Review: Saturday @ Beach Break Live
This article is pending translation.
With the weather looking as rough as some of the hung-over revellers, Saturday at Beach Break Live could have got off to a very sluggish start.
Yet after the delights of free bacon at the launch of the Beach Break founder’s new charity venture, the student-aimed Crazy Raising website (akin to Just Giving), Levi Roots added flavour to proceedings as he opened the main stage with the should be classic Reggae Reggae Sauce. Yeah, that one off the TV. Sporting branded tees and handing out free bottles of the stuff into the crowd, the colourfully clothed backing dancers gave the noon-time performance a celebratory air whilst Root’s animated set was strong enough to divert from the less than subtle product placement.
In the covered comfort of Chai Wallahs, Cornwall’s Willie and the Bandits impressed with their blend of folk, blues and rock and helped to persuade the gathering crowds into the afternoon. Armed with an electric cello, varied percussion and some exquisite dreadlocks the three-piece really hit their stride with the steamy Jack The Lad before rounding off their set with a marvellously folked up cover of Money For Nothing.
Elsewhere, Coventry’s Ghostpoet braved the elements as he soared through songs from his Mercury Prize-nominated debut, Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam, as well as performing a handful of new tracks. Coming onstage with a series of plastic sheets to protect his kit and unsurprisingly distracted by the buffeting winds, the hazy-vocaled MC proved his undeniable talent and increasingly assured live presence with a solid performance. The meditative lyrics of Survive It and Liiines and his subtle basslines could have been out of place in amongst the more brash Saturday line up, but he played to the festival crowd whenever his songs allowed - his lo-fi, lonely brand of hip-hop feeling right at home.
Next up on the main stage was techno/indie trio The Whip, whose often safe, predictable sound was not half as ferocious as their name suggests. The band showed plenty of growing room but lacked that onstage fight that you would expect from a well-established dance outfit - theirs was a somehow half-hearted set. Scroobius Pip however didn’t pull any punches as he burst into his ferocious combination of hard-hitting witticisms, dynamic rap, forceful basslines and crowd-pleasing banter. His impressive vocal dexterity and clever, provocative lyrics made for poetry at its most cutting edge; from the full-blown The Struggle to his angst-filled “nod to spoken word”, Broken Promise. “This is to anyone out there who’s still breathing,” he bellowed; a must see for any festival-goers this summer.
Then came Labrinth with his chart-friendly mix of summery synths and memorable melodies, perfect for a Saturday afternoon by the beach. The fact that it was still raining only added to the aptness of Let The Sunshine whilst cover of Tinie Tempah’s Frisky was greeted with cheers. Taking lead guitar on many of the tracks, the Hackney-born rapper rounded off his set with Earthquake and certainly left a considerable mark.
Zimbaremabwe then brought a world music element to Saturday evening, with their feel-good Zimbabwean reggae direct to Chai Wallahs by way of Brighton. A million miles away from the main stage pop, the majestically dressed front man played the traditional stringed instrument the mbira usually used in the Shona culture for spiritual ceremonies. Their truly incomparable sound only reinforced the festival’s unanticipated diversity.
Sending things straight back into the mainstream was DJ Fresh, with his insanely popular drum'n 'ass and dubstep combo. In a full frontal collection of smash hits, including Hot Right Now, Gold Dust and, it was all going very well until the bands in-house vocalist screeched through a karaoke worthy version of Coldplay’s Paradise. However, normality was soon restored as Louder led to an audience eruption, to the extent that one my close neighbours’ noodles ended up all over my pac-a-mac.
And then, as the fireworks and lasers splashed against the skyline, Beach Break regular Dizzee Rascal set the night alight with a rampant selection of grime-turned-pop tunes and his renowned live oomph. The majority of the 17,000 students flocked to the main arena and were in for a treat. Things were grimed up to start with; Road Rage, Heavy and Sirens leading into dance favourites Dirtee Love, Holiday, and Dance Wiv Me. A welcome trio of singles from modern classic Boy In Da Corner of I Luv U, Fix Up, Look Sharp and Jus' A Rascal were a nod to his original breakthrough sound, whilst the DJ Fresh collaboration The Power opened up the encore. Dazed by the sheer volume of chart-topping material at his disposal, we were then treated to 2009 anthem Bonkers not once but twice. Saturday at Beach Break ended with a mighty old mosh.
Sunday to come.
- Preview: Beach Break Live
- Review: Ghostpoet @ Clwb
- The Mercury Prize 2011: Nominees
- Review: Friday @ Beach Break Live
- Review: Sunday @ Beach Break Live