Our Wakefield set was pretty dreadful. Something went wrong with Darwin’s laptop and after a long pause between songs, an unsuccessful storytelling attempt by yours truly, and a weak rap sans Wonky Beat, the vibe tumbled downhill. And here arrives one of the difficult questions of playing bad shows that you’re unable to salvage: do you fake that you’re having fun for the sake of the audience? Do you err on the side of honesty and let the audience see your true feelings? Or do you find some sort of middle ground that is neither too grumpy nor too fake? A similar conflict happens post-show. Surprisingly often, someone will compliment you that you were incredible. Should you keep it real and rain on their parade, or should you conjure some pretend enthusiasm in order to spare the fan from feeling foolish?
Fortunately, the next day, we redeemed our spirits. We jammed a smashing 1pm set in London, in Clapham Park. Rain steadily poured upon the attendees, but our audience came prepared, and we had the pleasure of looking out into a sea of beautiful colored umbrellas. We rocketed north to Manchester, the scene of Parklife, familiar festival tents pitched upon a sea of brown, mucky mud. We blasted through another thrill of a set at 8pm. Our driver Seb had some extra galoshes for me (wellingtons, as they’re called in Britain) in the back of the van. The only problem was, they must’ve been at least three sizes too small. My mobility was severely limited due to my cramped toes, but it was better than being stranded in the van in my sneakers. I stuck around our tent, thoroughly enjoying a muddy melee of Metronomy and Mystery Jets. Preceding “Two Doors Down”, someone threw a neon pink wig onstage. The bassist donned the bright hair and said, “for this song, I’ll play the role of the girl who lives two doors down.” Within a minute or two, he threw it out into the crowd, and I got to be Two Doors Down Girl for the remainder of the tune.