Beautiful setting, brilliant bands and a shower of glowsticks – looks like festival season’s started (June 7 -June 8)

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Rockness Festival

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Rockness Festival

With the rolling hills surrounding the sparkling Loch Ness, it’s easy to get all dewy-eyed over the picturesque scenery. After all, it’s hardly the same as traipsing through Reading town centre with 48 cans of warm lager on your back, is it? Then, on cue, someone spews breakfast noodles over your trainers to remind you festival season has begun, you’re at RockNess and your eyes will soon be watering at the view in the Portaloos.


Day One begins with the hotly tipped Broken Records. The seven-piece Edinburgh band are often compared to Arcade Fire but actually sound more like Bright Eyes, and their winsome, heartfelt indie gains them more

than a few new fans.Things get properly joyful as Mystery Jets play ‘Two Doors Down’ and a cover of ‘Somewhere In My Heart’ by Aztec Camera, putting them in danger of giving the ’80s revival a good name.Meanwhile, Hercules And Love Affair provoke the entire crowd into a frenzied monkey dance before Calvin Harris makes the ’80s revival, er, crap again.


Today is all about The View, though, who play a total of seven new songs. ‘5 Rebeccas’ tells the tale of, unsurprisingly, five girls called Rebecca whom Kyle met during a single night on the town and comes across like a harder ‘Same Jeans’. Kieren and Kyle both sing on the other highlight, ‘Shock Horror’, which sounds like the band’s early demos, all heavy guitars and thrashing drums, with more than a hint of The Cribs. Scottish crowds love their home talent and go loopy for all the new tunes, then utterly mental for the still excellent ‘Wasted Little DJs’ and set-closer ‘Superstar Tradesman’. Then Fatboy Slim closes proceedings for the evening by dropping The Automatic’s ‘Monster’ into his set. That is, like, so last year’s joke, mate.


RockNess is billed predominently as a dance-fest, sort of a Creamfields of the north, but Sunday sees a whole host of indie stars gracing the various stages dotted across the site. The major find is Glasgow’s Twin Atlantic, who sound like Biffy Clyro before they went all commercial radio. In the Skins arena Does It Offend You, Yeah? literally tear the tent down, with James Rushent trashing the drumkit and fighting a roadie during ‘Dawn Of The Dead’. Next come the happy hardcore sounds of Late Of The Pier and then Hadouken!, who have to dodge the usual barrage of glowsticks.


Over on the main stage The Cribs receive some slightly unfair heckles when they have to restart set-closer ‘Wrong Way To Be’ twice, due to Ryan Jarman’s detuned guitar. “Sorry, we aren’t very professional and we haven’t played in a while,” he apologises meekly. We could watch CSS play every weekend all summer, which, since they seem to be doing nearly every festival again, is handy. Bounding onstage in a jazzy new catsuit Lovefoxxx is in an especially exuberant mood, probably because the new sleazy disco funk tracks from forthcoming new album ‘Donkey’ are dirrrty.


Earlier in the day Andy Burrows did a secret acoustic gig in the campsite bar, playing tracks from his solo release, ‘Colour Of My Dreams’, but it’s back to the day job in the, um, evening, as he takes his position behind Borrell’s ego as the drummer in Razorlight. OK, ‘In The Morning’ is a pretty decent song, and ‘America’ is probably even on every music snob’s guilty pleasures list, but the rest is just, well, a tad boring. “Thanks, we’re off to record our new album now,” concludes Borrell after set-closer ‘Somewhere Else’. If the album turns out to be anything like the new, as-yet-untitled song they showcased tonight, then it will be as overblown as the rumours that Nessie is in the St John’s Ambulance tent off her tits on brown acid.


Jamie Crossan