V 2004 at weston park in Staffordshire was my first festival, I do regally go to gigs and I've seen bands like Funeral for a Fiend, Turin Brakes, Ash, The Distillers, New Found Glory and Hundred Reasons live but I've been looking forward to the V festival ever since booking the tickets in April, back then the whole line up was not available but acts like The Strokes, Muse, Snow Patrol and The Thrills on the bill I wanted to make sure I got my weekend with camping ticket which cost £98.50 + booking fee which is a massive amount of money for me and yes it left me with a major budget for a few months. So on Friday the 20th of august - the day after I got my A Level results (which were great and i got into my 1st choice university - Keele) it was time to go, its best to go on the Friday and get your tent set up in a good place even though the bands don't start till midday Saturday its best to get everything done on the Friday. I went with two good friends from college of which one of them drove so i didn't need to worry about travel but there are good transport links if you don't drive, Wolverhampton train station has regular bus services to the V2004 site from the Friday until Monday. I was surprised when we got there at about 3pm because there were no massive traffic jams outside which was good so we just parked in the temporary car park (paid £5 for the liberty) but its worth it because there is good security, lighting and CCTV. The atmosphere when we got there and for the whole weekend was really laid back and relaxed, the first thing you have to do after putting your tent up is get your wristband from the wristband exchange where i was given a lovely blue wristband with a silver V hologram on it, make sure you don't lose it because you need it to get into the camp-sites and main arena where the bands play. There wasn't much to do on the Friday night but it gave us time to get used to the site which is
really big so we needed to look round to find out where everything is, there were films shown at the JJB tent on the Friday night but i didn't go. Saturday, after purchasing a program (£5) we were able to plan out what bands we wanted to see and find out what times they were starting, in the arena area there are two massive stages, the V stage is the biggest and the NME stage is about half the size and there are also big tents like the JJB and music choice tents who have lesser known bands playing in them. it was a shame that the Kings of Leon and muse were both down to play at the same time on different stages because i wanted to see both of them. The Bands I Saw: Saturday Kasabian (12:30 - 12:55) NME Stage I didn't really know many of there songs before there performance apart from there top 10 single L.S.F. but by the end of there set i had become a fan of them. I was really happy because we got there early and managed to get on the front row and we got a really good view of there performance. 7/10 Chikinki (1:15 - 1:40) NME stage I've never heard of them and after watching them live i don't want to hear them ever again, not my cup of tea at all - there music is like something out of the 80's, an electro pop load of rubbish, the only reason i didn't go and see Jamie Cullum on the main stage was that i had a front row place. 4/10 Goldie Lookin Chain (2:00 - 2:25) NME stage okay so you cant have missed there song 'guns don't kill people rappers do' which is there current top 5 hit, if you have seen the video you will know what they are about, there a bunch of 8 rappers from wales - well i counted 15 on stage, most didn't rap, they just messed around on stage drinking and there show really pulled a massive crowed. There 25 minute set was full of all there comedy songs like 'your moms got a penis' and they finished there short set becomi
ng one of the standout acts of the weekend just because of there on stage antics. 9/10 Snow Patrol (2:35 - 3:15) main stage all i can say is that they are a great band and they played brilliantly, i didn't manage to get very close to the stage but as they were playing at the main stage there are massive live video screens on both sides which can be seen far away. They did all there hits onstage run, chocolate and spitting games are all brilliant songs. 8/10 Fountains of Wayne NME stage i only caught about 15 minutes of them after getting some food (£2 for a tray of chips) after seeing snow patrol but fountains of Wayne were good, there hit 'stacies mom' was a crowd favourite although there where not as many people watching them because there not really a big band over here. The Zutons (4:35 - 5:10) NME stage great band, I've been told nothing but good things about them in the past and they look like a good bet on this years mercury music prize with there album 'who killed the Zutons'. Although i only caught about 25 minutes of there set i still managed to see them perform most of there hits including 'pressure point' which according to the lead singer is a song about stress in the workplace. There matching yellow boiler suits worn onstage made them look like members of slipknot but there music was certainly not like slipknot. 7/10 The Thrills (4:55 - 5:45) main stage There mew album is out soon and I'm definitely going out to get it, there first album 'so much for the city' was one of my favourite albums of last year. I'm a massive fan of the Irish bands music and i was so glad to get a good view of them performing at the main stage which was really full with there army of fans. They performed all of there hits including 'big sur' and Santa cruz' as well as a few new songs which went down really well, the crowed loved The Thril
ls and so did I. 8/10 After the Thrills I decided to go and check out the music choice tent because I was looking forward to seeing InMe but on the way i managed to catch a few songs by the Scissor Sisters on the NME stage who sounded good and pulled a big audience. InMe (6:00 - 6:30) music choice tent Most of you reading this have properly come by InMe in the past but I was really looking forward to seeing the Essex 3 piece rock out. They provided the V festival with the first Mosh/Fight pit of the weekend. There set was only 30 minutes which is not really long but they made every second count and the crowd made the most of one of only a few heavy bands performing at the festival. They were excellent live and I really hope they do a UK tour soon to promote there new album because i defiantly want to see them again. 8/10 N*E*R*D (6:15 - 7:15) main stage I missed the first 20 minutes or so of nerd but i wasn't really fussed because I'm not really a fan although they were good performers on stage and tried there hardest to get a party atmosphere going. Hits like Lapdance, Rockstar and maybe were standout tracks on there set although the crowd was not really feeling there energy because most people who turned up probably went to get a good place for the next acts like the strokes on stage like i did. I suppose if I was a fan there performance would have been amazing because they did put loads of effort into there set. 6/10 The Pixies (7:45 - 9:00) main stage There a big band with loads of fans at the festival but I'm sorry to say that they are a bit before my time and i didn't really like them. The music was okay but i wouldn't really go out and buy there CD and there stage presence was very static. The lead singer's voice sounded like he was in a emo band but he was about 30 years to old. I did want to go and see starsailor on the NME stage but i also wanted to keep my good plac
e to see the strokes who were on next. 6/10 The Strokes (9:30 - 10:45) main stage Brilliant band, I'm already a big fan and was really looking forward to seeing the strokes who have so far released two brilliant albums and look soon to become legends after already becoming one of the biggest bands on the planet. They really performed well enough to earn there place as headliners, with an amazing light show and great performances of crowd favourites like 'last nite' and '12:51' and the crowd really loved them, there must have been about 40000 people watching and most singing along with the American band. So that ended a brilliant Saturday and I was just hoping that Sunday could be as good as the day I'd just had so i went to my tent to get some well needed sleep. Sunday: The Divine Comedy (1:10 - 1:40) main stage They didn't really pull a big crowd as it was early and people were still recovering from last night. I'm not really a fan but i did recognise a few songs like 'national express' and there overall performance onstage was very good. 7/10 Athlete (2:00 - 2:40) main stage A bigger crowd turned up to see Athlete and it was worth it for fans because there performance like most bands all weekend was brilliant. I've only heard there single releases before but i was surprised with the quality of all there songs especially Westside. 7/10 The Killers (3:10 - 3:45) NME Stage The killers are a really good up and coming band from Las Vegas USA and they are one of those bands who have made it big here before they are well known in there native country. They must be doing something well because they pulled a crowd worthy enough to be on the main stage. The performance of Mr Brightside was the standout track that the crowd really loved. I,m really glad I made the effort to go and see them because they were really good and i can s
ee them going on to bigger and better things in the future. 8/10 All American Rejects (4:05 - 4:40) NME stage There a really good American pop/rock band and i managed earlier in the day to meet them at the NME signing tent and they were really nice people who didn't take there fans in the UK for granted like some American bands do. The band had the most energetic performance of the weekend and the lead singer wanted the sound people to turn the volume up because they were rocking hard. There big UK hit 'swing swing' went down well with the fans and they left there other single release 'the last song' till last which also included the lead singer climbing 30 feet up the side of the stage which got the security worried. 8/10 Dashboard Confessional (5:05 - 5:40) NME stage Id only heard there new single off the spiderman 2 soundtrack 'vindicated' but I knew they were a good band from word of mouth in the past and again i had a near front row view of there performance which was good. Dashboard Confessional were really good and the lyrics of there songs were the most powerful of the weekend performed with real emotion. 7/10 Keane (6:05 - 6:50) Keane have really come out of nowhere in the past 6 months and are now one of the biggest bands of the moment and they deserve to be popular because there album 'hopes and fears' is one of the best I've listened to this year. I massive crowd turned up to see keane who sounded really good live and had many sing alongs with the crowd with hits like 'bedshaped' and 'somewhere only we know' being the standout tracks of there set. I want to see where they go with there future albums because I can see them becoming even bigger in a few years. 7/10 After watching keane me and my friends went to get some food and rest after standing for 4 hours straight. We managed to catch a few songs by Elbow on the NME stage who
sounded great and we also went for a look in the music choice tent and watched 'Long view' and 'Hope of the States' who were also really good. Then we went off to get a good place to stand and see muse who were headlining the main stage. Muse (9:25 - 10:55) With there base player being sidelined to the keyboards after a hand injury in was up to the base player from 'the streets' to fill in (he did a good job too). I was really looking forward to muse to top off a brilliant weekend with a blinding set which included all there hits from past albums 'showbiz' and 'origin of symmetry as well as there current album 'absolution'. The stage show like last nights headliners was brilliant with the lighting been put to good use as well as loads of massive white balloons been launched from the stage into the crowd. Singer Matthew Bellamys voice was on top form and the crowd loved it, they were a great choice to finish the weekend on and i really loved it. 9/10 So those are all the bands i went to see but there were other's performing who you may have liked including: Badley Drawn Boy, BRMC, Massive Attack, Groove Armada, Primal Scream, Pink, The Charlatans, Dido, kings of Leon, Aqualung, Jamelia, Human League, Amy Winehouse, Kelis and Basement Jaxx to name just a few. There were also dance tents with DJ's performing as well as quiet areas to rest in. Festival horror storeys about the loo's didn't not surface at V (well at least the ones i went in) but it is best to use the arena toilets and not the campsite ones which are used much more, although there were queues for all of them and a tip for next year would be for the organisers to get more cash points because the queue for it was massive. The overall security of the festival was good with check points at all the entrances to campsites and the arena as well as watch towers and CCTV. The festival shop was g
ood too as it was the only place to get newspapers which meant we all caught up with the goings on, okay i did but the news of the world but what do you expect? I recommend the V festival to everyone, it had a great atmosphere which is child friendly. The weather was brilliant on the Saturday and Sunday which was rare because the weather recently had been very wet as we all know. Thank you all for reading, I hope it was written well and I hope you enjoyed reading it. As you will see i have put this in the V2001 section because its the only one on the site, there is no 02 or 03 aswell, hope you dont mark me down for this as i have no choice and i dont know how to get the dooyoo site workers to add V2004
The eighth Virgin music festival was a triumph earlier last month, despite late cancellations by bands (I'm still gutted about Kelly Osbourne? does sarcasm not work in text?) it was a massive turn out and a superb event. Here is a look at the best bands and their performances, I also brought fellow movie critic Mary and her twin sister Helen along to catch the bands I was unable to see (whoever put Feeder and Coldplay on at the same time needed shooting). I managed to cover the Staffordshire, Western Park leg of the event and here are mini-reviews of who we saw. Saturday: Tom McRae opened the event on Saturday and to a lot of success. Despite very few recognizing the impressive artist he still grabbed our attention, claiming that he will ease us into V2003 and indeed he did. Cleverly written lyrics and brilliant backing tracks for this soft rock artist and he managed to lull us into what was sure to be an amazing event. I was stunned by the performance, not suspecting much and without delay I ordered his albums. The legendary artist Skin followed hot on his heels, the ex-front woman for Skunk Anansie managed to wow the crowd with her brash behavior and her ability to not skip a beat. Although not a fan of the music I had to respect her courageous and superb stage display, managing to whip her loyal fan group into frenzy. PJ Harvey was up before Queens of the Stone Age took the stage to a pretty disappointing display. She did indeed sound fine and her rather revealing attire was nice eye candy. But there was nothing there, some of the songs sounded bland, she didn't introduce any variety into her performance and was an overall disappointment. I was just there waiting for Queens. Who were yet another disappointment. Queens of the Stone Age appeared to a massive cheer, they performed stunning hits and opened with the second album hit "The Lost art of keeping a secret". Complete with their own backdrop tha
t had its own moving parts, Queens had the most insane fan base of the day. Their songs were accompanied by a wave of crowd participation, a mosh pit that almost stretched the entire crowd and everyone went mental. A superb performance by Josh Holme and his lads but we do know the band can do better. Their recent video 'First you Giveth', we see an insane naked guitarist smashing around to the thumping beats and genuinely giving the crowd something to scream about. Such a pleasing display was missing from their performance at V and as such can be seen as a let down. Nevertheless any band that can command such energy from a huge crowd deserves respect and that is exactly what we all gave them. David Gray followed in an attempt to cool the audience who were previously going mental for Queens in time for the headlining act of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Not Being a David Gray fan I went to see The Coral leaving Helen Stokes to watch the mellow artist. Helen may have only been there to receive position for the Chili Peppers but her previous skepticism had been "converted". She described his music as far more impressive live than his recorded antics. David Gray was criticized by the harder rock fans for "getting in the way" on the bill, but his performance was much needed on such a hot sticky day, and as Helen said he was "a true performer" and "would definitely see him again". The Coral took the NME stage and had a surprising amount of visitors. The Coral appeared dressed in their traditional outfits, giving the impression of "cool without even trying". The band played through many tracks old and new, with the newer tracks from 'Magic and Medicine' portraying a definite "look we've made it" perception. It was a heart-warming performance and the band were relatively subdued making very little character interaction with the crowd, and yet that didn't seem to matter. Their
songs are filled with variety, changing the beat so often stops any tedium seeping in if you don't know, or not overall fond of a particular song. They were also accompanied by an impressive lighting display, which helped show the band up nicely. There were a few queries, the missing breakthrough hit 'Dreaming of you' was not played and sorely missed, and the set was finished with a 10 minute long instrumental? is this just a way of filling space or was their technical difficulties to blame? Some antics such as the singer playing the drums as well did create a warm atmosphere and a positive review. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are not my favourite band, but it was hard not to get dragged into the buzz that existed around the legendary headlining act. They are without a doubt bigger than a very large thing that is just too large and hotter than Keira Knightly?s in a wet T-shirt during Pirates of the Caribbean. Playing massive hits from their new album 'By The Way' was certainly not the order of the day, despite beginning with 'By The Way' they began to plough through their back catalogue of classic songs. Of course recent singles 'The Zephyr song'; 'universally speaking' and the frankly incredible 'Can?t stop' made an appearance but we were treated to massive hits spanning their long and troubled career. The band?s energy mimicked that of the weather, just so hot. The guitarists spread the full distance of the stage to meet the fans that couldn't quite reach the center. Sure enough the lead singers top came off and the band exploded, the crowd were in fine voice, tears were flowing? I was unaware how much of an effect a band could have. A nice lighting display (despite a notable missing "wow effect") and a superb set. The playing of non-released favourite 'Throw away your television' was the pinnacle of the set, no one should know the song but we do? because it really was so g
ood. They finished with 'under the bridge' with massive crowd participation. Sadly time restraints ruined the finale which was almost certainly 'Californication'. A great show nevertheless and proof that the chili's are still on top. Sunday: Eisley was impressive (especially as I've never heard of them before) and played a nice opening to the Sunday showing. It was the time for the legends, Echo and the Bunnymen to take to the stage straight after to a resounding cheer. The 80's group who inspired Coldplay and Oasis played some brilliant classics such as 'Killing moon', which recently appeared on the Donnie Darko soundtrack. They were excellently portrayed, excellent use of the stage and confident in playing techniques. They certainly knew what they were doing. But the band that deserved "greatest supporting act" had to go to the following Ska punk group Reel Big Fish. A superb display, a really bouncy set of tunes and a great interaction with the crowd put this group into a position of their very own. Not least for being damn right hilarious, pretending to be other bands (declaring that they were the Foo fighters and preparing to play Monkey Wrench was an excellent idea). Reel Big Fish have never pretended festivals are their thing but they were happy to poke fun at that fact. They played hits 'Sell Out' and 'Where have you been', but sadly opted out of playing title track from their new album "Cheer Up" and releases 'Monkey Man' and 'Take on Me'. Instead they opted for excellent tracks 'Ban the Tube Top' and 'Valerie'. The band were lapping up the crowd, the trumpeters got as close as possible to the leaping crowd, the guitarists went mental and the lead singer was simply random. A simple performance has changed my perception of the band and I seriously recommend you check them out. Nominee's for the best live act at this years Ker
rang Awards and being one of two bands who received the prestigious 5 K's at the Download festival (the other was stage rival Iron Maiden). Superb. The cardigans set was less than impressive, the old tracks were the only ones anybody seemed to play an attention too? but their age was seriously starting to show. The Hives were also a disappointment, the lead singer's attempt at exciting the crowd was woefully cliché and the songs missed that special factor that is oh so important at a concert. Ash's set started earlier than normal and their songs sounded seemingly dated, the songs I once loved so much didn't grab me nearly as much as they used to. Instead of bouncing to the thumping rhythm's of 'girl from mars' and 'burn baby burn' I was merely singing along. Having said that the band confirmed an early release next year of their forthcoming album and previewed some songs for it. There were around three new songs and each one showed a heavier edge to their music, portraying that Ash were jumping on the new rock bandwagon. Having said that it was the new songs that sounded the best, being far more jump-worthy and powerful. Ash in the end left me desiring more? but from what I heard promised that they would deliver that more in the near future. The arrival of the Foo Fighters therefore was long overdue, with the latest album set to be their last the Foo?s began with an explosive show. The giant "FF" logo in the background lit up in various colours as Dave Grohl told personal anecdotes and played his hardest with songs that "actually hurt to play", as he declared before storming into the awesome 'Breakdown'. He began his set like many bands with the first single off the latest album 'All my Life' shortly after he said, "How are you all? It?s been a while" before the crowd roared in appreciation. The Foo's then promptly slammed through their huge back catalogue, 'T
imes like these' followed suit with bigger hits 'learn to fly' and 'Breakdown' leading the crowd into frenzy. Dave then asked for the removal of the spotlights before starting another anecdote, he was really talking into the crowd? a true legend. It was surprising how many hits the band had, after claiming the drummer as being the best drummer ever (and he should know) he began the new hit 'Low' before going backwards to the excellent 'Monkey Wrench'. A storming display from one of the biggest legends ever to grace the earth. I left Mary to watch Coldplay as I left to see Turin brakes and Feeder: Rumored to be Coldplay?s last gig, Staffordshire fans were not disappointed when the band rocked the main stage in Weston Park for the final act of V2003. The band opened with Politick, the track, which begins their hugely successful album 'A Rush of blood to the head' and automatically the crowd was theirs. We were there to see them headlining and they new it. The set consisted of a mixture of well-known and less well-known tracks, however all the old favourites were there ? The Scientist, Yellow, Trouble and even a short rendition of 'What a Wonderful World' for which they had changed the words to suit the occasion. The band finished with 'Clocks' whose opening tunes are instantly recognisable and the crowd went wild. The smoke and light effects, which lit up not only the stage but the crowd as well made us feel included, they were here to see us as much as we wanted to see them. During the entire set the bands energy and vibe constantly bombarded the audience, be it through the way lead singer, Chris Martin rocked in his seat or the raw emotion that comes from watching a band play live. And so you believed in what they were singing and you believed in them. If the rumours are true and this really is the end of Coldplay then at least they left in style!
Over at the NME stage rising stars Turin Brakes took the stage and although I was there preparing for Feeder we were treated to a pleasing performance. The soft notes were beautifully accompanied as night dawned upon us. Listening to the band I didn't know had a strange sense of familiarity; they were an excellent display with a comic undertone. Many a female jumped on their boyfriends shoulders and removing their tops. The lead singer claimed he was in heaven until his guitar string broke, blaming the incident on "The power of your breasts". Completely calm and they managed to lull us into a false feeling of security until rival for Britain rock supremacy to Coldplay hit the stage? get ready for the best band at the event? Feeder. Feeder came on to a resounding cheer as people hustled to get closer to the band? a projected image hit the back of the stage, a twisting lighting display followed and 'Come Back Around' reached our ears. The Feeder fans are renowned for their almost insanity, which is weird because as a band their enthusiasm on stage is miniscule compared to the audience. Of course I've seen Feeder before and knew what to expect and I wasn't disappointed. Drop dead gorgeous hit from before they really made it 'Insomnia' launched shortly after to a chorus of thousands who had swarmed from Coldplay to see the forever rising British talent. Feeder didn't play a massive set from their recent 'Comfort in Sound' album. 'Just The Way I?m Feeling' got an excellent response, despite the rather deflated response to latest single 'Forget About Tomorrow' and of course they played their superb forthcoming single 'Find the Colour'. Despite not talking much to the audience, being rather muted and preferring to just play their music they did say some heart warming things. They were, for example, shocked to see so many people come to see them despite Coldplay being on the main sta
ge, thanking them all for that. They also commented on how they hit a brick wall with the death of their drummer, but they're glad they carried on. Of course Grant couldn't say much before everyone chanted Feeder to the point it was deafening them. They were blown away by their loyal fan group. They then opted to play older tracks included a rather unheard of B-side until Grant?s guitar string broke with him saying "Don?t you just love live music". It may have been nicer to see them make more of an effort in speaking to the crowd but it wasn't necessary. Their music was doing the talking and when they ended their encore with 'Just A Day' you knew it was all worth while. It may not have the magical effect of Coldplay?s clocks but it does have the raw essence of rock music? there was no containing the crowd and it nearly brought a tear to Grant?s eye. Wonderful.
You won't like me, not many do Some people have even threatened to sue But one things for sure and I’m hear to stay Like it or not, I won't go away So abuse me and use me all that you can Some people hate me, to others I'm the man I write crap opinions some people may cry Well the simple truth is that facts don’t lie So to the not useful now goes your click Thinking "what the hell this guy is thick" "what is he doing out here on the loose" to which i reply my names ARTHUR GOOSE Nobody likes me and I don’t really care I'm not considerate and I'm not at all fair I live by my rules and I do what I please And unbelievably my actions won't cease Why wont they block him the majority say And then forever he will go away But they do not want to, they still want me here For somebody to shout at and yell in their ear My opinions are different, some ay unique Its a shame that the outlook for this account is bleak I'm sure some of you like me and like what I do After all I'm just another comedian-like you. So now off you go the the dooyoo police To say "another mental patient has been let of his lease" Sure enough the will lock me and laugh out in glee Who victors in this battle will be interesting to see. No doubt you are bored now of my song I do apologise but it will not take long There is a choice of phrases to use To accompy this kind and sort of abuse Arthur we love you, Arthur please stay Or Arthur piss off and go away Either way you have seen me and experienced my views At this rate I'll star on the 9 o clock news! Well as you can see I'm addicted I always want to come back but I have to wait till the weekend when dooyoo police are off my back
You rate all my opinions not useful but I really couldn't care less you all comment and abuse me and most of you get in a stress. But I am hear to stay and thats all there is to it and the last thing I have to say is that all my opinions are shit! I thank my fans.
Well what can i say! With a superb line up of bands performing this year has to be one of the best! Compared with the Leeds/Reading festival (which will never be beaten) it has a lot to live up to...But with sounds from bands such as: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Texas, JJ72, Muse, Toploader, Starsailor, Placebo *what..did i hear that right... PLACEBO!!* Yippee! Grandaddy, Foo Fighters and many more, it will be a head banging, 'livin it up weekend. Last year a friend of mine went to v2000 and the overall rating 101%! The campsite and toilets where clean and the atmosphere was *ace* In gereral the whole thing went off with a bang! I don't expect to see all that many tent getting slashed and radios being stolen, but be aware and look out because it is plainly obvious that there will be some idiots there, that will: A: Get Drunk!!! B: Nick your belongings!!! Ticket prices are as it stands £80 for the weekend - if i remember rightly - but be sure to book them fast because they are running out, and you don't want to miss out now do ya! Beer, drugs and rock 'n' roll, now all we need to see on the line up is Bon Jovi and i'm sure that would please my friend!!!Hint u no who u r! Visit the homepage for the concert and recieve the latest updates of V2001 and many up coming gigs! Apparently, the main stage is goin to be the best -for performing bands- But i'm sure there will be many other events kicking off round the site. You need not bother coming in your best clothes because you will only end up getting then muddy if its raining!! Hopefully the weather will be as dry as it was last year and remember your sun-lotion!!! Or else you will be in the wars!! O, and another comment on the weather - That was funny last year when it started to rain as Travis was sining 'Why does it always rain on me!!' Thats true HONEST! Hope to see you all there!
I had my tickets bought back in early May for my first proper festival weekend. I'd been to Reading for the day before and loved it but waited as the weeks passed, in anticipation for a full weekend up in Weston Park, Staffordshire. Finally on August 17th, I packed up my car and battered up the motorway, picking up the miss's on route for a weekend of music, drunkeness and a mud baths. After parking up, we began what turned out to be a mammoth journey to find our friends, already camped. The first pit fall was not being allowed to take bottled beer in. A semi polite security attendant asking me to open my cool box, found half a dozen stubbies placed on top of our food. I wasn't aware they weren't allowed and he started taking the bottles out, saying, "Well it's not your day is it!" I looked at him and smiled, "Mate, what are you doing with my beers?" I asked. "Well you can't take them in," he replied. I said, "Well okay, I'll go and drink them so would you mind putting them back?" He did and we sat at the side with handfuls of others, anxiously downing our bottles of booze. After several each I decided to try again with the remaining bottles we had stashed down the middle of sleeping bags. This time it worked and we got through. We then reached the bottom of the green campsite, which we had to walk through to get to the other site where our friends were. We were told we needed our wrist bands, which nobody had given or asked us for before so that was another hassle but finally. Finally we reached our friends up in the orange camp site, two hours after we'd arrived in the car park! There was a whole damn community of them and tents were pitched in a huge circle with a gazebo as the central point. It wasn't too muddy, beer was flowing, the toilets at this stage were not bad at all. Good times ahead. SATURDAY Turin Brakes were the first port of call but it went a bi
t pear shaped as we underestimated walking distances around the site! We set off for the 'Brakes' in good time but found it a long slog and as we eventually reached the end stage where they were performing, we were greeted by Olly Knights saying, "Thanks very much, this is our last song!" Slightly annoying but I'd seen them before and their last song was Emergency 72, which they flipping rocked out to. We then caught bits and pieces of several other acts. Embrace, who I'd never really listened to before, shocked me with an excellent live performance particularly Hooligan and Save Me, causing me to make a mental note for future album purchases. Nelly Furtado was surprisingly good, not just at holding the huge crowd but she performed many a funky number, which was rather unpop like and refreshing to hear. David Gray did his shaking his head thing and after he'd performed Babylon, people seemed to lose interest. I don't think he was suited to the thousands of onlookers as his music and the band's offerings just kind of trailed off into the wind. Tricky. The man performed in almost darkness in the JJB tent. There were a couple of goodies but he didn't really face the crowd much and he got boring, so we left! Atomic Kitten. They filled the JJB tent to bursting point on both days (didn't see them) but apparently one of them was hit by an egg! Which was a bit of a shame but that's where my sympathies end, it was a bit of a shame. Starsailor- quality but I got the impression that they could do with some more performances to really develop onstage confidence. Not that standing up in front of umpteen odd thousand people and performing is ever easy, it's just that they seemed shy and slightly shallow. The most bizzare thing about Starsailor is the time it has taken to get the band's album released. Due now in October, I remember watching them perform in March/April and couldn't wait for
their debut to be burst onto the scene. Surely would have been a Mercury Prize contender if it had. Anyway they have proved their worth as confidence or no confidence, Good Souls stormed throughout the crowd. The Foo Fighters. It was evening when the Foo's came on and knowing what to expect, I wasn't the least bit surprised with their performance. As usual they delivered a tight, rocking set held together by the main man in rock, Dave Grohl. He kept slowing down the songs when he saw the crowd surging forward dangerously, which happened loads of times and he seemed insistent on making sure those at the front were okay. I don't know if they all were but Mr. Grohl did a pretty good job on his part, whilst still keeping the songs flowing. Great tracks of old and new were played, Everlong being my favourite and I heard the drummer collapsed after the show, which isn't surprising as he was tremendously energetic and frantic behind his kit. The band's superb performance didn't stop three twat's beside us having a massive play fight, which involved banging into everyone in the vicinity. Oh well. I had a hard choice for the last act of Saturday night, choosing to see Ian Brown over the Chili Peppers. I know, I know, but I wanted to see the wandering Manc as is solo offerings have done nothing but shock and please me. Besides, I'd seen the Chilis before so I trudged once again over to the JJB tent, greeted by football cries for Ian Brown. I knew it was a bad sign when he eventually came on and just clapped and farted around for ten minutes. Riding onto the stage on his low rider bicycle, I was just praying he would play coherent songs, which he did. Unfortunately it seems he could only be bothered to learn six of his own songs and we were treated to the F.E.A.R and My Star, twice! But gripes aside, he was funky and enjoyable to watch. By the end of Saturday the rain had brought on the inevitable though and the once green fie
lds of the Weston sight were turning an awful turd brown, nothing to do with the toilets, I prayed. SUNDAY Partying to the wee hours under the shelter of the gazebo the night before accompanied by music from the Beta Band and the Charlatans, made no difference to our eagerness for more the next day! Sunday offered the best day act we saw which was Michael Franti and Spearhead. We had a great view on the grassy bank at the end stage and were treated to a pumping, hip hopping, bee bopping set from Franti and his entourage. They just seemed so happy to be there and to be getting the warm response they were getting as the sun started to shine and once more, the beer started to flow. That sunshine lasted and began to set as the now renowned Coldplay took to the main stage. It's a bit of shame that Chris Martin did the rock extravaganza of ringing his dad so the crowd could say hello. If I'd paid money to see the band specifically, this would have seemed annoying but the weekend line up was so great that we let him off. They were excellent. They were tight musically yet fluid and rock and rolled, playing most of the album and the odd new track, which was pretty spanking (means good :) ) The mighty, mighty Charlatans. Effortless, supreme, loose, funky, chilled out. Even though Tim Burgess sang a couple of new songs with his "I?ve just had me nuts cut off" voice, he had all the self assuredness and confidence of Liam Gallagher, minus the attitude and lack of talent! They were just so good, so comfortable playing to thousands, so laid back and still sounding so fresh. I think if I can remember through the beer haze, they played Sporston Green last. As Burgess walked to each side of the huge stage shaking his tambourine, guitarist Mark Collins played the haunting riff slowly as green lights shone on them and out at the massive crowd. Building it up and up, the band finally launched into the song good and proper, showin
g what it means to be one of the best British live acts today. Five gold stars for Tim and the boys. Muse . They were the last band we saw on Sunday night at the end stage. We were all a bit weary, hungover and cold and if anybody but Muse had played, I would have probably gone and curled up under the gazebo with one last beer, before it was all over. But Muse played and they were absolutely annoying, annoying in the fact that young Mr. Bellamy jumped around the stage like a bleedin lunatic and never hit a bum note once! Every song exuded the energy that the band have become known for. Half way through their set, an innovative lighting set up, lit Matthew Bellamy from above and below as the young raw talent shredded away at his guitar in the middle, not sure whether to ascend to the heavens or delve down deep to hell. They also had huge white funky balloons, that were pushed out towards the crowd and soap bubbles were pumped above the band on stage as they ripped into Bliss. It was both a visual and musical treat. Polite to the audience, manic and talented in their deliverance, a great capping off to the V weekend. Although by the end the toilets were in an unsightly state, with the waste actually raising in a heaped mass above the rim in each and every toilet, I'd recommend it to anyone! Just pack lots of beer, cans not bottles remember, some warm clothes, an all essential gazebo to bring the camping community together and some of those pills that plug up your insides for a few days!
V2001 There are certain things that you expect from a festival and V2001 held very few of them. On arrival everything seemed well organized with clear signposts to the site and to the drop off points. I was supposed to be going with a group of friends but they couldn’t make it so I just went with a very close friend of mine. We handed over our tickets and received our blue wristbands that gave us access to the stages. It was at this point our first disappointment came, we learnt that it was £5 for a few bits of cardboard with details of what bands were playing on what stages and at what time. You’d assume that having paid £80 odd quid to go to the event that this simple information would be supplied free of charge (Apparent not, Mr. Branson). Laden with beer, tent and sleeping bags we trudged up the hill and found our camping spot. ! Setup + layout ! With tent pitched we explored the site. The layout of the camping area was good, with security towers (with big lights) looking over the masses of tents. The toilets were never far away yet there was a lack of drinking water points. There were fairground rides, including a big bungee machine that ‘pinged’ people in a metal cage high up into the air! There were plenty of food outlets, burgers, pasta, pizza, natural health food, noodles, stir fry, cookies, pancakes etc . . . Also many stalls selling everything from blow up flowers to legal ecstasy. There were four locations where bands played, two outdoor stages and two indoor tents (sponsored by JJB). The two stages were situated too close together and walking from stage to stage you could hear neither, just an amalgamation of the two noises. ! Bands ! The acts I saw on Saturday were Neil Finn, David Gray, Foo Fighters and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. On the Sunday I saw Spooks, Nelly Furtardo, Atomic Kitten, Wheatus and Muse. Biggest disap
pointment = Muse, great set. No interaction with the audience not worthy to a headlining band. Biggest surprise = Spooks, really upbeat set. Brought Nelly Furtardo + Wheatus on stage. Didn’t think they’d be that good. Best band there = Close between the Chili’s and Foo Fighters but the Chili have to take second place. The Foo Fighters rocked and blasted out a quality set. ! Cost ! The cost of the ticket was cheaper than seeing all the bands individually so yeah it was cost effective. However, it was a big concert not a festival and was far too commercial for my liking. The food was overpriced as were the attractions there (namely the fairground rides). ! Weather + conditions ! It rained, then the sun shone. It rained, then the sun shone. It rained, then the sun shone. It rained, then the sun shone . . . . . It rained, then the sun shone. This equated to mud and plenty of it; well it just wouldn’t be the same without it! ! Comparison to glasto ! Not a touch on the great festival itself. No atmosphere, lots of rules + regs. Hard to relax and chill out. Site was too small. The 11pm curfew on bands took the piss. ! Summary ! Wouldn’t go again, maybe a day ticket if some top bands were on that I’ve not seen, e.g. the Offspring. Don’t recommend to others, unless you’ve got plenty of cash and are looking for somewhere to deposit it, such as Mr. Branson’s pockets.
V2001 is probably the most commercialized of all the festivals, but also one of the best organized. You won't find many fence jumpers (like Glastonbury) due to the arena being separated from the camping areas, so you would have to jump more than one fence to get in (Although I'm sure some achieved it). My only complaints about V2001 are that it finishes at 11pm each night, I'm presuming its some sort of licensing thing, and the toilet facilities are very, very poor (nowhere near enough for the people in there - hence the hundreds of guys peeing up the arena wall all day long). Surely these people realise that if you serve that much beer and nosh that it all has to go somewhere....? Also because they have a monopoly on it all the vendors overprice everything (£2.80 for a can of lager..!!). Anyway enough of that whingeing, lets talk music... Saturday opened with a visit to the main stage to see Witness who I'd never heard of before (and were fairly good) followed by Aussie rockers Powderfinger, whose album I've had for a few months. Powderfinger had a good rapport with the crowd and their songs suit the big stage, if more people had known the songs it could have been a cracking sing along. For the rest of the afternoon nothing major was on so we stopped for a quick listen to Starsailor and Turin Brakes, although I'm told Atomic Kitten drew a fair crowd in the JJB "tent". What everyone was waiting for was the main 3 acts: David Gray, Foo Fighters and the Chili Peppers. Dave Gray came on and we all found our singing voices (its amazing to think when I saw him at Glasto last year he was a virtual unknown). He bellowed out his best tunes (the guy has an amazing voice) including Babylon (which he called "the tune that f**ked with his life", in a good way I presume?). After Mr Gray came the Foo's who proceeded to rock the place - apart from a few calm moments when Dave Grohl spotted a fe
w people at the front of the crowd who needed some help. Saturday's finale for most was the Red Hot Chili Peppers with a series of strange globes and a big video screen adorning the stage. One thing you have to remember is that these guys are strange, they wear strange clothes, have a strange sense of humour but, they know how to play. They mixed up some traditional numbers from their earlier albums with the classics off "Californication" and the highlight was when we all sang along to "under the bridge". End of day one, back to the campsite for more drinking etc........ Sunday isn't Sunday without a hangover, and a spot of rain. The day started with Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes wailing out a load of tunes, followed by the slightly bizarre rap/funk band Spooks. After that came Nelly Furtado, nice-looking one-hit wonder that she is. Everything was deathly quiet apart from when she played 'I'm like a bird'. Next on were Yorkshire indie-pop band Embrace who did their best to get us all going, unfortunately their songs tend to have long choruses which aren't condusive to singing along, hence we all sang "Come back to what you know, na na na ....". Still they did liven us all up. After that came my personal highlight, Faithless. This is one dance band who know how to play live and they have a front man who knows how to get evryone involved, Maxi Jazz the buddhist rapper. Trust me when I say that everyone danced and sang along, and there was a general state of euphoria. When they went off the stage Maxi stated that it was the best gig they have ever played, and you could tell he meant it. After Faithless came the band of the year, Coldplay. Another band who have come a long way since Glasto last year. The guys were up for it from the moment they came on stage and had us all singing along to "Trouble" and "Yellow", their two big singles to date. Chris Mar
tin was so excited he climbed up the scaffold, and he even phoned his mum & dad from on stage. Top performance boys. As the weekend was starting to draw to a close, a few people were leaving and the choices were Charlatans or JJ72 or go home. I opted for JJ72, who for some reason had been given an hour slot to play despite only releasing one album so far?!? They were good, although the lead singer needs to interact with the crowd a bit more as he resembles a shy schoolboy at times, although I think the female bass player, Hilary, probably commands the most attention. The JJ's finished a little early and not being a Texas or Muse fan or feeling like braving the crowds to see Kylie Minogue my friends and I made for home (for a shave, a hot shower and a real bed). Altogether a good festival, not the best weather, a bit expensive and probably lacking one more big act (like Travis or Stereophonics). Next year, its back to Glastonbury for me.................
On one of the few rainy weekends of the summer, I ventured over to Staffordshire's Weston Park for the V2001 festival. Despite the criticism of being far too over-commercialised, it turned out to be an excellent couple of days, with the headlining acts including Texas, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, David Gray and Coldplay. SATURDAY After arriving very early in the morning and finally finding a pitch for our tent, we managed a few hours sleep before heading over to the arena to check it all out. As well as the three main stages, there was also a range of food and drink stalls, several merchandise stands and even a few fairground rides. The main 'V' stage was home to the 'bigger' bands, whilst the Wembley TV stage at the north end of the park and the covered JJB/Puma arena played host to the other acts. -- Grey clouds, occasional showers, more rain on the horizon Picking up something to eat and drink, we settled on the grass by the Wembley stage to see the first performance of the day; scheduled to be American group Lifehouse. Instead, we were greeted by another band altogether. Coming on stage, the brightly-dressed singer proclaimed, "You're probably wondering who the f**k we are" and I'm still not entirely sure of their name. Still, they were a nice start to the day, with a couple of good songs and an interesting choice in shirts. Luckily, I had my sunglasses on! Next up on the Wembley stage was Ed Harcourt, and although I'd not heard any of his music before, we decided to stay where we were. I wasn't disappointed with this decision. Coming on with his band, Ed settled down behind his keyboard and flew straight into the first song, accompanied by a trumpet and double bass. Only playing for half an hour, I was left wanting to hear more, and will definitely be looking up a few of his songs. The finale was an outstanding rendition of 'Shanghai', with Ed literally leaping on
to his keyboard with such energy that a stagehand only just managed to keep it upright! With a twenty minute break before the next act, we took a quick trip over to the V stage to catch the end of Powderfinger's set, but only managed to see their final song. Rain clouds started to form overhead, and by the time we arrived back at the Wembley stage to see Turin Brakes, the rain had started to fall. Not for the first time during the weekend, waterproofs were brought out. The band themselves gave a good set, with the standout song being their recent single, 'Mind Over Money'. Rather than paying for alcoholic drinks at the festival with cash, you instead were required to purchase 'beer vouchers' in advance for £2.80 each. These can then be exchanged for whichever drink you want (lager, bitter and Bacardi breezers were amongst the selection), so after Turin Brakes had finished we headed over to the nearest Carling stand. Looking through the programme (bought for £6), we didn't see anything in the line-up that stood out at that time, so, beer-in-hand, we headed over to the JJB tent to catch a glimpse of Atomic Kitten. Surprisingly, it was jam-packed, so rather than trying to dodge past the under-staffed security people, we drifted back over to the V stage for the second half of Neil Finn's set. Fairly good, Neil's performance was lifted further by the addition of three Crowded House numbers towards the end that really got the crowd going. After 'Distant Sun', the rain of the last hour stopped and, almost tempting fate, Neil launched into probably his most played song, 'Weather With You'. By the time he finished with 'Don't Dream It's Over', the crowd were more than ready for the appearance of Placebo, so we pushed further towards the stage. With a great live performance, Brian Molko bounded around the stage whilst the band played a number of popular songs, the best being 'Pure M
orning' and 'Haemoglobin'. Quite a few people left after Placebo finished; probably off to see Starsailor and Doves over on the Wembley stage; so by the time David Gray emerged, we were reasonably close to the front. Launching straight into 'Sail Away', the first thing that was evident was David's confidence - he was clearly enjoying himself. His usual bobbing head was on overdrive here, although fortunately the crazy drummer did draw some attention away from it! Playing a few songs from 'White Ladder', plus a few older ones, this was one my favourite performances of V2001. A final extended version of 'Please Forgive Me' closed the set, with David standing triumphant atop his piano. With the Foo Fighters not due on for another half an hour, we popped off to get something to eat before returning to watch them from the back of the crowd. -- Rain clearing; a warm evening in prospect The Foo Fighters were very good and enjoyable to watch. I'm not that familiar with their music, but it was heavy rock oriented with plenty of crowd-surfing and general madness taking place. After their set, there was an air of anticipation abound for the headlining act, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as we made our way forward through the massive crowd. Although they were due to come out at nine fifteen, the Chilis didn't actually appear until close to half past, so the atmosphere during the build up was electric. Eventually the wait was over though, and the band began with one of their better known songs, 'Give it Away', before following up with the more recent hit, 'Scar Tissue'. Mixing several songs from their 'Californication' album with some of their older stuff, the band gave a very enjoyable performance, although they often seemed to go off at a tangent during some of the numbers. Halfway though a song, bassist Flea would start jamming with lead guitarist John Fruciante; r
eally showing off their obvious musical talents. All of this culminated in a marvellous guitar finale that was simply breathtaking in its grandness. Overall, a very impressive set, with a good stage design and some nice song selections. SUNDAY -- Heavy showers, dark clouds, plenty of mud After a torrential downpour during the morning, when I foolishly decided to queue for the cash machine, it was looking like another damp day in prospect. Thankfully, the rain started to clear later on, making for a pleasant, sunny afternoon. After getting lost on the way to the car park (don't ask) and half-covered in mud on the way back, we eventually made it to the V Stage to see Nelly Furtado. Having only heard her two singles, 'I'm Like A Bird' and 'Turn Out The Light', I was interested in listening to some of her other songs. Her strong vocal ability was most noticeable in this performance, as well as her obvious energy as she bounced effortlessly around the stage. I suspect most of the people in the crowd were waiting for the appearance of Embrace though, as her attempts at audience participation fell rather short. However, a drawn out final chorus from 'I'm Like A Bird' went down well, as more people arrived for Embrace. As well as a few songs from 'The Good Will Out', Embrace threw in some new material too, but there's no doubting what was most popular with the audience. 'All You Good Good People' and 'Come Back To What You Know' were the real crowd pleasers, and the rousing 'la la la la' finale had everyone singing along. The singer's dancing left much to be desired though… ;) -- Rain clouds moving away, weather brightening up Returning to the Wembley stage for the first time on Sunday, we joined a raucous crowd awaiting the entrance of Wheatus, a band I only knew through the huge success of their single, 'Teenage Dirtbag'.
As it turned out, this was the final stage of their tour, and the lead singer obviously wanted to go out with a bang. It was quite a good show, with a few songs I did actually recognise, and the introduction of Spooks towards the end was somewhat surprising (although after reading another opinion, it sounds like they were returning a favour). All of this culminated in a lively extended playing of the aforementioned single, with several members of Spooks joining in with saxophone, trumpet and drums. We had to leave quickly at the end though, as Coldplay were due to start over on the V stage just a few minutes later. Coldplay were one of the acts I was most looking forward to seeing, having bought 'Parachutes' a while ago. Singer Chris Martin carried the performance with real enthusiasm, as the band played several songs from that album, including 'Shiver', 'Don't Panic' and 'Yellow', which was apparently "bigger than Bohemian Rhapsody". Chris even phoned his mum halfway through the set, later climbed the side of the stage, and was generally very appreciative of the fans in the crowd. We also got to hear a few new songs, one of which Chris claimed would be available in Woolworth's bargain bin next year for 99p! It was time for some more over-priced food, so we headed off to grab some pizza and a drink before the Charlatans started, although we ended up missing the beginning of their set due to them starting early. Still, we did hear a few of their classics, including 'North Country Boy', as well as recent song 'Impossible' and their new single, 'Love Is The Key'. -- Dimming light, warm weather with a cool breeze Rather than shooting off to see Muse with my friends, I decided to stay and see Texas on the main stage. With over a half-hour wait following the Charlatans' early finish, I managed to get right to the front to see Texas open with their first song,
'I Don't Want a Lover'. This was then followed up with a string of other well-known numbers, including 'Summer Son', 'Black Eyed Boy', 'When We Are Together' and 'Inner Smile'. In an excellent finish to the weekend, the encore saw Sharleen emerge in leathers for a spirited cover of 'Suspicious Minds' that had the whole crowd singing along for a good ten minutes. After that, everyone went home happy. This being my first festival experience, I have to say I was extremely impressed, and would definitely recommend going to next year's event. Admittedly, I don't really have anything to compare it with, but in the end the superb music and atmosphere more than made up for the wretched weather and extortionate prices. A few tips for anyone considering going next year though: 1) Take plenty of money with you! I made the mistake of reading "cash machine on site" and not taking enough with me. The queue for the four ATMs was enormous for pretty much the whole time, and I ended up waiting for nearly two hours in the pouring rain on Sunday morning. Not a pleasant experience. 2) If at all possible, try to use the toilets in the actual arena rather than those around the campsites - there was a noticeable difference between the two, although to be truthful, the ones in the arena were still only the better of two evils. Definitely don't forget to take some loo roll with you! 3) Remember to have some kind of waterproof clothing to put on if necessary. It might seem inconvenient carrying it around with you but believe me, you'll be glad you did if you get the sort of weather experienced this year. 4) Enjoy yourself!
As I sit here typing away, smelly, muddy, scruffy, it's blatantly obvious I've just been to a festival (slightly less obvious why I chose to write this before cleaning myself up). But I'm rather less smelly, muddy and scruffy than I would have been had I just come back from Reading/Leeds or Glastonbury. V2001 is very much the toned-down festival, perfect for first-timers, younger people and the faint of heart. I personally wouldn't have paid to go to this festival. At £60 for two days, with a line up that boasted the mighty Atomic Kitten and Kylie Minogue, and with extortionate charges for programmes, drinks and food, I would have stayed at home had I not had the opportunity to get paid for going. I worked there as an 'official vendor of programmes and laminates'. The 'laminates' are basically five or six pieces of card, laminated, with running times on, put on a tacky ribbon with Virgin logos all over it. Must cost all of 10 or 15p to make. And the charge for these wonderful creations? £5! What makes it even worse is the fact that there is no way to find out the essential information of who's playing when and where, other than to buy a laminate for £5 or a programme for £6. Astonishingly demand for these things was huge, which gives you a fair idea of the kind of people in attendance. If you don't know what I mean, try imagining people at Glastonbury putting up with that. It gave me a very early indication that Virgin had targeted their market astonishingly well and were set to make a huge amount of money. The programmes at least had some content, but were very badly written, with a few spelling mistakes thrown in for good measure. Anyway, enough griping for now. There were 3 stages with bands on - the main stage, the 'Wembley something or other stage' and the 'JJB/Puma tent' with a stage in. There was also a dance tent pretending to be 'Slinky', the famous club night, and
a smaller dance tent sponsored by Bacardi. The theme of sponsorship was rather strong to put it mildly. The main stage played host to a curious mix of bands, from hip-hop to pure pop, from rocky to funky, none of them particularly well known, with a few notable exceptions (David Gray, Coldplay, Nelly Furtardo, Red Hot Chili Peppers). It was a similar story in the JJB/whatever tent, with a number of credible acts interspersed with chart toppers. The other outdoor stage seemed to have a more reliable line-up of less well known acts, with a few big names throw in (Wheatus, Muse). The sound throughout was impressive from all the stages, which certainly made a pleasant change for me. Presumably that's where all the money from the laminates went? The general atmosphere on site was pretty good - a bit less threatening than other festivals, but also a bit less lively. Having said that, we did get a bit of trouble from a random scally who wouldn't leave us alone. I'm sure most people had a trouble free weekend, but at any gathering like this there's bound to be a bit of trouble. The facilities were OK, nothing special. The toilets still stunk, but at least there was the odd one with bog roll, and they remained standing for the duration unlike at Reading. One real problem with this festiveal was that everything had finished by 11 o'clock, including the dance tents. This was a bit of a shock to the system, and left us a bit bemused. There were films showing in the JJB tent, but this somehow didn't quite do it for me, especially as the film on the first night was X-Men. So you're pretty much left to your own devices after 11 and there is very little in the way of activity or atmosphere. Okay, on to the interesting bit, at least for me anyway - the bands I saw!! WOOO!!!! First things first - Sparklehorse, an obscurely named and obscure sounding American band with a penchant for quirky me
lodies and strange instruments. They played well enough, showcased some impressive new songs, rocked out at the end, but the crowd didn't quite know how to respond. Which is fair enough really because they are a bit of a weird band. It was good to see that even for the smaller bands on earlier in the day, such as Sparklehorse, there was still a reasonable crowd. A quick guest appearance by the singer from the Cardigans made things a little more interesting but not much. This was in the rankly branded sports warehouse of a tent. Next up for me were Foo Fighters on the main stage. Last year at Reading they were pretty poor and they've not written anything since, so I wasn't overly optimistic. Nevertheless they sounded pretty good and two or three of their songs caught my ear like never before. Unfortunately Dave Grohl persisted in doing his sickly overly-caring-fan-loving-all-round-nice-guy-rock-star bit which was annoying, and the band still rely heavily on big bangs and excessively drawn-out slow bits to make an impression. This is a shame because it makes them seem like just another bland rock band with no songs, which I don't think is the case. Oh yeah, and the drummer looks constipated when he plays which did my head in a bit. Headlining on the main stage were the infinitely more impressive and vastly more talented Chili Peppers. Supremely talented musicians the lot of them, when they click they sound truly awesome. There were a few occasions when I really believed I was watching something special. Anthony Kelwhathisface strutting his stuff on the mike, Flea going, or should I say being, crazy on the bass, Johnny Frisciwotsit showing just how much the band need him and Chad Smith generally being the most awesome drummer on the planet. It was, at times, a bit patchy as the band so often go off on a tangent, often just jamming and sometimes forgetting structures of songs due to a combination of not giving a shit and excessive dru
g consumption. But this is, in part, the philosophy behind the way they make their music and if you lose that you lose it too. Plus it makes things more interesting than an ordered run-out of album tracks. On numerous occasions it was just Flea and Johnny on stage making things up as they went along, culminating in a fantastic, dramatic finale. Never a bum note, anyone who has ever tried to jam with another guitarist would have truly appreciated this sight. Impressive. Day two, and the first band I saw on the main stage was Spooks, fairly big in the UK due to the success of the singles 'Things I've Seen' and 'Karma Hotel'. I went along out of interest because I'd really enjoyed the singles. They came on, making an awful lot of noise about trying to show that hip-hop should have no boundaries and so on and so forth, and eventually got to the music. There was about 11 of them on stage, including about 4 rappers and one female singer. Needless to say it was an entertaining sight watching these lot strut their stuff. And the music was good too, but not quite enough to get the less than hip-hop mad crowd going. Still they soldiered on, mixing Karma Hotel into Rapper's Delight by the Sugarhill Gang, sounding good, looking good, getting a bit of crowd participation, but never quite convincing. But then the drummer got involved! A big, big (very fat) man with Don King-esque hair, adorned in bright yellow and orange, he jumped up from his drum kit for a song when he wasn't required and started jumping around the stage and dancing like a madman. This, combined with all the others going mental and jumping around and making good music too got the crowd up for it and things improved a lot after that. That drummer dancing truly was a sight to behold. Think Jerry Springer. They ended with the brilliant 'Things I've Seen', bringing out a number of special guests including Nelly Furtado and the singer from Wheatus. In all th
is brought the total to 20 people cavorting around the stage, accompanying a funked-up version of a really good song. A good show! Coldplay were next for me on the main stage, putting on an immaculate performance of the songs from 'Parachutes' and being generally very appreciative of their chance to be there doing what they were doing. The singer put on a good show, phoning his dad, climbing up the side of the stage and seeming genuinely just happy to be there, but the rest of the band just hid behind him. The drummer wasn't very good :-(. Impressive display though, and of course the huge crowd absolutely lapped it up, singing along surprisingly well at every opportunity. It left everyone with a smile on their faces, which has to be a good thing. Next up were the Avalanches, an Australian band apparently served up as a prelude to Kylie in the JJB tent. I chose these over the Charlatans on the main stage on the back of their album, 'Since I left You'. They were pretty good, keeping it interesting with lots of sampling, scratching, instrument swapping and general zaniness on stage. They might want to invest in a proper drummer though. They rarely sounded as good as they do on record, but occasionally got there, sounding terrific when they did. Still, they weren't quite as good as I'd hoped, but then I did have high expectations. Avalanches left me in the mood for dancing, and definitely not in the mood for being crushed by hordes of people watching international superstar Kylie Minogue in a pretty small tent (great planning guys), and not in the mood for whiny Muse either. Texas were on the main stage but they weren't enough to tempt me away from the lures of the dance tent. We wandered over to the Bacardi Bar hoping for some of the funky house we'd found in the tent of the same name in Reading last year. Unfortunately we soon realised that was a pipe dream when confronted by rubbish hard house, so w
e moved on to the fake Slinky jobby. This was marginally better, so we stayed and boogied for a bit to some average trancey house. The atmosphere was OK, but nothing special, and there was a male/female ratio of about 80/20. This gave the place a bit of an unpleasant feel as hordes of slimy blokes competed for the girl, in the process bugging those of us who just wanted to dance. Still, it was good fun for an hour or so before I went out to catch some fresh air and see what Muse were up to. I wandered over towards the stage Muse were on and stood a way back, within good earshot, but with plenty of space to cool off. After one song I realised there was no way I was leaving until they'd finished. They were truly awesome. They have a powerful sound on record, but here they just sounded unreal. They boomed out over the crowd towards me, sounding thoroughly majestic, the light show on stage adding to the effect as I stood in the dark. The performance was immaculate, the singing piercing through the air, note-perfect. They well and truly showed the benefit of being a 3-piece with a performance that was tighter than a very tight thing (fear of censorship prevented use of another analogy there). Did I mention that the drummer was very good? Anyway, sitting there under a tree watching them like this was one of those very surreal, brilliant moments which make you realise how good festivals can be. Even toned down commercial ones!