Biffy Clyro top a Sunday that leaves the Rock Ness crowd wanting more

Rock Ness 2012 review

published: Thu 14th Jun 2012

around the festival site (2)

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th June 2012
Loch Ness, Scotland, Scotland MAP
£159 for a weekend camping, or £149 weekend non-camping
daily capacity: 35000
last updated: Fri 25th May 2012

If Saturday was the day Rock Ness highlighted its knack for capturing some of the best talent in the dance music industry, then Sunday was the day for the bands to come out in force. Indie and rock fans would have felt much more at home, particularly on the main stage where the majority of the acts were bands rather than DJ or dance acts. Kicking things off were Newcastle based Little Comets and although they only had a small crowd, they played with vibrancy and energy. Hailed as a kind of British Vampire Weekend, this band are known for their spontaneity – something they reference as they talked of their long journey up to Loch Ness, having almost lost one of the band members before the journey even set off.

Kassidy
They set the scene well for Glasgow based Kassidy – only a recently known fixture in the indie/rock world the foursome bound onto the main stage with a real charisma – new song 'One Man Army' is reminiscent of some of the Foo Fighter's gentler stuff, and they wow the crowd with their cover of Adele's 'Rolling In The Deep'. This is a band who exceeds expectations live, and they sounded far punchier in the live environment than in recordings. Unfortunately, they found themselves slightly overshadowed by the imminent (second) arrival of The View in the GoldenVoice arena.

Originally billed to play the Clash tent the previous evening, their original performance had to be cut short as the overcrowding started to bring the tent down. Arguably, the Dundonian band should always have been in the larger tent from the get-go, and once there on Sunday they played a blinding set. Kicking off with hit 'Same Jeans' they didn't waste an ounce of energy, before moving onto some newer tracks from their upcoming album 'Cheeky For A Reason', every moment egged on by a huge following of fans. However, lead singer Kyle Falconer's accent was so strong, it was nigh on impossible to understand any of what he said to the crowd (even for us East Coasters!)

Back over on the main stage there's a distinctly funky feel to proceedings, as Chic featuring Nile Rodgers bound energetically onto the stage, exclaiming they aim to get everyone dancing to combat the chill moving in over the festival. With disco this good, it's almost impossible not to dance along to the hits they play such as 'Everybody Dance', 'I'm Coming Out' and 'Le Freak', and the crowd grew as the hits they played became more recognisable, ending on the inimitable 'Good Times'; all the audience singing along as the stage was invaded by people all laughing and clapping. Younger visitors to the festival may not have recognised the name on the bill, but by the end they were cheering along with the rest of us.

Friendly Fires
The flamboyance continued on the main stage with Friendly Fires, unfortunately running about 20 minutes late as the main stage fell behind on timings, meaning a tough call between the St Albans band and Metronomy in the GoldenVoice arena had to be made – although incidentally Metronomy also ended up running late due to the hasty addition of the extra The View performance. Those of us who stayed with Friendly Fires weren't disappointed – Ed Macfarlane's dancing alone is something to be witnessed and as they played fan favourite 'Jump In The Pool', as well as newer 'True Love' and 'Blue Cassette'. Having seen this band play before, I had been looking forward to a big performance, but although the exuberance of lead singer Macfarlane was there in his dancing, it seemed to the detriment of his vocals on this occasion; the volume seemed patchy in places and wasn't as strong as anticipated.

The next surprise of the weekend came in the form of Zane Lowe – the Radio 1 DJ played a storming set of songs from remixed chart classics to dub step – including a tribute to Beastie Boys' MCA as he played 'Intergalactic' to the jumping throng, before moving seamlessly into Fatman Scoop's 'Be Faithful' and House of Pain's 'Jump Around'. Lowe is a master at giving the audience what they want before they realise they wanted it, and Sunday night's performance was no different. Lowe also made a fitting tribute to the 19 year old who tragically lost his life at the festival, asking the crowd to raise two fingers in the peace sign as he urges everyone to take care of themselves and others, an emotional point of the evening. He soon brought the tone of the evening back up, boosting the energy of the audience as he asked if they were ready for Biffy Clyro – and by this point the crowd was growing to a spectacular size as he played off and the Kilmarnock headliners readied to end the festival.

Biffy Clyro
They certainly didn't do things by half, racing into their performance with 'Mountains' as James and Ben Johnston appeared on stage topless, lead singer Simon Neil all in white. Flanked by jets of flame as the song rounded to a close, the crowd stretched as far back as the eye could see, all of which who chanted along. 'Many of Horrors' was always going to be a delight, due to the recent chart success but when the crowd sang the whole of the first chorus entirely alone, the deafening volume was something to behold. As the night approached the 'Witching Hour' as it was heralded by front man Neil, Biffy Clyro returned on stage to belt out 'The Captain' – helped along as always by the over excited crowd before the closing fireworks gave a spectacular end to the evening.

Being Sunday, the proceedings were due to close at 12am – but Rock Ness found a way to carry on the party: the Headphone Disco returned in the Clash tent, keeping those who couldn't bear for the weekend to end dancing and singing into the wee hours of the morning. This festival is young in comparison to its counterparts, but already has proven that it has many of the essential components down to a fine art – Rock Ness remains one of the most beautiful festivals around, small without feeling crowded and leaving the crowd wanting more every year.

around the festival site (2)
review by: Clare Sinclair

photos by: Clare Sinclair

Friday 8th to Sunday 10th June 2012
Loch Ness, Scotland, Scotland MAP
£159 for a weekend camping, or £149 weekend non-camping
daily capacity: 35000
last updated: Fri 25th May 2012


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