Taking place on the beautiful grounds of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries, Electric Fields celebrated its 5th birthday in great fashion with headliners James, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Leftfield gifting the crowd with a memorable weekend alongside a range of other acts and performances to keep the crowd dancing all night long.
With an extra day added on to the usually 2-day festival, Manchester rock band James was there to close the first night of the family-friendly festival. Drowned in a brown fur jacket and sporting seizure-like dance moves, James performed a range of songs spanning across 7 albums, including hits ‘Sit Down’ and ‘She’s A Star’.
Despite having to restart 2 songs and frontman Tim Booth asking the crowd “Would you rather a perfect band who play the exact same set every night or a band who mess up now and then?”, the band powered through their set featuring a high volume of songs off their latest album, which, however, never really seemed to totally captivate the audience.
Opening proceedings on The Arc Stage on Friday was a young singer/songwriter Zoe Graham, who’s new single was recently added to Spotify’s new music playlist. Showcasing a wonderful sound rife with looped vocal melodies and guitar riffs, Zoe left the crowd seeking more of her sombre and emotive performance.
Yorkshire’s very own Avalanche Party made sure every single passer-by noticed and remembered their performance as they tore apart Vic Galloway’s BBC Introducing stage with reverb-soaked vocals and blinding guitar riffs. The frontman’s antics made it impossible to take your eyes off the band for a second as he ran rampant around the stage, and staring into the souls of nearly every audience member he set eyes on with direct eye contact – a band you never want to miss live.
Rock ‘n’ roll was rife on the main stage, as Glasgow’s own Rascalton and punk band Shame delivered powerful sets to the Dumfries crowd. After filling up a smaller tent last year, Rascalton were moved to the main stage this year and showed exactly why they deserve to be there as they exhibited their modern-punk sound through songs such as ‘Lust’ and ‘Police’. Stepping it up a notch even further were Shame from London, who’s politically infused lyrics and angst-filled performance attracted a large crowd to the main stage, including a certain Gallagher brother to watch on from the sidelines. Both these bands were on top of their game and was a definitive highlight of the weekend.
The main attraction for the night took to centre stage in the form of Noel Gallagher and his band. Drawing in what was likely the biggest crowd of the weekend, Gallagher performed High Flying Birds material such as ‘Holy Mountain’, ‘If I Had a Gun’ and ‘Keep on Reaching’ to entertain the Electric Fields audience, most of which seemed to be a hit or miss with the crowd until the Oasis covers came into play. With the crowd singing back every single word to ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, there was no one left disappointed by the end of the night. Oasis songs or not though, Gallagher and his band delivered a tight and headline-worthy performance, which he’ll be no stranger to by now.
As one headliner finished, the next begun on the BBC Introducing stage. Edinburgh’s Young Fathers packed out the tent from front to back with an astonishing performance packed full of energy and emotive intent. Every second of music was delivered with intensity and pure passion as the Mercury Prize Winners made a name for themselves. It was an experimental performance that brought something fresh and blood-rushing to cap off an excellent Friday night.
Saturday afternoon saw Crystal open the second stage, this time set up by DIY. A riff-driven performance made up with catchy melodies and the incorporation of a synth bassline helped them attract a healthy crowd to the tent and get the day up and running.
The Vegan Leather, hailing from Glasgow, brought a fresh dancy sound to the main stage and delivered with exquisite style. With all members wearing somewhat matching attire, they battered through songs like ‘Shake It’ and ‘I Take American’ with sheer style and charisma. An incredibly tight performance was worthy of the main stage at Electric Fields.
After hearing groovy, distorted riffs from Black Honey on the DIY stage partnered by some monochrome aesthetics, Public Service Broadcasting left the crowd in awe after their set on the main stage. Made up of 4 smartly dressed men, the band’s set up was very much electronically based with computers and synths at the go. Alongside a somewhat melodic live drum performance, Public Service Broadcasting didn’t need clichéd melodies or riffs to put a smile on the faces of the viewers and keep everyone on their feet.
Creating what was possibly the stand-out performance for me punk-rock outfit IDLES, drawing in a full tent they delivered a huge performance for the crowd to sink their teeth into. Fuelled by politicism and social justice, the band blended old school feeling punk riffs with Talbot’s nasty vocals (in the best way possible) and created an electrifying set featuring songs from their albums ‘Brutalism’ and ‘Joy as an Act of Resistance’. One guitarist leapt and bounced off and on the stage whilst the frontman screamed in the faces of the audience with strong and enraged emotion, cultivating one of the best live performances I’ve seen.
Leftfield closed the main stage and the final night of Electric Fields, with the bass hitting so hard it could be felt as far back as the food stands. With their dance music hits, the 90’s electro group set up a groovy and exciting finish to the end of a top-notch weekend. The tribal beats and robotic voices rocked the crowd alongside a blinding light show, it was impossible to look away for a moment. Sample upon a sample, matched with beating bass lines, Leftfield capped off the weekend in a ferocious way.
A memorable fifth birthday for Electric Fields with a record crowd and star-studded lineup, I believe they’ll continue through the years for a long time as a noteworthy place for festival-goers to attend and enjoy the scenic grounds and array of incredible music.
CHECK OUT HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS YEAR’S ELECTRIC FIELDS OVER AT IN: PICTURES –> HERE: