Get Loaded in the Park, Clapham Common, London
Wednesday 15 June 2011
Beneath a grey sky, a sea of umbrellas bopped up and down on Clapham Common as a crowd wearing anoraks and Wellington boots braved the rain to listen to some great British talent.
Noisettes commanded the stage with a great set, batting against the British summer, which poured a monsoon on the crowds one minute and grey drizzle the next. That didn't stop the singer Shingai Shoniwa doing the splits and pumping out "Don't Upset the Rhythm".
British Sea Power, whose stage stunts have led to band members being knocked unconscious while crowd-diving, behaved well. They stuck to the stage to deliver a flavoured mix that has been likened to Arcade Fire and The Cure.
The Cribs perhaps demanded a lot from their audience as they played an extensive selection of album tracks and lesser-known material, leaving a hint of their more popular hits to the end.
The event was well-organised, with numerous bars that did not require hours of queuing, but the main stage felt less than full. The rain did not completely deter the crowd but it did affect the atmosphere.
With little shelter available, many punters crowded into the arena, a blue circus tend that hosted some excellent acts. Kate Tempest of the Sound of Rum twisted her tongue around lyrics and soft beats, a lyrical poet who was enthralling to watch. We waited for her to gasp for breath – but the young rapper never seemed to need more air as the words flowed from her lungs.
The day's headliners, Razorlight, played a rich selection of tracks from their early albums, many unheard live before by even the most devoted of fans. They also threw in a few obvious classics to create a mix that pleased a now soaked audience. The only problem was that with no new material to play, the set list felt predictable; something was missing. The only jumping or hint at the creation of a mosh pit came with the encore, which was nevertheless suspiciously familiar to those who had seen Razorlight's encore at the Electric Ballroom in Camden a few weeks earlier.
What felt like an early finish, at 9pm, left muddy revellers heading to the nearest pub, to warm up and dry out. The rain did not quite have the last word – people sang Johnny Borrel's "America" as they skidded and slipped out of the muddy park.
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