Get Loaded In the Park - Clapham Common, London
London's Get Loaded In The Park one day festival has been held on the capital's Clapham Common since 2004, with the event usually taking place during the August bank holiday weekend. The festival took a break in 2010, returning this year, a little earlier than normal.
I've attended a few of the previous events so had been looking forward to 2011's bash. Unfortunately, the Festival hadn't been blessed with decent weather and I made my way to Clapham in the pissing rain! I wasn't that bothered about the weather to begin with but my day got off to a slightly disappointing start. US Lo-Fi Pop sensation Darwin Deez had been listed on the Festival's official site as headlining the Gigwise Arena but I could hear him playing while waiting in line to get in around half past one. I initially thought that the event had been late in opening and he was soundchecking but he had actually been given an early slot on the Main stage instead, which annoyed me as if I'd known I'd have got their earlier as Darwin and his band were very entertaining when I caught them at Newcastle's Evolution Festival last month.
Due to the the inclement weather I didn't hang around for full sets from the majority of acts on the main stage, only staying for our allocated three songs from the photo pit, then legging it for a bit of shelter but I did stay for the majority of Patrick Wolf's appearance, taking in a couple of his trips into the audience during his stint, making his faithful fans down the front extremely happy. Patrick wasn't so chuffed when his set seemed to be cut slightly leading to a tiny rant before he ended his performance with his new single "The City". I assume the glorious "Magic Position" would have followed if his appearance hadn't been curtailed but it was still a great track to end on.
I also managed to brave the elements for the duration of Noisettes set. The band were the main reason I'd headed to Clapham as I hadn't seen them since I covered their Union Chapel show back in August for the Fix. Lead singer Shingai Shoniwa is always an outstanding performer and certainly knew how to work the Main Stage crowd, raising their spirits in the now torrential rain. The band's set was taken from their Wild Young Hearts album but they played a new track towards the end of their show that sounded extremely promising, so album number three could be a winner.
I tended to stick to the Main Stage throughout my day at Get Loaded but I did pop into the Last FM Arena to see what Sheffield duo Slow Club were up to, only to find that they'd doubled in size! Rather than piling on the pounds the duo had expanded by adding a bass player and another drummer to their line up, fleshing out their sound somewhat, leading to a very decent set, culminating in a rip roaring run through of 2010 single "Giving up on Love".
My 2011 Get Loaded experience ended taking in Razorlight's first three songs, or should I say Johnny, the man with the big hat and the other two's first three?! It's pretty much a Johnny Borrell solo gig these days since the other three departed and Mr Borrell unleashed THAT promo shot of the new line up last year. That being said, there was still plenty of love in the arena for Mr B, with cries of admiration appearing before the group even took to the stage. I'm not a fan of the band but have heard most of their material. I didn't notice any major difference sound wise between the old and new line up so I imagine most fans will still be immensely entertained if they view any of the band's forthcoming appearances anyway, especially as Johnny still delivers as a front man. Had the sun been shining I would have hung around for the remainder of their set but I was feeling like I'd covered a three day event rather than a few hours on the Common, so I left the arena a bit on the wet side but still having had a pleasurable time. Let's hope for a bit of sun next year though....
British Sea Power