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Summer Party Review 2011: The Headliners

Feeder

Ah, Feeder. It’s more than likely that most of us here at Nottingham have joyfully chanted ‘CD player-ayer-ayer’ in some guise or another. No doubt, they have been – alongside Ash and Lostprophets – consistently one of the best British ‘single bands’ of the past decade.  But now, twenty years into their career, do they really serve more of a purpose for today’s music lovers than being a nostalgia trip? The initial evidence suggests perhaps so. Kicking off with “Feeling the Moment”, the band is a tad lacklustre and as they continue to plough through a handful of lesser well-known tracks, the crowd begins to fall flat and those on the fringes drift away. ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’ gets the crowd engaged once more before those familiar chords from ‘Buck Rogers’ send both beer and limbs flying – alas, it’s only a tease. Clearly Grant Nicholas is fully aware of the fact that, while having a plethora of crowd-pleasers in his arsenal, “Buck Rogers” remains their defining hit and an anthem that sends the amassed students wild. From here on in, things pick up dramatically. The roaring approval of the crowd is reflected as the band become more energetic and by the surprising, and suitably ferocious, closing cover of Nirvana’s ‘Breed’ we are treated to a class rock show.  In a landscape dominated far more by electronic and urban pop than when the band was at its peak, it was always going to be difficult for Feeder to remain on top. Nevertheless, Nicholas, who mentioned that work on their eighth album is drawing to a close, did more than just take the Summer Party crowd on a brief trip down memory lane, he provided the lively audience with a true festival moment and the joyous reaction has to be regarded as one of the highlights of the day.

 

Pendulum

The crowd were slightly cautious as the Pendulum DJ set took to the stage, uncertain of what to expect the initial reaction was not as vivacious as perhaps expected, had the whole band been present. However, after a few of the classic Pendulum hits were thrown into the air at Summer Party, things changed quickly. The crowd began to erupt; a reaction which we have to say was augmented by the energy of the boisterous mc. The set began with the standard rocky mix of drum and bass we have become accustomed to associate Pendulum with, this then blended into more dub-step. A personal highlight had to be the remix of Swedish House Mafia’s ‘Save the World Tonight’. A very large mosh pit soon emerged taking up a vast section of the crowd; recognition has to be devoted to the character solitarily stroking a flower in the middle of all the bashing around, he had guts. As ‘Slam’ was played it soon became apparent that this was not the let-down which many had feared when Chase and Status pulled out. It would be true to say that the DJ set was not as great as the Pendulum band, but an hour of unadulterated bangers left few disappointed, especially with an amazing finale of ‘Watercolour’.

Example

Example, swaggered onto the stage, clad in a leatherjacket and accompanied by his band (which he would later introduce, to the surprise of many of his critics) to bring the main stage of the Summer Party to its close. Example interspersed songs from his upcoming album ‘Playing in the Shadows’ and the album that saw him rise to fame, ‘Won’t Go Quietly’ to widespread acclaim. Whilst Feeder appeared to have the biggest crowd of the day, it is likely that this was as much to do with many going too hard, and having to go home, than an indictment on his role as headliner. Example, himself suggested that he struggled to fill his hour and a quarter- long set, in a rare admission of humility he told the crowd, after playing some of the lesser songs from his second album, ‘we’ve got the s**t songs out of the way now’. Nonetheless, there were many highlights to his set, with the singles receiving the most enthusiastic dancing, songs from his new album, such as ‘Changed the Way You Kiss Me’ got the crowd jumping whilst his second album provided the sing-a-longs, most notably ‘Kickstarts’ and ‘Won’t Go Quietly’. Whilst there were comedic elements to the set, more often than not unintentional, such as the positioning of the angsty song ‘Hooligans’ against his most downbeat song ‘Watch the Sun Come Up,’ (which live, lacked the wistful element it does on the album) the crowd were kept constantly enthralled. The fickleness or versatility of Example, depending on your view of him, proved to be a strength in his role as headliner as it enabled him to maintain a wide appeal throughout his set. His overall energy and the catchiness of his songs left the remaining contingency of Summer Party goers more than content, as the night drew to a final close.

Gabriel Szatan, Nicholas Batty and Jack Gilbert

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