Reports on an indie-pop institution and the hottest band in blogland, fresh from Suffolk’s dusty fields…
Camera Obscura are not exactly what springs to mind when you brainstorm out your list of classic festival bands, but this slow-burning Glaswegian indie-pop outfit smoulder with style at the Uncut Arena. Done out smart in suits and ballgowns, they are clearly not trying to be anything that they’re not – “Thank you for letting us play a quiet one,” says Tracyanne Campbell, at one point – but songs like “Let’s Get Out Of This Country” and their nod to Lloyd Cole And The Commotions, “Lloyd I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken” unfurl beautifully, all whirling mellotron and warm brass.
Arguably, they’re a band that’s had more success in maturing the Scottish indie-pop sound than any of their contemporaries – certainly, no late period Belle & Sebastian never sounded so well-wrought and effortless – and the sea of colourful balloons punted from fist to fist above the crowd confirm this is a band to get fanatical about, albeit in a slightly twee way.
Passion Pit, meanwhile, probably can’t believe their luck. The brainchild of Michael Angelakos, who wrote the first Passion Pit songs as a Valentine’s Day present to his then girlfriend, they’ve since exploded across the blogosphere, and their set this evening at the Sunrise Arena confirms this is a band with a buzz about them.
Essentially the authors of emotive electronic-pop songs of an intimate sort of nature, add one tent with a low roof and a thousand-odd bodies and we’ve got what looks like a real festival event, songs like “The Reeling” sending shivers of excitement through the crowd and, if my eyes don’t deceive me – seriously, it’s heaving here – a whole lot of crowd-surfing. Sure, they’ve got a sweet edge, but that doesn’t mean Passion Pit aren’t out to make you dance, too.
Right now, her majesty Grace Jones is about to his the stage, so I’m off to stumble downhill again, doing my level best not to end up upside down in a ditch along the way. Also on the schedule tonight is a midnight performance from Jeffrey Lewis and, for the real festival hardcore, a 2am set from Chas And Dave. Will I make it that long? I’ll let you know tomorrow.