Saturday 21st June 2014
Victoria Park, Leciester.
by Keith Jobey
On a bright mid-summer morning the city of Leicester woke up with a sense of anticipation and excitement about the day -today was going to be no ordinary day for the city, today was going to be Kasabian day.
Regardless of how you feel about the band or the event, this was a big deal for Leicester. Even though the city was divided, not just by opinions of the event, but also by a 12 foot high ‘Berlin Wall’ of a fence around the newly declared principality of Victoria Park.
Arriving in the centre shortly after midday a real buzz could be felt. Crowds of people occupied terraces of bars, basking in the sunshine; it was reminiscent of the last day of football season when Leicester City fans celebrated promotion. Except this was bigger, this had a greater vibrancy.
Since the announcement of the support acts there has been a lot of talk about the lack of use of local bands. This undeniably would have been a great chance for some young hopefuls to play a dream gig. So in an attempt to make amends I’m pleased to say we caught a local act prior to heading for the park. Kevin Hewick was playing at the Criterion from 3pm in a self titled Kevsabian event. It was great to witness Kevin and his songs and ramblings while herds of gig goers wandered past curiously looking in.
Slowly making their way from the centre via the bars of New Walk and London Road towards Victoria Park the crowd fuelled up in preparation of a long day. A crowd comprised not just of local residents, but people from all over the country if not the world.
Once within the park it was a fairly standard festival set up, with food stalls, bars and toilets around the perimeter – Well-staffed and capable of dealing with the demands of the crowd. It was a fairly low key start on stage though. I don’t think many people were aware that beatboxing Beardyman had begun his set. We noticed the volume had been increased but it was a while before we agreed that the guy under the gazebo on stage must be him.
Zane Lowe may have gone unnoticed by many as well as he mixed a string of great tracks together. At least with Jagwar Ma we could see they had instruments and played songs. We knew it was them but again, a large portion of the crowd probably didn’t realise other than the music style had changed. The problem was that there were no announcements. What was wrong with having someone (even Zane Lowe) come on and announce the acts, let the crowd know who’s about to entertain them. Despite this, I think it’s fair to say that it was not until Rudimental DJs took to the stage that the crowd got engaged. They got a party atmosphere going and the crowd jumping and dancing.
Then there was a wait, accompanied by a countdown on a large back projection, counting down from 48 minutes while Kasabian minions hurried about readying the stage. Kasabian took to the stage as the countdown settled on zero, Serge, sporting a les-tah t-shirt, driving the point home that this was a hometown gig. Will he be wearing it next week when they headline Glastonbury?
Kasabian were great. Well suited to the environment and it was good to hear Tom Meighan name Leicester venue The Shed. Although, he then mentioned about playing “shit-holes”, which many took to mean the aforementioned venue. Sure he didn’t mean it a bad way.
It was undeniably a fantastic show, the weather was superb, warm and sunny with the occasional beer shower; there were lights, lasers and projections, everything you’d expect from a show of this magnitude. And this was a show of some magnitude! A show any town or city in the country would be proud to host, more so if it was their hometown band playing.
Then after about 1¾ hours of playing, the show was closed with LSF, one of the anthems off Kasabian’s debut album 10 years ago, that led to this day, leaving the crowd singing the catchline over and over again as they dispersed.
Afterwards the streets were full of people, taxis were in short supply, busses home were overrun and every bar hosted a Kasabian aftershow, several of them ‘official’. Fan or not, this was one hell of a party and a day Leicester will talk about for a very long time. Let’s have some more of these please.
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