Wild Beasts And Golden Animals Awaken Summer Sundae From Slumber

Barely has the glue on our wristbands set when a nervy, short straw-drawing official tiptoes onto the Main Stage and announces that The Streets have pulled out of Friday night’s headlining slot.

A sad sigh rolls across Leicester’s De Montfort Hall Gardens and… and… that’s it. No decapitating the messenger with bottles of piss, no ramming falafel into every bodily orifice or marinating him in lighter fluid.

It’s nothing personal against Mike Skinner and his swine flu-infected bass player (note: if you post songs online called ‘He’s Got Swine Flu, He’s Behind You’, jinxing is pretty much inevitable) – it’s just that this is Summer Sundae Weekender, and people are too damn relaxed to care.

Occurring at the tail-end of the festival season, Summer Sundae is the sleepy Boxing Day of music bashes. Permanently strewn with curled-up snoring bodies, if the levels of kids and serotonin weren’t pumped quite so high you’d be mistaken for thinking it was 7am in Glasto’s Healing Fields.

One of the cleanest, most child-friendly festivals going, the closest you’ll get to an illegal high here will be from eating too much ice-cream. We found Skint and Demoralised, aka Matt Abbott, tucking into ‘Bon Iver’ flavour:

Beating the unexpected heat wave and choice of ‘unlimited toppings’ ice creams for thrills are Wild Beasts on the Rising Stage on Friday afternoon. Boasting the dark-horse album of the summer in the form of ‘Two Dancers’ – and confidence which sees king Beast Hayden strut the usually deplorable double-denim look – they’re swiftly outgrowing these new talent slots.

It’s only a matter of time before they’ll be bestriding the daddy stages with the likes of Mystery Jets, who tonight manage the to elevate any snoozers to standing level with promising teasers ‘Lady Grey’ and ‘The Girl Is Gone’ from their as-yet-unreleased third album.

A kaleidoscope of fiery psychedelia, hair and corduroy, Brooklyn twosome Golden Animals are Saturday’s hidden gem.

Pic: Jason Sheldon

Equally on form is Joy Formidable’s Ritzy Bryan, who festival organisers halt mid-lunge to request that she turn it down a notch.

Sadly, no such officials are present later in the evening to have a word with Mr Hudson who can be found slapping the hands of stage-clawing teens, making “Which side can shout louder?” banter and attempting to make a cowbell look sexy (strictly Ed Friendly Fires’ territory).

Massive sell-out? Hell, yes. But if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, we comfort ourselves as we squeal along to sonic-mammoth ‘Supernova’.

Pic: Jason Sheldon

Giving Bombay Bicycle Club a run for their dinner money on Sunday are Flashguns. In these dark times there’s no image brimming with quite as much hope as a hooded youth who’s not afraid to knock out a tune on a xylophone: take a bow, feisty scamp frontman Samuel Johnston.

Meanwhile, Michachu And The Shapes’ tremendous storms of static and lyrical oddity provide comfort for any MetCheck workers present who got the weekend’s forecast horribly, horribly wrong. As the set goes on, it’s hard to ignore the befuddled looks of the rapidly depleting crowd.

Pic: Jason Sheldon

Nine years in, and anyone half awake knows that Summer Sundae is hitting the musical spot better than ever.