Bestival Review: The Wombats, Daughter, Grimes, The Cure

Picture by Elizabeth Isles

Picture by Elizabeth Isles

Bestival is pretty cool.

Compared to fellow contemporaries Turf and Field Trip, Bestival bathes in bright colours, gets it’s freak on and just dares you to not get immersed in all the beautiful and strange that takes place at the festival. There’s an inflatable church, there’s a weird device with all the drums on it, there’s random DJ’s everywhere.

It makes it all really fun.

On top of all that, there is music, which is what I was there for. Obligations prevented me from attending day one, but I’m an old soul and the thought of seeing the Cure again was more than enough to drive me to Woodbine Park on a bright and sunny day.

But let’s start from the top.

The Wombats – The Wombats have always been one of those bands I’ve wanted to see, but never had a chance to – until now. Playing an early set on Sunday (They even noted that they were playing to a “cosy” crowd), the trio from Liverpool got those who listened dancing about with their anthemic pop tracks. One of the things I think Brit bands do best is just write songs that are perfect for music festivals and The Wombats are a perfect example of that. So many of their tracks are primped and primed for dancing, clapping and sing-alongs. Tracks like “Tokyo,” “Moving to New York” and “Jump into the Fog” all have that element to them. Set closer “Let’s Dance to Joy Division”  was an obvious highlight and had everyone nicely energized for the night to come. I was very sad they didn’t play “Kill the Director” though.

Daughter – An odd choice for Bestival, Daughter’s folk rock set didn’t seem like it would mesh well at a festival where people wore unicorn helmets and animal themed onesies but sometimes quality just flat out wins over. Elena Tonra and her band played the late afternoon set with the delicacy you expect from them, drawing most of their set from their excellent sophomore effort Not to Disappear. Despite not playing to the largest crowd, the band’s subtle arrangements and strong lyrics eventually had the crowd swooning to the trio. I’m sure the crowds appreciation of them would have gone up tenfold at last week’s Field Trip festival, but to win over a crowd at Bestival was a more impressive feat.

Grimes – Flanked by a group of dancers, Grimes’ electro pop stage show certainly hit the visual marks. I had some issues with the vocal work, as I thought it relied on backing tracks however, midway through the set Clare Boucher mentioned how she sounded like shit because of a cold which perhaps justified some of my concerns. Regardless of vocal work, Grimes show was an energetic burst which highlighted all the great tracks on her phenomenal 2015 album Art Angels. Much like that album, Grimes set was pretty irresistible. How can you not move to “Flesh without Blood” and “Kill V. Maim.”

Picture by Elisabeth Isles

Picture by Elisabeth Isles

The Cure – Another strange booking, but maybe one that we speculate would help drive sales of Bestival, The Cure closed Bestival with a bang. Despite being plagued with some early sound troubles and being clearly annoyed with the dance tent a mere few hundred metres away, Robert Smith and his crew delivered a two and a half hour set that would please all the Cure diehards and earn them a few new fans as well. This is the fourth time I’ve seen them, and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of hearing them play the hits. When you can go from “Love Song” to “Just like Heaven” to “Lullaby,” what can you really do. It’s pretty damn magical. The closing encore trio of “Close to me,” “Why Can’t I Be You” and “Boys Don’t Cry” had all the oldies in the crowd saying fuck it to next day pains and dancing up a storm. When you can get old people dancing, you know you’ve done the right thing and The Cure always does the right thing.

All in all, I hope Bestival is here to stay. It dares to stand out and have fun, and we need more of that in life.

Posted on by Ricky in Everything

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.