A review of the Sunday at Rockness 2012 by Frank Finlayson. Photos by Thomas Bisset and Frank Finlayson.
With many, or should I say a few as the site was still quite sparse around lunchtime, making their way out of the campsites, a first stop at the Clash tent would have found them GUN who were the perfect way to blow away the cobwebs. Full on classic rock, and just off the back of an appearance at Download yesterday. Meanwhile, there was just enough time to catch the end of The Little Comets on the main stage, which they rounded off in their inimitable style with new single ‘Jennifer’.
Back at the Clash Tent, All The Young show firmly which side of the rock and dance divide they stand announcing towards the end of their set that there were some proper bands on today: Ash, The Rifles and Biffy later on. They also took the opportunity to hammer home their credentials too.
A return to the main stage, saw that Rockness institution that is The Cuban Brothers. Doing the best to get the party started with their mix of music and humour, they did entice a few more of the walking dead out of their slumber. Rockness without the Cuban Brothers would not be Rockness at all.
To Kill A King are an interesting bunch. Last year I really didn’t get them. Maybe it was the weather, the Circus tent or possibly a mild hangover, whatever it was it just didn’t excite me. This year though, with me a lot less grumpy, I could see the error of my ways, and Cannibals with Cutlery and new single Fictional State stood out. Who would have thought that a band could almost create a sing-along chorus about domestic violence? Strange what can be achieved even with the darkest of lyrics.
From the dark to the light, and the appearance of Kassidy on the main stage. They have played just about every venue in the area with the exception of Rockness, that is until now. It did appear that they spent most of their allotted time preaching to the converted and a hard core of fans, some particularly young, without ever connecting with those that yearn for a harder edge. Not a bad set, just possibly the wrong audience. Had it been Belladrum it would have been undoubtedly a different outcome. That harder edge was to be found in Golden Voice where The View were fulfilling their hastily rearranged visit with a near capacity turn out in this much larger venue to that of Saturday’s ill fated venture in the Clash tent. A possible error of judgement on the Saturday as an edgy Scottish band, in the face of a heavily orientated dance day, was always going to attract the disaffected. This may also have had a negative effect on the Kassidy turnout too.
So who was going to save the day and get the party started on the main stage? Cometh the hour, cometh the man. That man was Nile Rodgers. Chic took us back, way back to the seventies in a performance that united all. Quite aside from the standards that we all expected, covers of songs originally released by Madonna, Duran Duran and David Bowie did not feel out of place, and positively brought warmth to a cold June’s day.
Friendly Fires followed on and front man Ed Mac had obviously been infected by the vibe left on stage by Chic, dancing infectiously as if possessed throughout their slot. They served their faithful well, and with a growing crowd, and expectation, gaps were beginning to close, even on the hill. The guy to take it through to the finale was Zane Lowe. Zane kept it ticking over with a solid DJ set, acting more as conductor to the party and getting everyone in best shape for the arrival of Biffy. This was some traffic back and fore at this point to the adjacent Golden Voice with the final big dance act taking its bow, Knife Party, but by the time of Biffy’s appearance normal service was resumed.
Biffy Clyro. What can I say. It would appear that a sizeable chunk of the Rockness budget went on this epic visual display. Not content with a big, big sound, which you are always guaranteed with Biffy, but a sizeable amount of pyrotechnics sealed the deal and Biffy emerged triumphant.
On the positive side, one or two mishaps aside, the overwhelming feeling was that this was a success. All that was missing was the sun at times. On the down side, one less person is going home from the festival this weekend. One death is one too many and the cautionary words of Zane Lowe in his set no doubt brought it all home to many.
So until next year…