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Electric Picnic 2008: Saturday

Day two, and Franz Ferdinand provide pure entertainment, That Petrol Emotion win the attention of a new generation and the Body And Soul area hosts the mother of all night parties.

Ruraidh Conlon O'Reilly, 01 Sep 2008



The greyness doesn’t lift: in fact, it’s a wonder the heavens don’t just open. It doesn’t deter Super Extra Bonus Party though, who just look delighted with themselves, bouncing around the stage and smiling like loons. Whether they’re caught up in the moment or celebrating the free Lyons Tea stall is uncertain (sustaining the Hot Press operation for much of the weekend, they gave out free Flakes too). Boss Volenti are present and correct, their drummer lashing into the hard rock madness like a force of nature. The folically-challenged Shaun Robinson of Oppenheimer is having a good one. “Seriously, is there steam coming off my forehead? I look like Moby…”. Airhorns are produced and the band fires party streamers into the crowd. Fun.

It is a good time to wander. There's Ulrich Schnauss doing his laptop thing. There's the oblique deconstructed weirdness of You’re Only Massive. And there's Cathy Davey. The scheduling demons have struck again with the Crawdaddy tent unable to satisfy the astonishing demand for the ever-charming Cathy, but those who are inside witness a performance that is both strong and incredibly delicate.

There’s something about the Picnic and reunions, with the Jesus and Mary Chain, MBV, The Human League and countless more reconvening in recent years. Added to the list is That Petrol Emotion, whose political punk has rekindled immense levels of devotion. Steve Mack is an exuberant wonder even after all those years, diving head first into the crowd and almost falling through the gaps. Though their songs are hardly etched into the popular consciousness the amount of goodwill is heartening.

Elbow (pictured) nearly steal the weekend. Summoning up almost ridiculous levels of everyman intensity, Guy Garvey strums as if his life depends on it, drapes himself in the tricolour and leads the crowd in a life-affirming singalong to ‘On A Day Like This’. “Throw those curtains wide/ A day like this a year would see me right.” Pleasing the main stage crowd is Wilco, with a be-hatted Jeff Tweedy and friends showing off some superb Television-via-The Band musicianship and the spirit of Americana.

Franz Ferdinand (pictured) aim to please. Kicking off with ‘Michael’, the boys dip into unheard new songs while enjoying the luxury of bringing it back to instantly familiar territory whenever things seem to flag. ‘Turn It On’ and ‘Ulysses’ are classic Franz, sitting pleasantly beside ‘Do You Want To’, ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘40ft’, culminating in all four drumming the life out of the poor drumkit. It is a performance of pure entertainment from Alex Kapranos, and someone seems to have taught bassist Bob Hardy stagecraft too.

As George Clinton and his P-Funk Allstars take it into the long night, on everyone’s lips is the circus act from the future: Lucent Dossier are holding court in the Body And Soul. As are ze Franz: hanging about and chatting to all comers, they’ve got the party spirit too. Strains of a rapturous ‘Born Slippy’ drift across the site from Underworld in the Electric Arena. The Lost Vagueness area contains all manner of distractions: a cabaret stage in a mocked up mental asylum, for one. Someone swears that Danny, the guy with Tourette’s from Big Brother, is fronting a punk band here. Anything goes, and one nomadic over-indulger seems to have forgotten what day it is. This is ok when you're in the crowd. Less so when you're due onstage.


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