Despite day two's line-up being topped by the mighty Pixies, today is arguably the weakest day as a whole - which says a lot about the standard of this festival when Grimes, Pixies and Slaves are all playing on the same day. Regardless of the big names though, there are some unpolished hidden gems waiting to be found. Take Belako, for example, a garage-punk outfit from Spain that are fairly well-known in their home-country, but essentially unheard of back here in the UK. Their garage jams and sludgy hooks have the crowd in the palm of their hands, and on-lookers reluctant to leave. Utterings of, "Who's this band?" and, "What's their name" act as a reminder that although there is a language barrier, the music speaks for itself.
Due to the unforeseen power shortage during Grimes, a gravitation towards BBC Introducing supported act, Blossoms, is ripe. After seeing this indie-pop band a couple of times over the past year, and being severely disappointed - there is something about their show tonight that convinces me that they are actually worth the hype. Travelling from the smallest of stages at Radio 1's Big Weekend in Exeter to a huge stage in a totally different country does not bewilder the five-piece at all. In fact, they seem purposefully built for these bigger stages. By encapsulating the simplicity of brit-pop and combining it with elements of the current indie-synth-pop dominating the charts is what makes Blossoms so tantalising live. Their love songs swim through the greenhouse that is the Carpa Stage perfectly, left rolling in your head for days.
The band on everyone's lips tonight are quite obviously Pixies. For a band that rarely tours and one that has been going for years, it's only a matter of time before they disband. With that in mind, and the anticipation that's been building throughout the day, this could go one way or the other. On stage, Pixies have followed the simplistic approach: no unnecessary back-grounds, no excessive lighting, just a strong focus on the music and the four people on stage. It's impressive and refreshing after yesterday's acts. Where Ocean Colour Scene earlier looked like an ageing dad-rock band playing down at their local, Pixies have aged well, and their sound has matured, sounding exceptional, proving that their nineties rock is still as important as before. But that's not without it's downsides; the lack of communication with the crowd and the blasting through of all of their classics in one lump to get rid of all the hangers-on just waiting for 'Where Is My Mind?', just seems a bit self-indulgent. The constant mental battle between wanting to enjoy it because it's "the fucking Pixies man", and the failure of the band to match the expectations of their live set because it's "the fucking Pixies man" is disappointing to say the least. 'Debaser' does sound seriously ferocious live though.
After their phenomenal rise to fame last year, Slaves have faced both praise and critique at the same level, but their live performances just can't be faulted. Isaac's full-frontal approach to their live show, added to their angst and determination causes outstanding disarray every time I see them live; this set is no exception. Injecting the set-list with old, new and unreleased tracks keeps it all fresh, plus, placing 'White Knuckle Ride' alongside 'Sockets' reminds us that Slaves have always been giving us these ace bluesy, garage punk riffs. Ending with a triple assault of 'Hey', 'The Hunter' and 'Where's Your Car Debbie?', just after Laurie gives back a lost wallet that ended up on stage proves that the nice guys are doing punk and they're doing it fucking brilliantly.
Featured image also by Javier Rosa.