Rapper runs through a greatest hits set at the Manchester festival
A greatest hits Dizzee Rascal performance and a psychedelia-infused Flaming Lips headlining set were among the highlights of Manchester’s traditional student end-of-year blowout Parklife festival, which battled back from a typically drizzly Mancunian first day to see revellers bathed in sunlight yesterday.
Headlining on Sunday, Dizzee played his second comeback gig in the UK after performing at Evolution Festival in Newcastle the previous weekend, and his set was largely unchanged. The ‘Boy In Da Corner’ gave crowds a frenzied send-off into the summer with what amounted to a greatest hits set, older singles like ‘Jus A Rascal’ and ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ fitting seamlessly with smash hits ‘Holiday’ and ‘Bonkers’.
It was a different atmosphere the previous evening for Saturday’s headliners The Flaming Lips, who got their most accessible tracks out of the way early; ‘The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song’ and ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Pt 1’ were among a first 20 minutes replete with front-man Wayne Coyne crowd surfing in his renowned orb and then firing out tickertape into the audience. As the recent controversy with Erykah Badu proves, the Oklahoma band tend to do what they want, as they slowed down into an ambient pace – relying on groups of cheerleaders either side to constantly rally the audience with Coyne repeatedly asking, “Manchester to give me some love,” before ‘Do You Realize??’ sent people home happy.
Also on Saturday, Crystal Castles were in typically rambunctious form on their return to the UK, vocalist Alice Glass waiting all of three songs before diving into the crowd during ‘Baptism’. New material was light on the ground bar a brooding set opener, while they also played a cover of ’80s Canadian new wavers Platinum Blonde’s ‘Not In Love’.
Other highlights on the Saturday included Tom Vek – who Johnny Marr praised earlier in the day for his “great sense of melody” – in the Now Wave tent. He fused the six-year gap between his two albums seamlessly; Alt-J, meanwhile, attracted a huge early afternoon crowd on the same stage, with crowds struggling to get in to join sing-alongs to ‘Matilda’ and ‘Fitzpleasure’. Sunday meanwhile saw industrial techno trio Factory Floor flay the audience with a pulverisingly non-stop performance that saw the stage manager repeatedly have to warn them about the time.