First on my list to see was Lapalux. After seeing the Essex boy and RnB bootleg advocate earlier in the year and being more than impressed I wanted to see if he could match that performance to a larger, younger, Levi cut off wearing, Mkat sniffing audience. All of this on top of a set early on in the day and a very large tent must have been intimidating, compliments to Now Wave.
Known best for his merging of RnB and synth that coincide with sublime future garage and deep house remixes Saturdays set wasn’t as I’d hope. The sound was poor, non of which was Stuart Howard's fault, and the audience (that were sat down) were even worse. I felt pity on the dude! Big tune and a personal favourite notably released on Fly Lo’s Brainfeeder label ‘Guuurl’ wasn’t received as highly you’d expect as the majority of the audience looked as if they were on a school trip and/or day release. Please, leave your bum bags and snap backs at home.
Parklife was a dire representation of Manchester and all the talent it houses. Although the variety and caliber of electronic music was on point, the crowds were not and never have I realised what impact this makes. A clear representation of this was Dusky's set.
After previously seeing the London duo at Sankeys, they delivered a similar set with new age anthems such as Calling Me, Nobody Else and Murial. With releases on Aus, Dogmatik, Aunjunadeep and the mighty School Records, its crowd pleasing, it’s a little cautious and it’s oh so Swamp 81. The tent was more so full than my previous visit for Lapalux and the light warehouse tech/bass soul connoisseurs ‘worked it.’ Recent released EP Vanishing Point was a favourite.
After a wonky wait to speak to a Parklife affiliate about using my camera in the pit without being looked at if I were a criminal and getting NOWHERE I decided to venture back to the Now Wave tent to see the infamous Four Tet grace his presence. As expected, expectations were high and like the whole weekend, a bit of a let down. Without blaming the genius himself, nothing could be helped from the poor sound nor the squalking 15 year old girls that kept asking the question ‘Is this Four Tet?’ This and the combination of large inflatable balls and riled up coke heads donning their wifebeaters jumping in all directions proved too much for not only me but the majority (and small selection) of the crowd. The sound picked up slightly towards the middle of the set and we heard the likes of Pyramid, Jupiters and Lion from the fantastic creation that is Pink. I was hoping to hear his recent remix of JT’s Suit and Tie but unfortunately 25 minutes was enough to send me under.
The majority of my Saturday was spent speaking to and getting nowhere with various members of staff, practically babysitting the amount of pissed up children that attended and trying to find somewhere to sit down. Can’t say this years festival was for me.
Danny Brown's on next after a short DJ Set from his DJ Skywlkr, whipping the crowd into a frenzy, Brick Squad will always be well received at a DJ set, even if you're a total joke of a DJ, so Guetta if you're reading this, take notes. Danny Brown's got a back catalogue to be proud of, tracks from mixtape XXX get an airing, as do singles produced by the likes of Araabmuzik and Flosstradamus, and judging by the couple of songs he played from upcoming album 'Old' the album's going to be a corker. There's moshpits and crowdusurfing galore, and despite the shitty sound over at the Hudson Mohawke tent, he has the crowd in the palm of his hands, at one point a fan gets a little too excited and receives a crack over the head by Danny's microphone and he doesn't even miss a beat, incredible. And then something strange happens, Action Bronson walks back out to let us know his iPhone has been stolen and there will be a cash reward for anyone who returns it to him, up jumps a kid (a little too fast, if you get what I mean) and hands him his phone, Bronson gives the kid £2000 as a thank you, lifts him over his shoulder and takes him backstage leaving the crowd with jaws wide open.
Joey Badass has already started his set at the Ape Parklife Beatdown (I have no idea either) tent by the time I get there with the majority of his setlist coming from his debut mixtape '1999' the show ends with the song that made him an overnight star 'Survival Tactics' chaos ensues and there's a stage invasion, man of the day Action Bronson rescues Joey from the over-eager crowd, I think it's fair to say that hip hop's just got exciting again. On the main stage are one of the only acts in Hip Hop to always keep it real, despite its sudden taking over of the mainstream, Jurassic 5, who had a packed crowd grooving and grinning like cheshire cats in the scorching heat, there was even para-gliders dancing overhead to classics such as Concrete Schoolyard and What's Golden, a memory that will stick with me forever so thank you J5.
I end the night back at the Hudson Mohawke tent to see the man himself along with Lunice, TNGHT, they play tracks from debut EP TNGHT and plenty of Kanye West songs, so much in fact that it was just short of an interruption from the man himself. Parklife have plenty to improve on for next year, there was no signal, the majority of the bar staff seemed not to be able to count, the stage times and map on the £6 lanyard were largely wrong and I ended up being kettled for 2 hours waiting for the bus home, but if they manage to keep the sun, incredible acts and get a lot of the students to leave their shitty LADish attitudes back at their shitty uni halls, they may just have a winning formula.