Volvo Snowbombing, Mayrhofen, Austria
Friday 15 April 2011
Of all the new additions to the snow festival scene, it's Snowbombing that reigns supreme. Taking place in the tranquil alpine village of Mayrhofen, since 2000 Snowbombing has been dedicated to dance acts and DJs. The 12th edition, now expanded to 6,000 festival-goers, saw an ever-strong line-up catering to dance-loving party-goers, including Fatboy Slim, Ms Dynamite and Pendulum. Chase & Status's frenzied live show featured some of the vocalist contributors on their album No More Idols. Liam Bailey's compelling performance of chart hit "Blind Faith" set him out as one to watch.
Beardyman, the north London 28-year-old whose live club show featured just a fraction of the award-winning beatboxing with which he started out, interrupted his set to explain: "I am not a DJ. Everything you've been listening to I've been making up on the spot." It instantly set wonder rippling through the crowd, as he created his own versions of Massive Attack's "Teardrop", and James Blake's "The Wilhelm's Scream" with no pre-prepared music or samples, instead using keyboards, effects and beats to blend the humour-tinged musicality of The Avalanches with Aphex Twin beats, and his astounding chameleon vocals.
It was a suitable warm-up for The Prodigy, whose set provided the festival highlight. Blasting through all their big hits including "Firestarter", "Breathe", "Diesel Power" and "Out of Space", it was mid-"Smack My Bitch Up" that Maxim succeeded in getting everyone to sit. The crowd burst from the floor as the pounding beats kicked back in, in the most exhilarating manipulation of an audience I've ever seen. Stalking the stage like a caged wild animal, Keith Flint left the majority of the vocals to Maxim.
Any reason for grumbling belonged to the festival-goers unable to get into the 3,500-capacity forest venue – but the pounding sound system catered for the entire village. It was a jubilant ending to the high-energy festival.
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
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