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Live review

Standon Calling 

Standon, Ware, Hertfordshire

added: 16 Aug 2014 // gig date: 16 Aug 2014
reviewer: Nicky Kemp

Standon Calling - Standon, Ware, Hertfordshire - Printable version
Standon 2014 was a bit like taking a time capsule back to the 70s.

Friday night kicked off in the Cowshed where we whet our hips to Count Sizzle’s Latin-flavoured House-mix. A hop and a skip in search of a fix of live music and next thing you know it, we’re rocking out with Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls on the Main Stage, who had us all clapping our hands and singing along: “There is NOoOo God… There is NOoOo God” leaving the weekend wide open to possibilities. He talked quite a bit. “Frank’s getting on my nerves” said S and we all agreed he was quite earnest so we slipped off to the Big Top instead and temporarily back to the 1980s with a distinct 1970s twist; catching the tail-end of Greg Wilson’s ElectroFunk set; The Shadows Instrumental Remix playing us out, as I recall, the set falling a little flat, before getting on down to some hot House Tunes spun by none other than Felix Da Housecat.

On Saturday afternoon, in the spirit of this year’s ‘Lost in Latin America’ theme (courtesy of S’s last minute dash to Wembley’s fruitful Pound Shops and thanks to J’s extraordinary millinery skills) our party of Carmen Mirandas ∼ Chica Chica Boom Chic ∼ warmed up at the Main stage with The Cuban Brothers. Not quite what we were expecting; X-rated stand-up overlaid with Cuban rhythms and 70s funk being the main order of the day, ode to the hardest workingman in the biz, Mr James Brown. With Cuban Brothers’ generation Y and the crew busting some impressive funk-fuelled moves. But the Trouble with the Latin America fancy dress theme is, that Sombreros block your view. #Allowit. What? I couldn’t possibly repeat what the lead Cuban Brother said – though what with Standon being a ‘bambino-friendly festival’, I suspect any return billing might be scheduled post-watershed.

The afternoon went by in a haze, I, for one, cannot account for time spent but
about nine in the evening we re-emerged and there was Toy. Admirable. “They’ve got something of Arcade Fire going on”, E agreed. And an AV set that rendered the artists faceless silhouettes reminiscent of daft punk, a little too serious for some. “Toy weren’t exactly a Joy to watch, as such” said N, retrospectively. I suspect that’s because each track went on for about 5 minutes too long. Leading us to that night’s headline act: Public Enemy. Time for some ‘Hip Hop’, gang. “Yo! Yo! Put yer hands up… Yo! Yo! Put yer hands up”. There was a lot of that – and more earnest talk too. Not to undermine their serious political messages but “These guys are getting on my nerves now” said S about three-quarters through – and we were all in agreement so we nipped off to the Cow Shed instead for another slice of Count Sizzle before hot-footing it to the Big Top for DJ Yoda’s turn on the decks complete with live AV show. Whoop Whoop. That’s more like it.

Sunday morning and the hips don’t lie – mine were killing me. I blame the sudden dip in temperature overnight rather than my years. One thing is for certain; I was not considering a turn on the Trapeze - unlike two of our brave Carmens – N and J - who took to great heights with elegant aplomb – Much Respekt. With all feet firmly back on the ground we whizzed on over to the Dog Show. Determined not to miss it this year, like I did back in 2012 when I last came to Standon; I was so excited (what with having been a dog in a former life) and yet so bored ultimately, as all they did was walk around in a circle – twelve hot dogs – for what seemed like an eternity. I expected a mini assault course at least but the most action we got was some bum sniffing and the occasional bark. Whoopee. Hipster Dog; a Boxer sporting an array of trendy Med-ja glasses won my vote, I got to thinking he could easily take on Felix Da House Cat in ‘da Cool’ stakes - though I think some other dog won in the end, I’m not sure to be honest, I got bored and wandered off… looking for some other bum to sniff.

Indy headliners Maximo Park closed proceedings on Sunday night on the Main stage – with energetic lead singer Paul Smith wearing his hips, the high notes and that hat to great effect. Although I was struck most by his outward wholesomeness in stark contrast to that afternoon’s Cuban Brothers’ set. And when high energy and music once again turned to too much talk; we were propelled to move on before the end. Enter Grandmaster Flash - back at the Big Top - drawing our Sunday and Standon 2014 to a suitable close. Pop, Rock, Funk (what did you expect?) and Hip Hop. Serving up Tune after Tune after Tune – if only The Grandmaster had let each one play out a little longer - and if only he’d given it a little less of the “Yo! Yo! … Put yer hands up”, my hips might have never recovered.

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5 stars

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