Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Blog: Oya Festival - Day Two

(Originally published on The Fly)
After an apocalyptically rainy start to Oya day two, it’s the task of Local Natives to get the soggy crowd shuffling in their wellies. Starting their set off slowly, with a cluster of tracks from new album Hummingbird, the band struggle to keep the attention of the crowd, who snake off to see Rodriguez mid-way through. Unfortunately for the deserters, the second half of the LA boys set is where their trademark harmonies come to the rescue, and they finish with a triumphant trio of fan favourites in the form of ‘World News’, ‘Who Knows, Who Cares’ and ‘Sun Hands’.

Next is the turn of Danny Brown, a man who evidently knows how to have fun onstage. However, starting his set with four non-album tracks renders the crowd indifferent. Luckily, a barrage of tracks from 2011’s acclaimed “XXX” leaves a thousand Scandinavians putty in his hands, and by the time he joins the crowd for the entirety of “Monopoly”, things get a bit feral.

Mr. Brown’s belt choice doesn’t seem up to the task of holding up his trousers, and the crowd cheer as we get a glimpse of rear end as he hops back onto stage. Fortunately for them though, the polite Norwegian crowd are not exposed to any of his saucier stage acts this afternoon.

Oya’s first booking mishap comes in the shape of Canadian Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, whose dual-keyboard set-up doesn’t quite match up to the gargantuan space of the Sjosiden stage, the second biggest of the festival. Unfortunately, no amount of stage presence can make up for poor sound and a disinterested crowd, regardless of how much Claire seems to be enjoying herself. She certainly knows how to put on a show, clad in a floor-length velvet cloak and cutting some seriously bizarre shapes throughout, but her energy doesn’t rub off on the crowd, and you get the feeling a Grimes show should really be reserved for somewhere much smaller and much, much darker.

A first foray into Oya’s smallest stage nearly ended in tears, as the festival’s only tent boasted a winding queue to get in, as Iceage arrive with opener “Awake”. Fortunately, Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s growl is enough to force out the more casual on-lookers, leaving a tent a free-for-all by the time they launch into second track “Everything Drifts”.For all the plumes of smoke lingering in the dingy gazebo, it could be anyone up there, but there’s no mistaking that this was the real deal – Denmark’s hottest export since Junior Senior.

Just two songs into his headline set, Kendrick Lamar drops “Backseat Freestyle”, and the line “she make me come fast, but I never get embarrassed” tucked away in the second verse could not ring truer – Kendrick is in danger of blowing his load too soon by playing probably his most recognisable song after 5 minutes, but him and the crowd are having too much fun to care.

Luckily, he pulls plenty more out of the sleeve of his Frankenstein jumper over the next hour, delving deep into last year’s masterpiece “good kid, M.A.A.d city” whilst also dropping in choice cuts from the rest of his catalogue, including a riotous rendition of his part of A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problems”.

The crowd is unbelievably bigger than the one Blur managed to draw yesterday, and taking into account the masses at Wu-Tang yesterday, it’s clear that Norwegians take their hip-hop very seriously indeed.

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