Field Day – Franz Ferdinand, Ponds, Grimes

Victoria Park, London, June 2

In previous years, Field Day’s had a bit of a bad rep – only two toilets, only 12 per cent volume, moan moan moan, etc. This year: problems resolved. So, as one of the few London-based events to not be branded to buggery or full of hipsters, it’s probably just about the best festival in walking distance of the Tube. The line-up, meanwhile, straddles the gap between discerning muso choices and actually-quite-popular bands.

Early on we get The Internet, brainchild of Odd Future’s Syd Tha Kyd, dropping missives of a far more R&B-laden nature than her polarising day job, and Pond’s Nick Allbrook running around the main stage flapping his arms and behaving like the weird kid at school who always had a pencil stuck up his nose. So far, so buzzy.

Liars provide the day’s biggest letdown, noodling around deep within the drone-based end of their spectrum, always well clear of the hits. In the darker confines of a Proper Venue, Angus Andrew and co’s electronic meanderings will sit better, but in the blissful mid-afternoon heat, new album ‘WIXIW’ sounds, well, boring. A million miles away from ever being boring is a camo-clad, all-singing, all-flailing Grimes, who packs her tent out and then some, and thrashing noise-pop duo Sleigh Bells (now with an added third member onstage). Second album ‘Reign Of Terror’ may not have made the same slamming impact as their debut, but from the squalling old kicks of ‘Infinity Guitars’ to ‘Born To Lose’’s pseudo-sweetness, Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller prove they’re a live leviathan.

And so to the big guns. The Vaccines liven up their endlessly toured set with fresh blood, opening with Strokes-y new single ‘No Hope’ and closing with a heavier, punkier offering from their imminent second album. But the real coup of the evening cuts a far sharper silhouette. Returning to the live circuit, Franz Ferdinand make for a heartwarmingly familiar finale. At the time of their set it’s chucking down, but the dedicated and decent-sized crowd is testament to the fact that, a decade into their career, Franz do louche, sexy indie-disco hits better than most. Tonight they showcase four new bangers – from the wired jangles of ‘Right Thoughts’ (back on classic form) to the slower strut of ‘Brief Encounters’ – but while these tasters provide proof the band are still functioning, it feels like Franz have been away for so long the real joy is found in remembering how good they actually are. From ‘Ulysses’ to ‘The Outsiders’ to ‘Michael’ to a still brilliant ‘Take Me Out’, it takes no time at all.
Lisa Wright