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A Field Day Festival Photographic Review
The Quietus , August 9th, 2009 16:03

The Quietus went to Field Day, got wet, and had a bloody lovely time. Here we present a gallery of photos and words from the festival

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SCUM & The Big Pink
SCUM

SCUM's taste is impeccable. As singer Thomas Cohen looms into view – wearing a full-length raincoat that couldn't be more 'early eighties indie' if it had a well-thumbed Camus novel peeping from a pocket – his band unleashes a bracing shower of electronic noise that, by and by, gives way to a succession of machine-gunning synth riffs backed with stuttering beats. Cohen's coat comes off to reveal a pair of Charlie Chaplin baggy trousers held up by braces, and a patterned shirt with improbable Nashville overtones. To repeat: impeccable. The rather prosaic problem is this: when Cohen opens his mouth to sing, you simply can't hear the man. His conundrum, it seems, is this: you can have reverb, or you can have volume, but you can't have both. Cohen loves a bit of reverb. On SCUM's stunning debut single 'Visions Arise', his echoing baritone evoked the glory days of Bauhaus' Peter Murphy. Yet Field Day must make do with a version that's close to an instrumental, despite the aware Cohen switching between microphones. It's tempting to blame the soundman, of course, but the same issue arose when SCUM played a (nonetheless very fine) gig at the 100 Club before Christmas. A rethink of their live set-up is urgently required. Still, there's much to appreciate in SCUM's scouring sonics. Initially a kind of Minipops Horrors replete with goth trimmings, they're now straying ever further into the worlds of digital hardcore, industrial clanking, and the back catalogue of Add N to (X), to whom synth operative Sam Kilcoyne has a filial connection. Fellow Moog abuser Bradley Baker competes with Kilcoyne to see who can coax the nastiest squall from his machine, while bassist Huw Webb, a brother of Horror Rhys, proves that theatricality runs in the blood, spinning on the spot and raising his bass above his head as he plucks out the spidery, thunderous melody lines that underpin the scummy maelstrom. The sense never leaves you that this band might just have all the answers. One day, perhaps, they'll make a great record, and everyone will pretend to have got it all along. NOK

The Big Pink

Delayed by a sudden downpour, The Quietus finds itself missing the first few minutes of The Big Pink’s performance. After finally making our way over to the Adventures in the Beetroot Field tent, we’re met with a considerably smaller crowd than initially expected and are reminded that perhaps the hype bubble surrounding The Big Pink’s Milo Cordell and Robbie Furze is more of a media concoction than the inkies and websites are willing to admit. On paper, the band makes sense, at least in a style bible sort of way. They wear plenty of black – this year’s new rave neon - their undercuts are sufficiently late ‘80s enough, and their music taps directly into that Jesus and Mary Chain goes POP sound the Dalston set currently loves. Yet in the flesh, the numbers don’t quite add up. Even with two extra members beefing up their sound, The Big Pink straddle the early ‘90s shoegaze/baggy fault line with a tenuous footing at best. The verdict is still out on the London band, but our thumbs are beginning to point straight towards the ground after today’s events. CU


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