Sunday’s line-up once again drew crowds back to the place officially known as Dartmouth Field for more live music, writes Russ Handy.
Headlining act Madness, famous for measuring 4.5 on the Richter Scale 23 years ago in north London’s Finsbury Park, did their best to recreate that formidable feat south of the Thames.
From bouncy opener Embarrassment to 1979’s The Prince and crowd-pleaser Wings of a Dove, the Camden clan stopped only to allow guitarist Chris Foreman to karaoke the life out of Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer.
Rolling out their hits, the ska outfit were joined on stage by a band of Pearly Kings and Queens before sending delighted Fez-wearing fans home with their raucous Night Boat to Cairo.
Kelis cooked up as much of a storm on stage as she had earlier in the day at the festival’s Chef Stage. The New Yorker, who in 2003 scored a hit with Milkshake, now has a recipe book, My Life on A Plate, in the shops. Soulful throughout, Kelis was made to feel at home as she served up hits such as Good Stuff, from her 1999 album, Kaleidoscope.
Laura Mvula’s early afternoon set warmed the crowds. The beautiful Sing To The Moon sounded timeless, while early hit, She, was rearranged with rising strings. Her catchiest hit, Green Garden, was followed by a groovy and bass-heavy cover of Nina Simone’s See Line Woman.
With a Rico Rodriguez-inspired DJ set from Specials founder, Jerry Dammers inbetween acts on the festival’s main stage, Sunday had a classic feel to it. Earlier in the day, Ray Davies made a surprise appearance on stage to introduce the cast of West End Kinks tribute musical, Sunny Afternoon.
Flying the flag for the Greenwich, Westcombe Park’s Bruise made the short trip up the hill to perform on the Meantime Brewery stage as part of Chris Holland’s All Stars. After gigs at Plumstead’s Old Mill, the duo will be performing at the Pelton Arms later this month.
OnBlackheath will be back for a third time next year, festival promoter Harvey Goldsmith told Maritime Radio.
Russ Handy rounds-up the weekend here.