Sunday overview

The Secret Garden Party 2008 review

published: Thu 31st Jul 2008

Noah and the Whale

Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th July 2008
Cambridgeshire - full venue information will be released nearer the time., England
Adult weekend £125, (14-17) £100, Under 14 free (prices include all fees)
last updated: Wed 9th Jul 2008

We have a gentle start to the day and return to the music in Wild Things on Sunday morning with mellow, acoustic songs from Azadeh who has a sweet soulful voice and, as well as playing her own lovely songs like 'Engine Burn, Engine Burn', she covers Elbow's 'Leaders of the Free World'.

around the site Sunday (1)

There's a second set from Tallulah Rendall in the Small World venue this time and then it's across to the Living Room tent to see why there's a crowd spilling out of it. Turns out Mumford and Sons are playing some earthy, folk songs with banjo, double bass, keys and guitar. Describing themselves as bluegrass, the few songs I hear are bouncy and happy and the crowd obviously appreciates them.

I stay in the Living Room for Brendan Campbell, an acoustic singer-songwriter from Glasgow who has a gravelly voice and plays Drakesque guitar. Unfortunately, sitting in a comfy armchair in front of the stage and not having slept much, I find myself nodding off until a 'phone call reminder that Revere are on next in the Muddy Earth venue. Nobody could sleep through their music! There are eight members of the band including vocals, guitars, violin, keys, trumpet, glockenspiel, and cello. Every song is epic with strong, soaring lead vocals carried on all the layers of glorious instruments. The last track they play, 'The Escape Artist', which will be released as a single in October, is already one of my favourite songs ever.

The Shortwave Set

It's back over to mainstage for The Shortwave Set and, although I don't recognise the name, I can sing along with 'No Social' - "... because everyone knows that a dog dressed in clothes is still a dog". The five members are wearing boiler suits and are joined by dancing girls with gold tinsel pompoms for their new single 'Now Till 69' which has a be-bop-a-lula chorus and the girls also reappear to dance along to 'Sun Machine'. It's very cheery pop-electronica and decidedly bright and breezy.

The Little Ones, from California, are on next and promoting their new album 'Morning Time' which is out the following day. The jangly guitar pop is fine for a festival afternoon but quite throwaway and not attention grabbing, so I wander off to return to the Small World on the other side of the lake for Sliding Rule, a solo set and the alter-ego of Nima, the frontman of Hush the Many. The music is vastly different from the band's show the previous day and wholly instrumental – looped and layered guitar, with a bow used to good effect and the result is some beautiful, atmospheric and chilled soundscapes, a safe haven from the mainstage pop bands.

St Etienne

I've unfortunately missed Morcheeba but it was worth it and I return to the mainstage for St Etienne, who are surprisingly engaging. The audience are dancing to the floaty vocals of Sarah Cracknell and ambient music. Highlights of the set are 'Nothing Can Stop Us' and the Neil Young song 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'.

The Wild Things venue is absolutely rammed for Florence and the Machine so we can't see a thing but the punky pop music sounds great. Florence is a feisty character with a powerful voice and plenty of energy. She sings a cover of 'Hospital Beds' by the Cold War Kids and other stand out tracks are 'Donkey Kosh' and 'Kiss with a Fist' which goes down a storm with the crowd.

Florence And TheMachine

By this time, we've missed the start of Gabby Young and Other Animals in the Living Room which is packed too, and the stage is pretty crowded with musicians – sax, double bass, keys, guitars, drums and accordion. It feels like a proper rowdy party in there and we're soon dancing to the jazzy funk sounds and shouting the refrain of "whose tent are you in" – I think the lyrics were changed from "whose house" for the festival. We're also treated to a great fun version of 'Love Cats' segued with 'Everybody Wants to Be a Cat'.

I probably should have ended the festival there on that high but I'm curious to see Noah and the Whale. Their 'punk folk' is going down well with the crowd, especially their highly infectious new single 'Five Years Time' (with the singalong refrains of "there'll be sun, sun, sun" and "fun, fun, fun") and covers of Paul Simon's 'You Can Call Me Al' and the Smiths' 'Girlfriend in a Coma'.

I stay awake long enough to catch singer-songwriter Jont in Small World. His dreamy, idealistic acoustic songs are perfect late-night fodder for the soul and the last song 'Another Door Closes' a fitting end to the festival.

Morcheeba

review by: Helen OSullivan

photos by: Darryl Moir / Kirsty Umback / Helen OSullivan

Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th July 2008
Cambridgeshire - full venue information will be released nearer the time., England
Adult weekend £125, (14-17) £100, Under 14 free (prices include all fees)
last updated: Wed 9th Jul 2008


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