The Big Chill, Eastnor Castle Deer Park, Malvern
Tuesday 05 August 2008
It sparkles like a rare diamond and its contents are sought after by millions. Yes, ladies and gentleman, Noel Fielding's jumpsuit has landed. It was not a musical act that filled the Saturday night slot of this family-friendly musical festival in Herefordshire, but a surrealist comedy duo who were greeted with as many bamboozled silences as outpourings of laughter. But if there was an element of the emperor's new clothes to 10,000 people standing around slightly confused to watch Fielding and Julian Barratt's Mighty Boosh take us through a "musical journey", then it was just one stop on an otherwise successful weekend.
Indeed, if anybody consistently pulled in the numbers over the three-day festival then it was the comics. Earlier on Saturday, Bill Bailey's highly oversubscribed set was broadcast via the festival's radio station. "Hello hippie scum," was his opening jaunt, before he tickled his way through pastiches of Oasis ("There are many snacks that I would like to make for you but I don't know how") and The Killers ("I've got ham but I'm not a hamster").
Later that night, the British Film Institute transplanted its sold-out BUG music video showcase to the Media Mix tent, although not without technical hitches. Host Adam Buxton gallantly sprang to the rescue with an improvised comedy set after the work of Battles and Grizzly Bear had attacks of the gremlins.
Musically on Saturday, Lykke Li took on the Castle Stage, rattling through her hot tunes, such as "Dance, Dance, Dance", "I'm Good I'm Gone" and "Little Bit". Beth Orton acoustically moved through numbers from her 2006 album, including the bittersweet ballad "Conceived" and "Katie Cruel". On Sunday, Brian Eno-derived Swedes Tape recalled Mogwai and a late Radiohead, before the weekend finished spectacularly, with Camille, The Buzzcocks, then the great man himself, Leonard Cohen.
The poet-cum-20th century oracle steered the assembled throng through a sing-along of any of his hits that you could hope for, finishing with a flamboyant bow that summed up the weekend's timeless theatricality. As exhausted people drifted home on Monday morning, wistfully pining for more, the overwhelming sentiment was a wish for everything to vaunt such effortless effervescence as Cohen. Jumpsuits just aren't necessary.
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