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6Music Festival review: Damon Albarn's new track was masterfully executed'

BBC 6Music Festival, Manchester

Being a part of the crowd gathered for 6Music’s inaugural two-day festival, it was hard to fathom why the BBC ever wanted to shut its alternative music station down.

Damon Albarn took the opportunity to showcase his entire album Everyday Robots – a risky move, given that its release date is still more than a month away. The opening title track – a haunting lament on nature versus technology, complete with creaky piano, strings and a subtle, lilting melody – set the downbeat tone. Even if its creator was understandably nervous to be performing the album for the first time – and live on radio, it was masterfully executed alongside his new band, The Heavy Seas.

On the second day, Bombay Bicycle Club seemed like a band at their triumphant peak. But it was American indie-rockers The National who provided the festival’s biggest highlight. Their frontman, Matt Berninger, so embodies every track it’s impossible not to feel involved.