RockNess - Clunes Farm, Dores, Sun 9 Jun 2013 (4 stars)

Part 2 of our RockNess review coverage features Lianne La Havas, Madness and Camera Obscura

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RockNess - Clunes Farm, Dores, Sun 9 Jun 2013

Camera Obscura / Photo: Donald Milne

At any British festival the tendency is to review the weather first, and RockNess certainly comes off best when you do that in this case. Sunday’s line-up rounded off a glorious Highland weekend in one of Scotland’s most scenic spots, with a diverse range of music geared towards generating a carnival atmosphere amongst the weary souls on the ground. Yet one of the day’s lower-key highlights wasn’t a superstar DJ or a big-selling pop artist, but one of the lower-key performers on the bill.

Lianne La Havas has had the ‘new Amy Winehouse’ albatross placed around her neck already, and it’s a shame if she sinks into the mire of all those female singers who have been set up to fail with that clear commercial agenda in sight. She’s a great performer though, and her breezy, jazz-tinged set was perfectly cast for the afternoon sun, even though she was on the second stage in a tent. Starting with the bright solo acoustic stroll of ‘Age’, altering the lyric to dedicate it to ‘Scottish men’, her full band set was peppered with pleasingly distinctive ballads and pop songs including ‘Au Cinema’, ‘No Room For Doubt’ and ‘Forget’, the latter abetted by taps-aff ogres getting down to its ragged guitar riff.

The tents, in fact, were the place to be for the day’s very best sets, including pleasingly verbose agit-rocker Reverend & the Makers, DJ sets from Josh Wink and Booka Shade, and a thrilling Scottish festival debut from Belgian drum ‘n’ bass producer Netsky’s new live show, complete with live drummer and a trio of guest vocalists. It was a thrilling reinvention of an old sound for today’s genre melting pot scene.

On the main stage the ever-reliable Madness were this year’s atypical special guest, a relentlessly upbeat party band who were piped onstage and ushered off by an orchestrated stage invasion, ‘The Prince’ and ‘One Step Beyond’ among the highlights of a set which perhaps offered more smiles than Plan B’s sign of the times urban howl. Yet you would have had to skip out on the Nutty Boys midway through to catch the day’s least missable set, as Camera Obscura (decidedly not aimed at RockNess’ target demographic) deservedly snared an excited crowd and delivered the day’s finest ten minutes of music – we’re saying, at least – with the triple hit of ‘Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken’ ‘If Looks Could Kill’ and ‘French Navy’.

You can also read our review of RockNess' Friday and Saturday line-up, featuring Basement Jaxx, Steve Aoki, The Vaccines and Janey Godley.

RockNess

You know this one. Awesome line-ups and awesome location make for one of Scotland's favourite music festivals. 2013's line-up includes Example, Plan B, Fatboy Slim, Madness, Basement Jaxx, The Vaccines, Above & Beyond, Madeon, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard, Skream, Benga, Ellie Goulding, The Temper Trap, Alabama 3…

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