This ‘Victorious Festival’ article was written by Ben Duncan-Duggal, a GIGsoup contributor
After a successful but rain soaked Saturday at Victorious festival, which was topped by The Flaming Lips, festival goers had performances by Ella Eyre, The Darkness and Super Furry Animals to look forward to on the Sunday. Compared to the previous day, the line up was arguably not as strong. That didn’t seem to bother festival-goers, however, who packed out the site to a far greater extent. They were rewarded with far better weather, with the deep mud from the previous day’s rain still etching scars in the fields.
They were also rewarded with a far cheerier afternoon. Whilst acts performing yesterday afternoon had struggled to counter the rain’s effect on audiences, Bipolar Sunshine’s brand of upbeat, synth laden pop drew a fairly large audience. His tracks sound polished, and feature many obvious points to catch onto. These moments in the tracks are usually uplifting, contrasting against lyrics which are often straightforwardly mournful. Bipolar Sunshine made the most of the opportunities the tracks gave him to engage with the audience, parading around the stage like he was playing the O2. It’s a shame, then, that the audience seemed to be made up in equal part of interested fans and curious bystanders. His solid pop music deserves more attention on and off the stage; we were left with the impression that he was one great song away from that.
The Darkness – largely a nostalgia act for anybody old enough to remember their early noughties drug addled rise and drug addled fall – were undoubtedly the highlight of the day. It was a ridiculous performance, visually and audibly. Frontman Justin Lee Hawkins performed in what started off as a light blue three piece but ended up as his boxers, and the facial expressions of the guitar players in the band suggested they were maybe enjoying themselves a little too much. It was, basically, like watching Spinal Tap. But it was also all incredibly good fun; the truck-driver overdrive snarled and finger numbing guitar solos played out in a way which was both entirely safe and sounded great. It was, in other words, good pop music and a good pop music performance. That the whole thing was done with a subtle layer of nod-wink irony only worked to make it more fun; funnier, even.
There was no irony whatsoever in Ella Eyre’s performance. She was part small time pop star, part children’s entertainer, with an often patronising style of audience interaction to go with it. Her energetic drum and bass lite style of pop has won fans across the airwaves, and their interest was replicated here. In hindsight it was always going to be a straightforward teen pop performance, with all the benefits and limitations that brought. Her fans were happy, but it could never be much better than that.
The Super Furry Animal’s performance, meanwhile, could have been great. With their stunning collection of songs, they could easily fill their 45 minute slot with their brand of challenging yet accessible psych rock. That they did – but that’s the problem. That’s all they did. It became less of a gig and more of an extended rehearsal, with band members playing their parts with totally static positions and expressions. That was up until the end. The band seem genuinely excited by The Man Don’t Give A Fuck and instigated a giant party, complete with the entire band plus two children in yeti costumes. The energy there was infectious, and it left you wondering what could have been.