Pet Shop Boys are splendid at Splendour

Splendour 2010 review

published: Wed 28th Jul 2010

Pet Shop Boys

Saturday 24th July 2010
Wollaton Park, Nottingham, NG8 2AE, England MAP
£30
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Thu 1st Jul 2010

Splendour in Nottingham is back for a third year running at the picturesque Wollaton Park and luckily the deer are in hiding and the sun is out. Keeping the one-day format of the previous year Splendour has seen an increase in the size of the site and the stages upped to four music stages and a comedy stage. The ticket price of £30 for a day isn't bad value for money either, especially if you live within the Nottingham City boundary as this is discounted to £15.

As in previous years the bill is a mix of music for all ages giving the park a very family friendly fell with picnic rugs and hampers a plenty, but if you forgot your pack up there is an array of typical festival food vans to keep you happy, and a stall selling handmade chocolates, yummy. A token bar was in operation but judging by the cups already littering the grass, it wasn't running a cup refund point like many bigger festivals.

Splendour likes giving Nottingham bands a chance and first up on the main stage was a mass of blonde curls hiding the petite frame of Ronika. Dressed in shell suit jacket (are these back in fashion?) she kicked the day off with her unique take on disco, techno, electro pop. Ronika had the relatively unheard 'Do or Die' released earlier in the year, but I expect much greater things to come from her as she's won a BBC bursary to release an album.

Next up are The Leisure Society, loosely keeping their Nottingham theme going frontman Nick Hemming used to be in a band with local legend Shane Meadows who made many short films in Nottingham. The pace of the day is reduced to a calm lull over the hill of the park as the melodic sounds of flutes and guitars fill the air. Most of the crowd took this opportunity to chill with their picnics enjoying the atmosphere. I'll be honest this band weren't really for me as there was little interaction between members but they were really easy to relax to. The musical talents within the band were obvious and 'Save It For Someone Who Cares' shows these off very well. If you happen to be at a festival during August you might well see them as they have a busy touring schedule.

around the festival site
I was looking forward to OK Go, I first discovered this band when then did the video to 'Here it Goes Again' using the treadmills, although there were no treadmills in site today they still treated the crowd to a fantastic version, the pace at the front had taken several gears up and for the first time today there was definitely a mosh pit in the park. Malfunction of the day came during 'Get Over It' when a guitar string broke mid solo, but credit to the guys they improvised whilst it was being sorted and were back on track without to much of a hitch. Another track synonymous with a great video 'This Too Shall Pass' was again greeted with much delight from the now hyped up crowd, it's a shame they only had a 30 minute slot as I felt they ended far too soon.

Curious by certain items of head wear that were appearing I headed over to the Childrens's Activity Tent with my Daughter to see what was happening, Twenty minutes later we were clutching some booty ready for later, hopefully the glue will dry in time, to reveal the surprise.

The crowds were really starting to build up by late afternoon as were the black clouds, we only got a light sprinkling of rain not enough to justify unpacking my waterproof so the main stage area was busy as Athlete opened their set with 'El Salvador' and get the crowd having a good sing a long. It's sometimes easy to forget how long Athlete have been around but their debut album 'Vehicles and Animals' on which their opening number and 'You Got The Style' appear is seven years old, but the tracks still sound very fresh today. As always when then play 'Wires' I get goosebumps, knowing it's about the premature birth of lead vocalist Joel Potts baby and time spent in hospital, it gets me every time. Athlete manage to squeeze in 'Half Light' before bringing their set to an end as the sun once again appears.

Noisettes
Appearing on stage through a fan of glittering white Perspex and a fountain of mini fireworks is Shingai Shoniwa, the lead vocalist of Noisettes, this lady sure knows how to put on a good show, wearing nothing more than a fringed leotard she energetically moved around the stage barefoot, making sure the jumping crowds at both sides of the stage we catered for. Packing all the recent hits and crowd pleasers like 'Never Forget You', 'Wild Young Hearts' and 'Saturday Night' into the set it was no wonder the crowd were lapping up every minute of the set. Toddlers were being bounced around on dad's shoulders and a small crowd near the bar looked liked Tigger on red bull during 'Don't Upset The Rhythm' this band alone were worth the ticket money for entertainment value.

Just before Calvin Harris on the main stage I managed to catch the first track of Terrorvision over on the Rightfield Stage, looking slightly more rugged than the last time I caught them they had still managed to pull a very decent audience over from the main stage. 'Alice What's the Matter' brought a tiny bit of rock to the peaceful park and many parents had snatched a few minutes away from the kids to enjoy this band on their own, I would love to have stayed for more but I was eagerly anticipating Calvin Harris so made my way back over the hill.

"Oh, I put on my shoes and I'm ready for the weekend" right so I just sang my entire knowledge of Calvin Harris as I'm not normally massively into techno pop but judging by the lack of places to stand Wollaton Park were ready for a dance. Right from the off the sea of bodies were up and down like mad men and beer was being thrown all over the place. The crush at the front got too much for some and several people who'd claimed their spot at the start of the day, had to be dragged over the barrier to get out.

As the set continued I realised there were several more songs I knew. Happily I jumped away with my daughter and friends amazed by Harris' talents. I was glad 'Ready for the Weekend' featured in a set littered with hits like 'The Girls', 'Acceptable in the 80's' and 'I'm not Alone'.

So the time had come to reveal our art work, along with many others our children had been sent to the craft tent to come back armed with sugar paper rolled up to make us cone hats, just like the Pet Shop Boys in the 'Go West' videos.

I haven't looked forward to a headline act so much in a while I guess that's because many bigger festivals recycle their headliners on a 2/3 year basis but the Pet Shop Boys very Rarely put in festival appearances so this was a good chance to round off a great day perfectly.

Appearing wearing boxes over their heads to the track 'Heart' the set went on for an hour and forty minutes ending with 'West End Girls' and various changes of head gear saw them walk off wearing feathered hats. Many Die hard PSB fans would have seen this set before but for me it was a first, and my nine year old daughter asked if I could put them on her ipod, so at least one new fan from today. The set was full of drama, graphics and a techno set, and hit after hit was rolled out, I kept saying "Oh yeah I forgot they did this" as their extensive back catalogue was ploughed through. The front half of the crowd were caked it glitter from cannons during 'It's a Sin' and everyone was on their feet having a blast. I would love to catch Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe again I was completed won over by their set and in my elements during 'Go West' when our Blue Peter hat came into it's own. 'Suburbia', 'Always on my Mind', 'Left To My Own Devices' all featured in the set along with 'Being Boring' and 'Se A Vida E'. Tennant and Lowe have an amazing partnership that has stood the test of time and is still relevant into today's every growing music market.

Splendour you were splendid, hopefully the Deer won't mind if we pop back next year for more of the same.

around the festival site
review by: Julie Weston

photos by: Julie Weston

Saturday 24th July 2010
Wollaton Park, Nottingham, NG8 2AE, England MAP
£30
daily capacity: 10000
last updated: Thu 1st Jul 2010


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