Sad news, everyone – UK festival season is at almost at an end, with winter beckoning and only a smattering of exciting record releases to brighten up the gloomy months ahead. But hang on a second, it’s not done quite yet – Bestival takes place on the Isle of Wight this weekend, offering one last hurrah for British festival-goers to check out their favourite bands. Here’s our guide to the must-see sets you can’t afford to miss at organiser Rob Da Bank’s weekender as it enters its eleventh year…
After a set at Wireless Festival earlier this summer, the last scheduled UK date on Big Boi and Andre 3000’s reunion tour approaches, with their future uncertain: Andre sounded downbeat in an interview to the New York Times recently, describing a rocky start to their reformation at LA’s Coachella and making no mention of any future plans for the hip-hop trailblazers. Regardless of whether or not this is to be the Atlanta duo’s final farewell to British fans, expect a vibrant and bombastic performance packed with hits that hardwired the last decade of mainstream rap: songs like ‘Hey Ya!’ and ‘Ms Jackson’ that, all this time later, feel every bit as vital and fast-flowing.
Any one still doubting this Oxford crew’s festival headliner credentials – get ready to be silenced. Foals have always been a dizzying live act, ever since their days as a caterwauling party band, playing math-pop firecrackers to sweaty basement venues. Last year’s ‘Holy Fire’ however saw them up the spectacle on their live show even further, delivering in the form of lead singles ‘Inhaler’ and ‘My Number’ blockbuster crowdpleasers tailormade for massive stages. Bestival is their last scheduled show before hopping back in the studio: when I caught up with Edwin Congreave after one of their last headline slots at Paris’ We Are Green festival in May he let slip that “sketches” of new songs were in the works, with talisman Yannis Philippakis “on top of his game” with song ideas for their next album. “We’re not rushing into anything though,” he added. This may be our last taste of arguably Britain’s best live act for some time then. Better make the most of it.
‘Morning Phase’, Beck’s soft, sun-kissed 12th studio album, was released in February, but is far better suited to a hazy late summer eve. Expect his headline set at the Big Top on Thursday night in which case to be one to remember, as the Californian calls on slacker-psych classics like ‘Loser’ and ‘Lost Cause’ from across a glittering 20-year career to sit alongside gentle new anthems like ‘Heart Is A Drum’ and ‘Blue Moon’.
Searching for one of 2014’s strongest pop record so far? Look no further than La Roux’s ‘Trouble In Paradise’, a retro synth-pop supernova to admire. And so it should be, after five long years in the making – a span of time during which fans of Brixton singer, real name Elly Jackson, wondered if she’d ever return. Live reports suggest she’s more than making up for lost time now, though, with a breathless stage show that brings tracks like ‘Let Me Down Gently’, as well as fan favourites like breakout single ‘Bulletproof’, to vivid life.
Between Disclosure, Factory Floor, SBTRKT and Major Lazer, to name a few, the dance options at Bestival 2014 are outstanding. Top of the pile, if not the bill, however is Daniel Snaith, aka Caribou. The Thom Yorke-approved producer returns on October 7 with new album ‘Our Love’ – the title track of which debuted last month. Full of heart-warming melodies that bloom slowly into life over glitchy, skittering beats, it’s tipped to be one of the records of the year. His live sets are typically a far cry from the producer-behind-a-laptop staple of many an electronic maestro: backed by a full band and dazzling projections, they tend to be visual spectacles to match the immersive pull of his songs. Don’t miss.