Sunday, July 24, 2016

Gig: Bluedot 2016

Blue Dot is a new weekend-long music festival with a science theme that takes place at Jodrell Bank, a huge radio telescope installation in Cheshire. 

Opening up day 1 was "Professor Brian Cox" (it needs to be said in THAT accent) and friends discussing science on the main stage. Oddly, Welsh crooner Charlotte Church was in the group and she managed to talk science too! 

Following them were the brilliant Public Service Broadcasting who's music fitted the theme of the festival better than any other act I would suspect. It was great when the crowd went quiet during a recording of the Apollo 8 going behind the moon, and cheered when it came back into the radio signal range...geeky but a lot of fun!

The sun goes down on the first day. Bar a tiny bit of rain the weather was great all weekend.

Headlining the main stage on day 1 was Underworld who I'd seen before and think are superb. Karl has so much energy for an old man haha! The set was mostly the latest album with some of their classics thrown in. Rez and Cowgirl mashed together was by far my favourite bit.

Brian Eno had a light installation projecting on the telescope. A lot of people were confused with this assuming it would be a sound installation rather than a light one. 

The highway to my accommodation!

There were plenty of side shows away from the music stages. Bubbles seemed to be popular.

This was a weird art piece simulating an astronaut on the moon. As he got more confident he'd start to do flips.

I like Formation and I think they're destined for big things. They sound like LCD Soundsystem and know how to use a cowbell. They were on very early here on day 2 of the festival so didn't really have the crowd.

The clangers were pretty popular here!

Some space stuff on display in one of the cool dome structures. 

There were a number of lectures going on over the weekend too.

I'm not sure why people have collapsed!

Beth Orton is a great vocalist but not so hot live, she was nervous and swore a bit too much.

A live link to a research station in the Antarctic. You don't get that at Glastonbury.

Tom Middleton did a great sci-fi themed AV set on the main stage. 

We were torn for the main event on day 2. We ended up with DJ Shadow who filled up one of the smaller stages and they had to close the tent. A tight production with him surrounded by screens including one in front his set was great and with people being turned away I'm glad we chose to remain in here rather move between stages, which would have resulted in us not being allowed back in.

The main act for day 2 was Jean Michel Jarre who looked to have an incredible visual show and a big crowd (a lot of people were only here for this). I didn't mind missing it too much as I'd already bought a ticket for his London show.

Some more shots of the incredible light display, which apparently never repeats.

Day 3 and the main stage was opened by a band called "Actor", I think it's all about the lead singer who rocked a very smart suit. She sounded a bit Kate Bush, which I think is a compliment.

I'd got here early for NZCA Lines and with it being early was one of a very small group who started watching. It was good to be part of a bigger crowd when they were finished. They're doing very well and it's been enjoyable seeing them grow!

The illuminarium is a huge inflatable installation that uses natural light and coloured panels to create coloured chambers that chill you out. It had the longest queue of everything here but was definitely worth it.

More science. I was particularly interested in David Nutt's presentation on LSD. He's the expert who was commissioned by the government to advise on a drugs policy and advised they should be legalised. In response the government shelved the report. He definitely knows his stuff and I wonder how many people left his talk wishing there was someone outside handing out some to try. (puts hands up)

Marc Riley (yes, him from the radio) was playing classics whilst drinking a lot of beer. This was the nearest thing I saw to a wedding DJ. Bad, but good.

That telescope was impressive, I think the plan was to project onto it but it was broken. It did however move on the Sunday. Maybe next year.

In the comedy tent James Veitch did a great routine on getting 419 scammers back. I wished I'd have caught it from the beginning though.

On the final day the main stage was headline by Caribou, however I chose the smaller stage to see DJ Cheeba's AV set. DJ Yoda played this tent the night before but had to do an improvised set (which was great) after the AV kit failed to work. So it was good to see the issues all resolved for tonight. His set is amazing and he's always one of my "must go" whenever he plays in London.

The final act on the last night was Techno DJ Thunderknuckle AKA Snooker Champion Steve Davis. He was bad, and it was clear he wasn't doing the majority of the mixing. We quit after 3 tracks but can say we've experienced him.

and some more shots of the telescope.

Blue Dot was great and I'm going to go again. I don't see myself doing the big festivals like Glastonbury; I'd get too anxious with the crowds. They got the capacity right here and despite some teething issues that would be expected on a first go, they did extremely well. People are hoping kraftwerk get booked next year; we'll see. 

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