Part 2 - Parklife Weekender 2013 - By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret
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Part 2 – Parklife Weekender 2013

Tayyab Amin reports from day 2 of the Parklife Weekender Festival. Author: on June 15, 2013
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Sunday’s line-up had much more packed in a smaller space of time, and we watched Éclair Fifi get proceedings underway in a Hudson Mohawke-curated tent, which was criminally under-populated at first. Nevertheless, the LuckyMe DJ threw together a marvellous set and would continue to host the stage between acts to audiences of a more deserved size. Toro y Moi was on relatively early to play a half-hour of material that seemed more soulful and funkier live than on record. I decided that he and his group would make for a compelling and thoroughly entertaining high school disco band, as the sole remaining balloon from Four Tet’s set on the previous day bounced above earlybird festival-goers.

Lone was unafraid to trawl through tech house wonders in the afternoon before making way for Tiga, who was playing the second of three cities that day (he didn’t title the Tiga Non Stop compilation for nothing.) After hearing a delectable remix of Haim’s “Falling”, we made our way to King Krule, whose lo-fi lamentations and drawl-raps hypnotised his fans. Beginning his performance with a solo ballad, he’d go on to perform everything from “The Noose of Jah City” to “Crocodile” and “Octopus” in a four-piece group in a painstakingly humble yet passionate manner.

King Krule

King Krule

I witnessed Iggy Azalea’s ass putting in a solid shift on the main stage, though I did hear a little bit of rapping too. Todd Terje and Lindstrom were going back to back in the Big Top, but I must admit I stayed for a mere five minutes before being distracted by a stall that sold the most beautiful banana milkshakes. In a slightly-out-of-the-way, relatively secluded area stood another large stage in the open air, encircled by sloping hills. It was here where DJ EZ worked his magic in front of thousands, emphatically sipping between grime and garage cuts with jaw-dropping technique that went a little overshadowed by his excellent, crowd-pleasing track selection.

Meanwhile, in the Hudson Mohawke tent, Éclair Fifi dialled back the decks to let Action Bronson and his DJ step up to do their thing. When it comes to Action Bronson shows, the fans know nearly all the lyrics to his material, which makes sense seeing as everything the ginger-bearded chef says is an instant quote. With new LP SAAAB Stories, ready to drop, Bronson performed lead single “Strictly 4 My Jeeps” before mixtape classic “Steve Wynn”. After plodding around the stage kicking balloons and throwing clothes into his audience, Bronson relapsed into his usual performance habit of leaving the stage and rapping while wading through the entire crowd. We spent many minutes wondering where such a large, conspicuous man might be and after he surfaced up once more he teased us with the Hit-Boy-produced beat for A$AP Rocky’s “1Train” for a couple of minutes or so. Our hopes paid off as Danny Brown popped out to deliver his verse, which went down a storm. Bronson did his bit then hit us with the second blow as “Bird on a Wire” rang out and we all filled in for Riff Raff.

Danny Brown

Danny Brown

Danny Brown walked out front afterwards for his own set, escorted by the keenest hip-hop DJ I’d ever seen. “Hi! My name is Daniel,” he introduced himself with mischievous juvenility, followed by delivering XXX cuts such as “Radio Song” and “Lie4″. With tens of hundreds of fans screaming outrageous things like, “I’m the black Brad Pitt!” and, “Popping these pills, sniffing cocaine!” things got a little carried away, as Brown gave himself to the crowd and then hit a person in the face with the microphone. When he opted to perform material from the upcoming, supposedly more sober, album Old, fans refused to go the same way and kept the mosh pits going until Brown departed with “Express Yourself”. Once Brown’s set was over, Action Bronson returned to ask if anyone had found his missing black iPhone 5 with a reward up for grabs – moments later a fan climbed over the barrier with the phone in tow, and Bronson handed him a wad of cash exclaiming, “I just gave this guy like two-thousand dollars!”. After a photograph, Bronson proceeded to pick up the six-foot man and casually left the stage with him over his shoulder.

Hudson Mohawke approached the tent he put together and spun records with a give-no-shits attitude, testing the waters with deeper frequencies first, then playing his Satin Panthers stuff after scratching into Jeremih’s “773 Love”. Ace Hood’s club smash “Bugatti” followed “Thunder Bay” before Hudson Mohawke greeted chants of “Yeezus!” with a shush-ing gesture, dropping some unreleased Kanye West – the Billie Holiday-sampling, TNGHT-produced “Blood On The Leaves” . “Backseat Freestyle” was followed by “Cbat” and then “Adorn”, and Hudson Mohawke walked off stage immediately after pressing play on Biggie’s “Juicy” – all killer, no filler.

parklifeyo

Sheffield techno maverick Lo Shea played in a tent filled with mirrors, taking us to places too dark for summer’s sun. Jurassic 5 made use of the stage size for their set up involving giant turntables, “Concrete Schoolyard” making many festival-goers’ day. My friend texted me to tell me Danny Brown was about to go on a large bungee-like ride, alas I was too entranced by Koreless’ ambient beauty occurring in the eye of swirling dirt and dust spirals kicked up from battered ground. He threw in his own productions, such as “MTI” and “Lost in Tokyo” as well as “Sun”, and went on to return Dan Snaith’s favour playing Daphni’s “Yes”, I Know. I have no reservations against admitting that I well and truly lost my shit when he shocked us all with Evian Christ’s “Fuck It None of Ya’ll Don’t Rap”.

In a larger-than-life coming together, Mark Ronson and A-Trak mixed and scratched for over an hour in what seemed really promising on paper. In reality, there wasn’t much room for whatever experimentation the pair could be capable of, when such a huge audience requires a party of similar magnitude, and is perhaps why things ended disappointingly with Ronson’s version of “Valerie”. Credit for trying though, as the two did some pretty amazing things to the sensual bounce of Breach’s Jack. Speaking of Jack, it seemed odd to me that Jackmaster was supported by an MC. As I leant on the rails at the back eating an overpriced bean burrito, it just seemed weird to hear New Order’s “Blue Monday” scatted over. Five minutes later we were listening to a Skepta track, so things clicked a little more by then, and Jackmaster proved his worth once more as a fantastic party DJ, diving into deeper unknowns which culminated in Baltimore calling card KW Griff’s “Bring in the Katz”.

theend

Hudson Mohawke returned with Lunice by his side to deliver the headline performance as TNGHT, the bombastic hip-hop instrumentalists’ set tearing through frequencies with their self-titled EP’s tunes. The atmosphere for “Goooo”, “Higher Ground” and “Bugg’n” was amplified as Lunice hopped all across the stage with b-boy attitude, acting as a sort of visual hype man for Hudson Mohawke. The simple, unassuming visuals left the focus to the hard-hitting beats and bass, whether they had bashment vocals or tracks from Cruel Summer ringing out. The pair wrapped up Parklife festival up with Kanye West’s “New Slaves”, and it seemed liked Manchester’s own Yeezus launch party – which I’m perfectly okay with – as things lingered on the ecstatic side of madness.

The highs dwarfed the lows over the weekend, though kinks such as scheduling and sound will need to be worked out for Parklife to really reach its potential. Parklife’s new location was a little different, and the stages were too close together, but it has certainly outgrown its old home. Looking at how the festival has benefited from the size upgrade, it seemed to be  a worthy change. The plethora of acts and variety of stalls and rides ensured that all festival-goers would have a good time, and Parklife’s success was maintained for yet another year.

Favourite moment: Love Cry. WITH BALLOONS.
Most played artist: Disclosure
Worst tattoo: Obey face
Best dancer: Lunice
Biggest wish-you-were-here: Stage invasion during Joey Bada$$
Festival crush: Eclair Fifi

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