Fatboy Slim headlines & Friendly Fires pull of the perfomance of the day

Rock Ness 2010 review

published: Thu 17th Jun 2010

Friendly Fires

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th June 2010
Loch Ness, Scotland, Scotland MAP
£149 for 3 days with camping
last updated: Wed 24th Nov 2010

This year was my first at Scotland's premier alternative, dance music festival, and from the start there are a lot of things to be impressed by.

Fatboy Slim
Contained in a superb location, the festival site surrounded by hills and Loch Ness offers the perfect backdrop for a weekend of music, drinking and dancing.

This year also saw the festival expand to a 3-day event, with the Friday evening hosting bands, and what better way to see in its first year with a headline with the man headline that partly organized the original festival, and also headlined the first year, Fatboy Slim.

Fatboy, aka Norman Cook, has been creating dance hits since the 90s, with songs such as 'Right Here Right Now' and 'Praise You', which when he played both saw nearly the whole audience lift their arms in the air and sing their hearts out.

Cook's set saw him combine his own songs with his own personal favourite house music classics, resulting in a party set, perfect for an opening party.

Following the end of the headline set, the music continued over in the Clash magazine hosted arena, which saw Australian Drum and Bass, Rockers, Pendulum, serve up a set full of energy and enthusiasm.

Over the past few years the band have seen the popularity soar, and they've also been able to achieve, through the help of a lot of Radio 1 coverage no doubt, something that many people said they couldn't, and be able to appeal to both a dance music crowd and a rock audience.

Having played at Download and Reading and Leeds in previous years, they slid into surrounds of Rock Ness really well combining drum and bass hits such as their cover of the Prodigy's 'Voodoo Beat' and 'Hold Your Colour', a long with songs with a lot more guitar attitude such as 'Blood Sugar', and with all of their energy rubbed off onto the audience resulting a great close to the first day.

Earlier in the evening however, saw the performance of the day, and that came from punk, funk indie 3 piece, 'Friendly Fires', who brought with their usual mix of indie/dance and combined it Brazilian samba rhythms.

Friendly Fires
The band took the chance to debutise a couple of new tracks, which sat in well amongst their last single 'Kiss of Life', which saw the best use of samba beat, a long with the songs that got them noticed in the beginning, including the dreamy 'Paris' and the bass heavy 'Skeleton Boy'.

Combining the right amount of synthesizers and guitars, the band seem to have found the perfect formula, and with the front man's ability to really hold an audience as he shakes his hips like a young Mick Jagger, they're going to go from strength to strength, especially on the back of performances like these.

Another band that impressed were Berlin duo Booka Shade, whose live set is a definite must see if you haven't already.

It's easy to see the band's influences when listening to their music, the dark late 80s period of Depeche Mode quickly comes to mind, and their brand of bass heavy mix of house and techno, went down incredibly well with the audience, and songs such as 'Charlotte' really showcased the band in a good light.

The duo were clearly enjoying their time, seemingly really getting into their set, and although their was no real interaction with the audience except to say thank you, it was clear to see the mutual enjoyment between everyone, a real highlight.

However, there were some disappointing sets to throw in. Firstly, emo punk rockers Enter Shikari found themselves with a slot which they should've thrived on, however, for me they disappointed.

With their latest album, the band seem to have found a more electronic edge to their music than ever before, combining electronics with rock music, ala Pendulum, but unfortunately I don't feel they've found the right formula for themselves, but the audience reaction to them was really good, due no doubt to the energy and presence that the band have on stage, but for me, they were simply let down by their new 'style' of music.

The biggest disappointment for me however were Crystal Castles, who, despite finding themselves on the main stage, failed to thrive on the occasion.

In a typically shambolic performance, the band raced through songs from both of their albums including new single 'Celestia' along with electronic beeps and heavy synthesizers of songs such as 'Air War' and 'Crimewave'.

However, with crowd surges the band's set was stop start, and front woman Alice, arriving on stage stumbling about and clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels spent more time in the audience crowd surfing the singing on the tracks, later showing her anger at the audience by screaming in their faces.

Crystal Castles never fail to produce on record for me, but their live performances have gone completely down hill over recent years, but it's possibly a case of the band simply work so much better in a small stage club.

Fatboy Slim
review by: Anthony Hetherington

photos by: Chris Mathews

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th June 2010
Loch Ness, Scotland, Scotland MAP
£149 for 3 days with camping
last updated: Wed 24th Nov 2010

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