Festival Frolics: Saturday, Camp Bestival 2012.

Awaking sweated, a little shaky and most indubitably still Ready For The Floor – or the inflatable mattress; either or (this being a BoHo social after all) Saturday breaks. Primed to spill some '70s disco chic all over us a little later on like a yolk oozing over serrated shell, The Guardian monopoly takes hold of a.m. Early post meridiem, however, belongs to Yukimi Nagano.
In the absence of the Zeus-like Håkan Wirenstrand, elements of the electronica intricacy to have made both Machine Dreams and Ritual Union such universally enjoyable listens are lost a little, momentarily replaced with dubious gloops of techno seepage. Plucked from the pack, Shuffle A Dream gets fluffed whilst the fluoro-dub of Precious is desecrated quite considerably as it's elongated out into a superfluously elastane bounce of Biblical eternity. Commensurately defective are the here ineffective rhythmic samples and nonexistent bursts of synth and yet, notwithstanding difficulties in both performance and personnel, in an alluring hue of luminous PINK Nagano et al. souse all in the form of aestival festivity for which we've unitedly longed of late. The likes of Looking Glass, and Ritual Union, and racy accelerations of both Little Man and My Step bring Little Dragon up to speed, each proving a clean, preened and scrupulously pruned soundscape as idyllic as the bucolic backdrop painted beyond this, the Castle Stage. Trees quiver and hills roll to the UKG-flecked sultriness of Brush The Heat, only the waft of piss fermenting in green plastic pots defiling this tale of good girl come good.
By now one can't move for picnic sprawls and grubby Dickensian urchins upchucking bins for refundable cups. Rather more sparsely populated meanwhile – as per – is The Big Top, where the purported theme for this, the final show of Frankie Rose's whistle-stop UK tour, is "running". However the reaction she engenders is not only silent but also manifestly static as the indie schmindie stylings of Know Me and Night Swim set the tone. The compulsive thrum to Had We Had It – awash with surges of guitar redolent of those emitted by them there Floridian scamps Surfer Blood – is quite alright, if a Riot Grrrl lite take on A Forest feels pretty frightful. A plastering over of this irksome gaggle's general ineptitude accredited to iffy sound and off rhythms, it's little wonder she's left wishing she'd penned one of Robert Smith's finest songwriting instances. When it comes to the Earth, Wind & Fire Experience it's irrefutable that the most pertinent element aforesaid is Experience. For this ain't Earth, Wind & Fire by even the most pliable stretches of imagination, and that despite the presence of Al McKay. All thirteen of them may glisten in reflective polyester although that Earth, Wind & Fire tonight play Costa Mesa, California further abrades any real gleam and indeed were this a faithful representation of the original Experience then it's one I'm overjoyed to have missed out on first time around. A glorified covers band devoid of any glory whatsoever, it's da Bank's solitary suspect booking of the weekend, really.
And we're then treated to his finest in Chic. All overflowing nuptial fizz, Nile Rodgers joyously relives the humble beginnings of this modern-day renaissance – one initially sparked off within this very field back in 2009 and, in a puritanical bleach of white, he doesn't appear to have aged a day since. Nor indeed has his disposition toward a vivacious glitter of disco waned in any way. "Chic is not a covers band", he avows seemingly somewhat vexed and certainly by the time he and his astonishingly proficient troupe embark on an exhaustive Motown medley comprising I'm Coming Out, He's the Greatest Dancer, Upside Down and Soup For One you quiz, quite dumbfounded, as to how, oh how one man may have been so celestially manufactured as such a bloody bona fide hit machine.

Thus as Chic churn out disco hit after soul nugget, we eschew the Silly Olympics theme in favour of a more suitable Disco Inferno aesthetic that's as luminous latex as those onstage are a bedazzling silvery-white and with Rodgers instantaneously becoming the invincible artiste of the weekend – and with it, arguably, the summer – all that glints is 24-carat. All-encompassing and integrative, by the time he both piques and peaks with Sister Sledge's We Are Family – we forthwith piping up in unison – you almost believe yourself to be a surrogate offspring of this rightly deified disco Freak. When it's the turn of Good Times then, you incontrovertibly adhere to the notion of these being among the best moments in recent memory. He not only airs, but betters Madonna at her own grotesquely narcissistic game as he cajoles us into a schmaltzy singalong to Like A Virgin. And yep, he produced that one too.
In the shadow not only of the fantastical Lulworth Castle but also Chic and the king of said edifice therefore, Kool and the Gang seem more Las Vegan than they may be aligned with the tastes of the nearby Vegan & Vegetarian outlet, and with it the general flavour of Camp Bestival. Robert "Kool" Bell peripheral and all but ostracised – or at least enshrouded in shadow – these are far from the Good Times prophesied previously: Fresh lacks spume; the P-Funk-cum-stadia-thronging sludge of Misled as stale as the now zombified cadaver of MJ; Hollywood Swinging more South Nevada-oriented nonchalance translated to glitzy nothingness. Only once the sizzling, ersatz charms of Too Hot be ignited does one even itch to twitch although overly polished and pinched of volume the show feels somewhat cheap. And a touch tawdry. Like TK Maxx: the quintessence of unKool and, aptly, the antithesis of Chic. Celebration similarly reeks of a certain brand of competitively priced Christmas chocolates, whilst an equally off Get Down On It offsets the generic introductions and ubiquitous incitements to "clap like this" that – again – cheapen a set that if acceptable in the '80s, certainly ain't now.
The skies an impenetrable dark, DJ Yoda & The Trans-Siberian Orchestra do a Boyle-like encapsulation of what is, according to Kool, a quite "fresh; exciting" weekend replete with Rizzle Kicks, resultant horns and crude Adam Ant mashups. By the time Orlando Higginbottom pulls out proverbial finger thoughts, notes, dignities and multifarious other possessions have been mislaid in this all-pervasive gloom. And yet it's one devoid of all doom, instead aromatised with a blithe joie de vivre best caught and continually hosted by da Bank.