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What to expect at Parklife

8 June 2018 | London Calling

The eagerly anticipated Parklife arrives in Manchester this weekend and so Go See This contributor Dan Lovatt talks us through this year’s highlights.

Festival season has arrived! Yes, it may not kick off in a remote humid haven on the coast of Spain, but it has arrived all the same, underneath the overcast Lancastrian skies. God bless Manchester. Heaton Park, a holiday destination as it seems to take days to cross it in its entirety, will be invaded for its eighth successive year from 9-10 June to host the mighty Parklife festival. Although it may seem on the surface, to be an excuse for the youth of today to jive mindlessly to elevator music, it is far more expansive, dexterous and liberating than that. Well, I might have to say that because I’m going and I have a god complex. But seriously, the back catalogue of talent on offer is comparable to the Olympics: a wide range of gold medallists in their field and the undercard competition trying to steal 1st place. Whilst it may be innovating on techno, house, lo-fi house or drum & bass rather than hurdles or the high jump, the analogy remains. So, I have been kind enough to spend the eve of the festival giving you guys the lowdown on the festival, and a few acts to keep your eyes peeled on.

The beauty of a day festival is that you may feel that you have completed an entire day’s work before 2pm. And I would highly recommend that you arrive by 12pm latest, as the set times are not released until the day, and you could end up missing three acts you were desperate to see for the sake of queuing. The days finish at 11:30pm, meaning that stamina will play a massive part in your weekend. Be safe and pace yourself, but you wise folk already know that. There is almost too much to do and not enough time to do it, so I would highly recommend buying the lanyard, which is a humble price of £5 (unlike the beer), because that will allow you to organise what stages you want to be at what time, which is cool because Heaton Park is gargantuan. It is also worth mentioning the travel pass, which will cut significant time and money of your commute to and from the festival, because I’ve heard torrid tales of taxi’s charging quadruple rates and buses taking hours to turn up. Other than that, you know the drill. Stay hydrated and stay elated. Now time for some acts.

Although it may seem on the surface, to be an excuse for the youth of today to jive mindlessly to elevator music, it is far more expansive, dexterous and liberating than that.

Of course, the headliners of the festival: ASAP Rocky, The XX, Lorde, Nerd etc on the Saturday and Liam Gallagher, Skepta, Carl Cox and Chvrches on the Sunday will be crowd favourites. It would be amateur to miss them because they either rarely tour the UK or the ticket prices individually are astronomical. So, make sure you are present. But for artists you may not have heard of, and considering it is a celebration of dance music and co, these are a couple you should highlight on your lanyard.

Aj Tracey (Saturday) - AJ Tracey is a grime juggernaut and has enjoyed a lot of success over the last three years. The guardian recognised this in 2016 and labelled him as a great new act to catch at festivals. His most recent EP ‘Secure the Bag’ entered the UK charts at 13th last year and he collaborated with American rapper Denzel Curry for the brilliant track ‘Alakazam’ which is a personal favourite of mine. A great performer, and certain to get your body bopping.

Crucast (Saturday) - If drum & bass tickles your fancy, which for me it definitely does, then you’ll know all about Crucast. If not, Crucast consists of five DJ’s: Darkzy, Skepsis, Notion, Mr Virgo and Bru C. Each DJ is a veteran on the circuit, and although between them they play a lot of local shows, it’s festivals where the collective really thrive with their innovative, jump-up infusions. Whilst the majority of people may be occupied elsewhere, it’s a great opportunity to catch the boys in action, in a less crowded space. You’re welcome.

Tom Misch (Saturday) - If you’re looking for a more chilled, lucid vibe, then look no further than Tom Misch. Tom is just 23, and has already established himself as a rising talent with his debut album ‘Geography, which features the likes of De La Soul and Loyle Carner. He has already signed a record deal with Kobalt Label Services and his music is an easy cocktail of dreamy indie with ambient instrumentals and melodies. Not one to miss. Especially if he brings out Loyle Carner.

Jamie XX (Sunday) - One half of indie sensations the XX, Jamie XX’s solo work is far from the sounds that catapulted him to fame. His electronica album ‘In Colour’ was not only a great debut album, but it received critical recognition with both a 2015 mercury prize nomination and a 2016 Grammy nomination for best electronic album. His work is truly innovative, peppering future garage, trip hop and dubstep to create one dazed but equally as engaging sound. His songs have the capacity to make you sway delicately from side to side and go wild and lose your mind almost effortlessly. It’s paramount that Jamie makes it on your itinerary.

Goldie (Sunday) - Goldie has been around for 30 years, and has dedicated those three decades to making extraordinary music and captivating art. He broke out in the 90’s for his work in both the jungle and breakbeat hardcore genres and then pioneered jungle basslines with soul vocals and orchestral textures over the top. Goldie also happens to be an actor and a producer (you may have seen him on EastEnders). His set at Parklife will consist of throwback tracks from 1992-94, when Goldie rose to prominence. If you’re a fan of classic jungle with a twist, then this is your man.

My Nu Leng (Sunday) - Finally, we come to Bristol based duo My Nu Leng. My Nu Leng cannot be identified by one genre, as they shift between heavy drum & bass esque basslines to pitch shifting vocals. They draw on a vast range of influences, which admitted by Jammo, one half of the duo, also consist of rock legends Pink Floyd and Steely Dan. They have made the list because My Nu Leng always play a blinding set, and I guarantee you will be dancing your socks off.

So, there we have it, with one sleep left until the masses swarm through Manchester like savages and bask in the brilliance of the weekend. It’s fair to say I, like everybody else, am excited. So buckle in and glitter up, and dance like Monday morning is an old wives’ tale.

Image credit: Richard Giles

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