Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Blog: Oya Festival - Day One

(Originally published on The Fly)

A trip to the Edvard Munch Museum, just a stones throw from the festival site, provides a morning of screams to kick off proceedings. What feels like the opening of the festival is actually the second day, with the first day proper being dedicated to Norwegian acts only. However, on the festival site, the local talents must feel somewhat overshadowed by the juggernauts flown in from Britain and America to headline each day.

If you have £12 in Norweigan Krone to your name, you can do worse than pick up an Illegal Burger for on-site lunch. £9 in Krone will get you a pint of local lager to go with it too. “Festival prices” are a sore subject in the UK, but in Norway they are on another level.

As the majority of punters leisurely basked in the late afternoon sun, Dominic Maker and Kai Campos of Mount Kimbie got down to business. Keeping a hot and bothered afternoon festival crowd entertained for almost an hour was always going to be a stretch, and at times it felt like the heat had sapped all energy from the crowd. However, the final hurrah of of “Made to Stray” followed by “Carbonated” made sure band and crowd alike left the set in a state of sweaty glee.

In comparison to the heaving masses running around the festival site in Tame Impala t-shirts, the turnout for the band’s set on the main stage was surprisingly low. Probably owing to a poorly-timed clash with Wu-Tang clan, the band find themselves playing to a crowd barely half the size of their giant Hammersmith Apollo London only a month before. Despite this, the boys play through first and second album tracks in far tighter and more enjoyable manner than their meandering, five-minute long jams that they’ve been favouring so far this year. The setlist was given a much-needed shake-up too, and finishing with ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ gathered the biggest cheer of the night from the crowd, small as it may have been.

At the second stage, DJ Mathmatics warmed up the crowd for Wu-Tang’s arrival, and was greeted with a sea of W-hand signs from a crowd that eclipsed any others that the day had seen so far. Slowly, the clan began to fill the stage, starting with founder member the RZA, followed by the likes of Ghostface Killah and Rakewon. However, it wasn’t until Method Man arrived three songs in that things took a turn from the hedonistic to pure brilliance. 

With a presence like no other in hip-hop (as hard as others try) the man born Clifford Smith borders unbelievable arrogance to whip punters into a frenzy. It works though, and Wu-Tang powered through their greatest hits to a rapturous reception, including a tribute to the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

The evening was leading up to a headline set from Blur, a band that have been back on the festival scene for so long now that it’s become increasing difficult to believe they were ever away. A slow start left the band looking slightly miffed, in stark contrast to the 50,000 screaming every word back at them in Hyde Park last year, but it’s hard to know how much of Damon’s cockney drawl makes it through the language barrier. Thankfully, the horde watching on ballooned with each song, as people joined from across the park to witness a spectacular tail end to the show. Finishing on “Song 2” ensured everyone left the park singing from the same page, regardless of nationality.

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