Saturday, September 01, 2007

Quick Review: Get Loaded In the Park

Another Bank Holiday in August, another quality weekend to add to the list of many. With most still rubbing their sore heads trying their best to recover from Sunday's Metro Weekender and the Notting Hill and Leeds Carnivals other, more professional amongst us are busy reporting what went down.

Embarking on sunny Clapham Common for Get Loaded in the Park on Sunday was a touch taxing. Sweaty tube systems, mislocated tickets and dehydration were high on the list of things one had to overcome. Nevertheless these minor challenges were defeated, shades were donned and SW4 was infiltrated.

Ascending on the park thousands of likeminded revellers brushed shoulders and carefully trudged over the swamp-like rubberised mud-based surface. Via the bar (and the ice cream van), we opened the map/ schedule and evaluated exactly how we were gonna see everyone we wanted... With highlights including M.I.A., The Beats stage, The Go! Team and of course Mike Skinner and The Streets it was a lot to get through.

Starting the afternoon with must-see M.I.A. – who failed to disappoint – performing previous hits from 2005’s Arular and the latest from her second LP Kala. An upbeat Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam let loose on the XFM stage and seemed to relish her moment in front of the packed following. As did The Go! Team on the main stage before The Dirty Pretty Things took over and rocked the afternoon away.

Even though there was a addition of Babyshambles, Pete “Jail Dodging” Doherty failed to turn up (apparently in rehab), the massive crowd didn’t seem bothered, they continued to drink the Carlsberg, cider and whatever was in those plastic “wine” glasses.

Meanwhile a moderately full Beats tent was entertained by a stylish Mitchell Brothers, a smartly dressed Professor Green, a yellow cardigan wearing Example and a That’s not a skirt it’s a belt-clad Neon take to the stage. Briefly joined by Mike Skinner and Ted Mayhem on the decks – who were told to turn it down ‘because of the 40k sound system’ at one point but definitely refused – they had the crowd up and down. Pro Green’s Clapham Common freestyle, Example’s light-hearted rendition of Britney Spears’ Toxic and The Mitchell’s latest track Michael Jackson being the highlights.

At 7.40 precisely (ON TIME, PLEASE NOTE HE WAS ON TIME) Mike Skinner kicked off his headlining set with Original Pirate Material’s opener Turn the Page. The reaction was as if everyone in the crowd had just one the Euromillions Jackpot or something and Skinner lapped it up. As cocky as ever, the frontman joked with the thousands of karaoke-like crowd in-between album hits. Naturally during the set we were made to Go Low (where everyone in the audience… goes low) and anthems like Let’s Push Things Forward and Has It Come To This soon followed. As the sun went down, Skinner kept dropping track after track as the oversized Metro balls (you have to see ‘em to believe ‘em) were crowd surfing and plastic bottles flew from end-to-end. Whilst we were dodging unidentified flying objects, Example lazily made his way onto the stage to play ‘Tim’ in The Irony of It All and briefly left before other big tracks continued The Streets leg of the gig, including Fit But You Know It, Never Went To Church and many more. The standard encore followed (some people actually left at this point… stuuupidly thinking it was over with 20 minutes left) as we were treated to a rendition of The Twang’s recent hit Either Way. Ladies were then “treated” to Skinner taking his top off, and the males in attendance had their eyes on a poor attempt from a young lady to respond to Skinner’s cries of “Let’s all get naked!!!”

A very well performed, thought out headlining set capped off a very impressive Get Loaded line up. Metro Weekender, we’ll see you next year.