Sunday, 8 July 2012

RockNess - Friday Review

t might have taken a while, but finally here is the first part of our Scottish Fiction review of Scotland's most scenic festival, RockNess...

Arriving at the shores of Dores early on Friday afternoon for my maiden RockNess the first thing I noticed was just how much smaller RockNess is from T In The Park.  For those more experienced in RockNess than myself that might sound a tad obvious, but with seven previous visits to T I guess I was expecting a sprawling campsite and the ominous long walk to get there.  Thankfully the bus dropped us pretty much at the gate, and after a short jaunt it was time to pitch the tent!

Usually at a festival you've got the chance to catch a couple of bands before the ones you've most been looking forward to, however first up on the main stage, hot on the heels of their second album 'Tree Bursts In Snow' was Admiral Fallow.  The Glasgow indie-folk band opened with old favourite 'Subbuteo', the pounding of the bass drum reflected in the nodding heads of the crowd who had turned out to see them.  And the nods soon turned to dancing with the fantastic 'These Barren Years', showing exactly why Admiral Fallow deserved this main stage slot.  It was the opportunity to see a live airing of the new material that was the real pull, so with the crowd firmly onside, Louis introduced their recent single 'The Paper Trench'.  Punchy and full of energy, it's been an inclusion in live sets for a while, but on the back of the songs release has gathered more wider reverence.  'Isn't This World Enough', 'Guest Of The Government' and 'Brother' all from the new album followed, as the crowd at the main stage began to grow.  It was great to see Admiral Fallow getting the chance to play the main stage (Scotland's biggest festival instead has shunted them onto the BBC Introducing Stage) and also to see them getting a decent sized crowd.  The band made the wise choice, for a festival performance at least, to keep their more gentle material back, and ended their set with the rip roaring 'Squealing Pigs' and the joyous 'Old Balloons'.  Cracking stuff to kick off the Friday evening!

Returning to the main stage later that night it was the turn of Londoners Noah And The Whale to bring the indie folk.  Armed with violins and guitars, the band drew upon their back catalogue as well as their recently successful album 'Last Night On Earth', swapping effortless between the joyful quirky pop of '5 Years Time', the more classical inspired 'Love Of An Orchastra' and the melody driven pop of 'Tonight's The Kinda Night'. 

It was clear who most of the crowd were here for, and with Friday night clearly being indie-folk night at RockNess Noah And The Whale were the perfect prelude to the headliners. 

Mumford & Sons, despite only having one album to their name, have enjoyed major popularity thanks to their jig inducing tunes.  Whatever you may think of them, some hate them, some love them, I think they are ok, they do get the crowd going.  Songs like 'Little Lion Man' and 'The Cave' were made for festival occasions like this, and fuelled with many many beers I danced like a hillbilly at a ho-down.  The band kept the momentum going, rattling through their debut album 'Sigh No More' with vigour.  The only time the pace dropped was for the airing of a few new songs, always a dangerous move with a festival crowd.  However the general consensus from the swelling crowd was that the Mumford lads, with their four person driven harmonies and folk washed meoldies were a hit.  And with Mumford & Sons drawing to a close, it was onwards, into the night for more alcohol fuelled fun and campsite antics.

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