LIVE: Parklife Weekender, Heaton Park, Manchester 11.06.16-12.06.12

A sold out Parklife Weekender drew crowds from all around the UK as the hottest acts in dance and indie fled to Manchester’s Heaton Park. With arguably one of the best line-ups this summer has to offer, festival-goers expected to be blown off their feet. Gigslutz’s Sam Wright and Matthew Cooper round up the highlights from the weekender.

Shy FX – MTA: A veteran performance from a veteran from the scene. A lot of Shy FX’s original material is played out which I’m a massive fan of. ‘Soon Come’ and ‘Gold Dust’ allows the Heaton Park faithful to skank to their hearts content. One issue I did have from the set is the involvement of ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’, which I feel like I have heard for the 112th time that day. Ever since Rebel Sound played it at Culture Clash, most DJs with UK urban routes have rinsed it. Nevertheless, an extremely well polished performance from Andre Williams. MC

Jasper James: Saturday – The Temple: An unexpectedly large crowd brave the conditions to get a glimpse of this highly tipped Scottish DJ, as Jasper’s tech-house filled set manages to spread an Ibiza summer feeling through a field that is engulfed in a typical Manchester one. He tackles a tough allocated slot, playing outside in torrential rain early on in the day, to perfection. Starting his set with some extra slow techno tracks, he manages to overpower the misery of the morning with his distinctly good vibes, a must for any up-and-coming house DJ. He is one of few throughout this first day who will manage keep the crowd away from the shelter of tents for an entire set. SW

Fat White Family: Saturday – The Big Top: The Big Top tent hosts those acts on the Parklife line up that you read and wonder if it’s a miss-print, Fat White’s being the prime example. These six play to a less than half-full tent, and with their recent album having been called “The most offensive album of the year” it was a worrying few moments waiting to hear how the crowd take their two fingers to everyone attitude. Surprisingly, they are well received. A group down the front gather to form a pit as they rifle though a mixture of songs from both albums. Lead singer Lias finishes the performance with a topless crowd-surf, and somehow these anti-stylists have won over the ravers. SW

Jack Garratt: Saturday – The Big Top: A good crowd gather in the tent to witness one of the hardest working live performers around today. A mixture of desperation for refuge from the rain and the preceding hometown performance from Blossoms – who themselves really grabbed interest – as bought me here. Not knowing too much about what to expect from an artist I haven’t followed before, I am calibre of sounds one man can produce in a live performance. The hybrid he find somewhere between dance, rock and acoustic vibes means he gets an enthusiastic reaction from all different sections of the now half-cut audience. He plays on this, knowing his audience are there for a party, and drops one of his own songs in exchange for a cover of Craig David’s Seven Days which he mashes up with heavier drum solos to provide the highlight of the set. SW

Ben Klock: Saturday – The Circus: This techno DJ is quickly becoming one of the heavyweights of the scene, but unfortunately his slot at The Circus failed to capture the imaginations of the Parklife audience. Klock was seemingly at his best through the set, never wavering from the usual ‘peace and love’ vibes that have seen him come some far. However, the “fuck the rain” attitude that the earlier acts had benefitted from has by this point worn thin. Most are now just braving though and saving energy until the headliners are scheduled, many others taking perch on the hill on top of a carpet of rain macs ready for the England game. Nothing personal to the artist, I imagine many others experienced this on other outside stages. Right set, wrong time. SW

Armand Van Helden B2B Jackmaster – Bugged Out: The funky duo are back to try and recreate the magic that was casted in what is one of the most legendary Boiler Room’s. Jackmaster opens with Soulwax’s remix of Tame Impala’s ‘Let It Happen’ and they crowd automatically lock into the groove. The crowd welcomed every track that was played and the customary drop of ‘Sugar Is Sweeter’ by AVH engulfs the tent into a cavorting mess, which was always expected from these pair. Jackmaster’s unpredictability again proves to be one of the traits that keeps the Scotsman up their with the best. An absolutely incredible set that was mixed to perfection. MC

Chemical Brothers: Saturday – Main Stage: The godfathers of stadium dance music refuse to let their standards drop as they dazzle the soaked Manchester fields with yet another triumphant festival headline performance. The psychedelic-funkers’ use their unique recipe of upbeat tracks with frightfully disturbing visuals to really get the crowd simmering, and the memory of Russia’s stoppage time equaliser just minutes earlier is soon drowned out by twisted images of clowns and demons. Late ‘90s evergreen masterpiece Block Rockin’ Beats is offered up as a reminder in case anyone in the crowd has forgotten how fresh their older tunes still remain. By the time the set nears the end the crowd is pulsating to an extent no other act will achieve. The boys from Manchester have produced the shindig of the weekend in shin deep mud. SW

Bicep – Bugged Out: Another one from the Bugged Out tent. Closing the Sunday night, the Bicep boys put on a thumping performance that is suitable to headline any stage. The Belfast duo really have blown up over the past year or so and it’s clear to see why. A techy set with a lot of underground song choices is something I admire about Bicep, as they appeal the mainstream – without playing the shit that comes with it. The tent wasn’t full to capacity due to Major Lazer headlining the main stage. God knows why you’d go and watch that over Bicep. MC

Rude Kid – MTA: A set filled with mostly grime and drum & bass, which was what was expected. Nothing too exciting from the 13:20 slot on Saturday. One thing that really disappoints me as I stand in the MTA tent is the inclusion of ‘Feed Em To The Lions’. It’s piss poor DJ’ing if you ask me. Yes, it hypes a crowd, but just set yourself aside from your hometown scatty nightclub DJ and stop playing it. The same goes for ‘Rhythm & Gash’. One positive is the appearance of Ghetts, who joins Rude Kid to perform a few of his own numbers. The crowd don’t receive it as well as it should have been received but that’s through no fault of Rude Kid or Ghetts and I thought it was a good choice that made the set a little more exhilarating. MC

Dusky – Bugged Out: I really don’t know how to describe this performance with words. Not just a DJ set but a live performance from the Londoners. To create such an atmosphere from a live performance has blown me away. Delivered with perfect execution, the spacey set has left me feeling like this was more than a musical performance and it had a really touching sentiment. Dusky’s music has always managed to move me and it appears I’m not the only one as later on Annie Mac dedicated ‘Ingrid Is A Hybrid’ to lost loved ones and the victims of the Orlando shooting. On a happier night, the inclusion of ‘Skin Deep’ appeases a dreamy Bugged Out tent. MC

Matt Cooper & Sam Wright

@mcooperwrites @samwright96