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After a Saturday spent making more merry than I intended at Plumstead Make Merry, I went to Field Day festival in Victoria Park on Sunday, and found it had improved immensely in the 8(?) years since I was last there: bigger, more stages, and no more huge queues for bar and toilets. Craft ale and camper vans selling pulled pork burgers may be increasingly over-familiar sites around London, but they improve the logistics of this kind of event no end (and – somewhat surprisingly – much of the craft ale was cheaper than the cans of Default Lager on sale). Plus, the weather was pretty much perfect.
A not-exactly comprehensive review of the acts I saw:
Mac De Marco – entertainingly daft; some excellent tunes, some not-so-excellent tunes; strong potential for the joke to wear very thin.
Happyness – noisily entertaining enough, but seem unlikely to set the world on fire
Gaz Coombes – a bit sad: sludgy-sounding, with occasional hints of sweet melody; felt like a man looking for musical direction.
Matthew E White – should have brought his band. Those tunes really didn’t suit the transition from lush studio arrangement to ‘two blokes with electric guitars’. Pretty sure we weren’t the only ones to wander off, baffled, after a couple of songs
Hookworms – excellent stuff: tight and clear and full of, erm, hooks; a welcome contrast to Coombes and White.
Patti Smith – top marks for singing and sounding like it was still the 70’s; shame her band sounded so conservative, like an accomplished but complacent pub band playing classic rock.
Savages – intense and punk and dynamic. Another level from from everything else I saw away from the main stage. Properly brilliant drumming.
Ride – slick and entertaining; way above my expectations.

At £35 a ticket it was good value compared to many medium-sized gigs (though handing over £20 for 4 cans of Beck’s Vier will never seem like a good transaction). Back next year, I hope.