I can hear things far away very clearly


11. Aug. 2009, 21:17

Fri 7 Aug – The Big Chill 2009

Oh man, we had some good weather for The Big Chill this year. As ever the festival starts with wet conditions - from all accounts those hardy stall holders who had to set up on Tuesday could tell you some stories - but those of us travelling on Thursday drove through the last of the rain and into dry conditions. There was a bit of mud to be found on site; most of it around the main beer tent which can make carrying a few pints back from the bar, well, interesting.
After Thursday it was a case of slapping on the sun block and hitting the shade every once in a while. And Monday morning it's back to grey clouds and a welcome chill to the air - no one wants to get a couch back home for several hours when the sun light is slow baking you.

Apart from the weather then... oh, there were some bands and stuff... and an afternoon/evening of zombie mayhem. Few thousand people dressed up as zombies to shoot some scenes of the film 'I spit on your rave' which basically means dancing to a Toddla T DJ set and then cheering the demise of delicious humans. The zombie hordes have a new hero, risen from amongst them, and his name is Geoff (or Jeff). King of the zombies, Noel Fielding, is on hand with some stuff that was funnier then last years Boosh-meh-ness and the director or someone was on hand to get frustrated and worked up when a field full of unpaid extras might not be the easily controllable bunch that he had hoped.
First time for me dressing up as zombie - found it most excellent. More blood? Please!

I Spit On Your Rave trailer

After zombie shenanigans it's off to watch some of British Sea Power score an old film; 'Man of Aran' - which is cool but not captivating enough to stop us wandering off for more drinks and to check out some of the action of the Crap Stage - which was a rock-steady nattily suited young lad dancing to some old ska. Early morning wobbly strolls around the rest of the site and then hit the sack.

Note to self: ask tent neighbours if they are likely to turn into K-hole nightmare gibbering shit-talking shouting never sleeping bastards. The quiet camping area might beckon next year. Fuck it, I'm 30 now, 10 years back I might have been wasted enough to sleep through it. These were not the poster-boys for any legalise-ketamin for the non-equine campaign, hell no.

Mornings at the Big Chill mean one thing: Mr. Scruff's Tea Tent - quality place next to the lake where you can get a large pot of English breakfast to accompany a bacon roll and the hopes you aren't about to get some shitty hangover.
Next door to the Tea Tent is the Champagne bar, if your feeling flush then fuck it, yr on holiday, open a bottle.
Afternoon should be spent trying out a few/lot of some choice drinks; Monkey Shoulder cocktail: 'Show me the Monkey' is a bit of a winner as is the Big Chill Frisky Bison peach flavour one - pitcher = good thing.

Some Bands:

First on the main stage and impressive glitchy, folky, sometimes urban, electronica from these lads. Not overly loving the singing but digging the vibe. Nice.

Modeste Hughes
Madagassi Modeste is an awesome guitarist with a sweet sounding voice - one of the best things about the festival is that 'world music' - whatever that is - is represented on the main stages not stuck somewhere else on it's own. Same for unknown electronica stuff.

Ramadanman & Brackles
Dubstep players playing stuff that was reaching out to the club rather than just to the bass heads. Lots of vocal tracks that were new to me and not many scene classics - things are moving on and dubstep is spreading virus like into other styles but from what I heard of this set (by no means much more than 30 minutes of it) I'm not fussed with this direction all that much...

Wildbirds & Peacedrums
Holy crap! Awesome stuff indeed! That's a good bluesy noise from a drummer and singer/sometime tin-drum player. Lots of dancing and plenty bewitched by Mariam is looks and sounds stunning. Proper.

Shit - where'd everyone go? Fucking Shackleton's on man. Shackleton. He's fucking awesome. Come back! Honestly the castle stage has been deserted by the time the bass kicks off but after a short time they return. If you play bass; they will come.
Billed as 'Live' this is Sam S basically remixing and mashing his way through his back catalogue while we get some quality visuals. The bass is rattling my cage - in good ways - and all is loud and heavy. Good sound system!
Oh, the little pocket guides to who is on had him listed later that day - maybe people didn't know he was starting when he did...

Chris Cunningham
Fun for all the family with uncle Chris doing his VJ thing. All the hits from Sheena is a Parasite and Windowlicker through to the scottish bird from the PS2 adverts and naked couples repeatedly and repetitively beating several shades of shit out of each other. Is it morally cool to dance to this stuff? Answers on a postcard to the Daily Mail please marked: 'Where the cunting hell was most of Come to Daddy?'
Harsh and very welcome.

Suns Of Arqa
Full props to these lot for been around for fucking ever but while I appreciate and clap and everything - it's just not my thing right now. Maybe I've not enough cider...

I would love to tell you about this lot because I remember that I loved them - it's just that I can not remember a thing about the set. Therefore I guess they were chilled and relaxing and didn't have naked dancers spontaneously combusting or slaughter a beluga whale on stage. Probably guys with laptops.

Penguin Cafe Orchestra or Music from the Penguin Café Orchestra
Advert music. Watch and listen and play guess-the-advert with yr mates. The ones in adverts sound ok. The ones that aren't in adverts sound a bit like them but not as good. Is there a correlation I wonder?

Jason Pierce brings the garage gospel druggy droney noise. It's all good but not heart stoppingly wonderful like I know that they can be. Come Together sounds good but I would have liked them to take things down a few levels to Broken Heart.

What. A. Fucking. Awesome. Set.
Completely different style since I watched them play their 'last ever show' a few years back. Tunes are reworked and mixed whereas they used to stand alone and it's a great way of delivering them to old ears in a fresh way. How much love is there for Orbital in the crowd? A whole lot.
The Box is a highlight as is Chime but - even though it's a bit naff - it's Halcyon which gets me grinning widest with it's mix up of Belinda Carlisle Heaven is a place on earth and Bon Jovi You give love a bad name.


...Sunday stuff up here laters...


  • rj_cunningham

    Orbital - My mouth was open the whole set! And when they mixed in Belinda Carlisle's 'Heaven Is A Place On Earth' I nearly died. I was in disbelief. For the rest of the evening until early morning, I kept going 'BELINDA FUCKING CARLISLE!' Haha.

    12. Aug. 2009, 14:28
  • humbert15

    Great review! this was my 1st Big Chill since they moved to Eastnor (went to 5 or 6 at Larmer Tree Gardens) and I was worried it was going to be too big and impersonal, but I reckon it actually benefited from being bigger - there's much more variety and vibrancy thanks to the size. So I'll be back. Oh yes :) I was sorry to miss Shackleton but kind of wished I had missed Spiritualized...perhaps I'm being unfair cos I was all *prepared* (if you know what I mean) for Justin Robertson, Orbital and the awesome Horsemeat Disco crew, but Spiritualized sounded like a sad old prog rock band to these over-excited ears. Anyway, great festival, nicely captured in your review :)

    13. Aug. 2009, 18:18
  • boxgina

    haha I actually went to the big chill this year JUST to see Orbital again... as ever... they did not disappoint... this was one of the best sets I have ever heard them play...!! Having said that... the whole festival was awesome... can't wait to go again next year!!!!

    13. Aug. 2009, 20:42
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