting, rich with characterisation, emotion, and attitude. If you add that to the joy with which they were played, it isn't hard to see the Joy Formidable as a band on the verge of very great things.

Finally to Echo and the Bunnymen. Although it has happened more often of late, it's still a rare day that brings bands of this quality to play in Kent. Although they shuffle onstage like slightly portly older gentlemen, by the middle of their set they've already acquired the countenance of Greek gods under the blue lights. 'Over the wall', released thirty years ago, still sounds as fresh as when it was first pulled out of its sleeve. 'Lips like Sugar' is given a full workout, stretched and then brought back into more familiar shape. It could be said that they've played to more obviously enthusiastic patrons, but as an outfit themselves they remain in fine fettle. They close the festival with a sense of grandeur few can summon, and there is little more you can ask of a headliner than to do that.
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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