Rock Ness 2010: New territory in a perfect setting
Loch Ness is just beautiful. I can’t imagine a more splendid natural auditorium. It’s certainly a good spot to watch Fatboy Slim. I would previously never have counted myself a fan, but there’s no denying the appeal of 'Weapon of Choice' or the irresistible piano riff on 'Praise You', particularly with 35,000 people enthusiastically singing along.
Characteristically a dance-heavy festival, RockNess was new territory for me and Aphex Twin was the weekend’s revelation. Strange things happen if you’re prepared to let that man play beats and shine lights in your eyes for an hour or so. It’s music more felt than heard. The beats are so loud and intense you feel them in your kidneys as much as your ears. The ambient sounds never resemble a melody but eventually start to make their own sort of sense. It’s a bit like watching the end of Kubrick’s 2001 - hypnotic but eventually euphoric.
I promised a shout out in this review to my lovely tent neighbours Kirsty and Katherine who laughed at my attempt to explain Saturday night headliners Leftﬁeld. “There was this Guinness advert, it was ace, with horses and tick followed tock and there was this beat”. They looked at me blankly as I attempted to convey the bass line of Phat Planet by blowing raspberries. “When was this?” “About 1999”. “Yeah, we’d have been eight”. They had a point; you might argue this wasn’t the most current or relevant line up in the festival’s history, and with acts like Blondie and Ian Brown it was trading on former glories. A random poll of attractive young women conﬁrmed the consensus. As Anna from Inverness had it, “What’s the point of Ian Brown? I’d rather see the Complete Stone Roses”. I was mulling that one over on Sunday night when The Strokes turned up to remind me how brilliant they were in 2001.