A scorching summers day was the perfect setting for the Ben and Jerry’s music festival. Set on Clapham Common and drawing a family crowd, the festival packed a good mix of fledging musical talent and established acts on one large stage. In-between acts gave a perfect opportunity to stuff your face tasting each of the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavours (just for the record I got to ten then started to feel a bit sick) have a go on a helter skelter, take part in a giant banana pugil fighting contest, air guitar or toe wrestling…and if that all seemed like too much work there were some farm animals to get you photo taken with…although seeing a drunk bloke harrassing some of the geese at the end of the day didn’t look like such a good idea.
Back to the musical entertainment…and after missing first act Telegraph, next up was Tommy Reilly, winner of this year’s Orange Unsigned Act – a kind of cool X Factor where the singers and bands play their own stuff but without the mass commercial success that Simon Cowell commands. The shy teenager has been thrust into the spotlight and put in a stellar performance. The young Scot has amassed a fan-club of screaming girls already who mobbed the front of the stage and then later followed the young Scot around the site.
Next up were Marina and The Diamonds with Marina drawing inspiration from a mash-up of female singer songwriters. Think Kate Bush meets Tori Amos meets Kate Nash meets 80s power dressing sparkle. Marina is currently riding the wave of the NME but she was completely outshone by the following act – King Cresote.
The crowd swelled with families and tipsy young folks spreading out across the grass infront of the stage to watch frontman Kenny Anderson, backed by members of The Pictish Trail, ply his trade of folk with storytelling to perfection.
Time for more ice cream and a quick photo op with some massive macademia nuts and pantomime cows before Manchester band I Am Kloot who sampled some new material and crowd pleasers, but without completely capturing the imagination of the crowd.
Teenage Fanlcub on any main stage at any festival at any time is never a bad thing but with the sun shining, minimal queues at the beer tents and the free ice cream still flowing we were on for a winner. Before the gig lead singer Norman Blake told me that the band had been looking forward to the gig as it gave them a chance to try out some new tracks from their soon to be mastered and released in January album, Shadows. If new tracks ‘Baby Lee’ and ‘Sometimes’ are as good as the rest of the album, we should have another classic Teenage Fanclub album in 2010. Other highlights were the beautiful ‘Did I Say’ and the set closer ‘Everything Flows’, first released in 1989 on Paperhouse, and apparently we still like it! A greatest hits set for London, but as Notrman said, expect some surprises in Motherwell on the 18th
With almost everyone now at the main stage (there is only so much toe wrestling and ice cream you can handle in one day) Super Furry Animals sauntered on full of character, humour and chilled demenor before a set which included Golden Retriever, Hello Sunshine and Rings Around The World…and plenty of cue cards prompting everyone with key words like ‘woah’ and ‘applause’.