Splendour 2010

Nottingham’s one-day mini music festival actually ticked a few boxes this year.

Date: July 24, 2010

Venue: Wollaton Park, Nottingham

Set in the beautiful grounds of Wollaton Park with Wollaton Hall casting its curious gaze over the city’s Splendour Festival, this once quaint little get-together is ever-expanding, and this year’s headliners, the Pet Shop Boys, are testament to its growth.

More on them later, but first, after local lot Ronika, Fists and Frontiers have got the party started, fellow local lads Dog is Dead offer up some funk – blissful, sax-fuelled funk that hints at ska influences from the 80s, before Chicago-based fun-poppers OKGO open a can of funky international pop-rock on the Main Stage.

Athlete, meanwhile, are one of those bands that have more tunes than you think. Unfortunately, although a few are aired, including their most famous track, Wires, there are too many lulls in their somnolent set.

The same cannot be said of The Noisettes, who are a kinetic charge of sexy soul and sass.

Leading lady Shingai Shoniwa wears little more than an embellished bathing suit, and she’s gracious, gorgeous and brimming with spirit, frolicking untamed on opener Don’t Upset The Rhythm.

Whilst Terrorvision single-handedly cater for Wollaton Park’s ‘lad’ element with their boisterous, fun-time rock, and Calvin Harris gets delayed by technical hitches before pumping out youth-friendly euphoric dance ‘choons’, Starsailor front man-turned-solo artist James Walsh is slumped over a Technics piano playing Starsailor classics Silence is Easy and Alcoholic in the Court Yard.

He then picks up his guitar and treats us to an acoustic showcase of his new solo record, his voice the unique soaring vocal enigma it always was.

Elsewhere, those old indie stalwarts Shed Seven close the Ridgefield Stage featuring a triumphant set of 90s classics like Chasing Rainbows, Speakeasy and Going For Gold. They end with rapturous applause just in time for tonight’s headliners.

The Pet Shop Boys have seemingly been around since God were a lad, but they still know how to put on a show.

Their set is a cubism work of art; a masterpiece of performing arts, with a plethora of lights, dance and music.

Dancers with cubes for heads augment a backdrop of more cubes, built up to form a canvas for a myriad of colourful projections.

It provides the perfect visual accompaniment to their back catalogue of hits like Heart, It’s A Sin, Go West and West End Girls, and a mash-up of Domino Dancing and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.

It’s a glitzy ending to the festival, a festival that’s been full of joy and splendour.

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