GIG REVIEW: OnBlackheath starring Metronomy and Julian Clary


WHERE: Blackheath

WHEN: 9 and 10/9

We’re not here for the live exhibitions from the celebrity chefs or children’s entertainment and arrive an hour later than planned because one of the acts we wanted to see pulled out at the last minute.

  • Read on for reasons including the highlights from Saturday which are Metronomy and Basement Jaxx

De La Soul were third on the bill on the main stage on Saturday but were unable to make it when their travel plans were ruined by the hurricanes across the world.

So we arrive at 6pm for the fourth OnBlackheath and are immediately struck by how many young parents with children there are here. The great thing about urban boutique festivals like this one is that visitors can choose when they want to arrive – and when they want to leave.

The undoubted highlight of Saturday is the hour-long set by one of our favourite acts, Metronomy. The 15-song set includes a funky Old Skool, joyous Love Letters (about the first rush of love, explains lead singer Joseph Mount) and triumphant The Look in which Mount references the end of summer.

It’s appropriate, not least because the band’s last album was called Summer 08, but also because there’s a definite chill in the air for what must be one of the last outdoor festivals of the season.

It’s the third time we’ve seen Metronomy and they’re almost as good as when we saw them for the first time at east London’s Lovebox festival on an incredible second stage bill in 2011 that featured Ed Sheeran and Example on the same night.

Mount jokes about this being the first and last heath they’ll play this year and it’s when he beckons drummer Anna Prior to join him on vocals for Everything Goes My Way that the band are at their most seductive. The 60-minute set allows them time to also air some of their most angular and difficult work.

The night comes to an end with Basement Jaxx DJ-ing on the second stage while Travis headline the main. We drift between both to catch Why Does It Always Rain On Me? but it’s Basement Jaxx who have all the tunes and get the audience inside their tent jumping.

We’ll update this review tomorrow with Sunday highlights including Julian Clary and Jake Bugg.

It’s day two and at 2pm we join Julian Clary on the Storytelling and Performance Stage. He’s plugging his new children’s book The Bolds and clearly has a natural affinity with the child audience. All those years of stand-up and panto have served him well. It’s not especially to our taste and we’re looking forward to seeing him more in the world premiere of Le Grand Mort (written especially for him) at Trafalgar Stdios 2 later this month and in Cinderella at the Palladium with a star-studded cast in December. Details

Later on the main stage KT Tunstall proved she’d not bettered Suddenly I See and Jake Bugg declined to show us much of his new album.

So, it was left to The Mariachis on the second stage to sum up the potential OnBlackheath has. Didn’t hear a bigger roar until their cover of Oasis’ Wonderwall in the second stage. Definitely worthy of a main stage slot next year. Should there be an OnBlackheath next year, of course.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy OnBlackheath. Tickets for OnBlackheath
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