Love them or hate them, you can guarantee the Flaming Lips will put on a flaming good show. At the band's only UK date this year, they did not disappoint.

The crowd around the main stage throbbed in the run up to headlining band the Flaming Lips, and not least to see the preliminary acts which included Goldfrapp and Seun Kuti. The day began, however, with some rain showers and delicious treats on the smaller stages.

It’s a big challenge to make the most out of one day at a festival, and, tempting as it may be, staying glued to the front barrier at the main stage will mean you miss out on a whole load of small stage goodies. At Lovebox the sweetest find of all lurked on the Clash Stage and came in the form of Dead Kids.

Looking like they had just stepped out of an 80's vintage shop (all the rage at these fashionable London events) the Dead Kids didn’t make a particularly striking first impression. Once they’d got into their stride however, lead singer Mike Title made sure everyone in the crowd knew exactly who this band were.

Dead Kids took a group of cautious music fans who didn’t have a clue what the band were called and transformed them into an energetic mass of waving hands and dancing bodies screaming their name and attracting a bigger crowd than could fit in the marquee. They probably got one of the best receptions of the entire day and the only complaint was that the show was over way too soon.

Operator Please were another highlight of the day. The band has already got a respectable following and this helped charge the atmosphere as they belted out some smashing tunes despite all being too young to order a drink at the cider bar.

Ebony Bones didn’t disappoint on the Great Escape Stage. The rising star attracted a lot of attention after an influx of TV appearances. The sound quality on this stage didn’t quite live up to the others, but it was a cracking performance all the same.

The relaxed feel of the day started to melt away as excitement built for the two headlining acts. Goldfrapp took to the stage, singer Alison Goldfrapp in a suitably short and unorthodox dress, and the rest of the band wearing white and surrounded by stage props borrowed from 'The Wicker Man' film set (the old version, not the remake of course).

As the songs kicked in, many from the new album, with big hits like ‘Ride on a White Horse’, ‘Number 1’ and ‘Strict Machine’ also making a welcome appearance, the crowd seemed a little bemused as two dancers wearing night dresses made to fit a five year old started pole dancing on stage. Later they returned wearing wolf heads which confused things even further, but the good news is that the music was so good you could just about manage to block out the weird dancers.

One of the best surprises of the day was when Wayne Coyne of Flaming Lips strolled on stage to do his own sound check. After the crowd had got his attention he treated them to a shower from his streamer gun and then decided to begin the show in his big plastic man sized hamster ball. It sounds odd, but it was fantastic.

The Flaming Lips stormed the stage starting the show with ‘Race For The Prize’ from the album 'The Soft Bulletin'. They also brought along some dancers in strange costumes, but in context with a show that was larger than life, the 20 or so dancers dressed as super heroes and pink aliens just added to the spectacle.

Second song ‘Free Radicals’ had everyone singing along. Streamers were fired from cannons, shiney paper rained on the crowd and everyone seemed to be having the time of their life.

Coyne loved every second of the show and spoke to the crowd at every opportunity, dedicating ‘Vein of Stars’ to Goldfrapp, and announcing that if everyone sang ‘The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song’ really loud we would create a healing cloud of energy that could float over to America and maybe sort a few things out in the White House.

‘Do You Realize ? ’ was the finale, and what an end it was. The cannons continued, huge balloons were released and the crowd were like a group of children after a pint of sherbet. Even after the band had left the stage the thrill of the crowd continued. ‘What a Wonderful World’ drifted out from the speakers and instead of leaving to make their way to the tube, the crowd stayed where they were and sang along to the iconic tune. The music had to be turned off to persuade the crowd to go home. Now that’s a wonderful world.


The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Amy Derham and originally appeared at www.efestivals.co.uk













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