The more sensitive, and almost European of festivals, definitely did it again. The whole event showed a lovely maturity, which oozed a combination of extreme power and class.
The Thursday was all about The Human League. They started the ground beating with some sensational old memories. The haircuts were obviously amiss but their prowess certainly wasn't.
The main stage dictated almost the entire Saturday for the masses. The Ting Tings were quite amazing. As a two man outfit they were a Kaleidoscope of inventiveness and courage. Whispers of "Wow!" echoed throughout the crowd. The drummer laid down a loop on the Roland 303; smeared a delicious guitar riff over that, and then approached the drums with chest out. The curtains were open for vocals and a definite Maverick. Roll on their next album.
Pendulum hit the stage as NASA on a Bass Test. Drinks hit the floor; cigarettes were extinguished and 40,000 people were the best dancers on the island.....!!!
A sea of people became an ocean in anticipation of Basement Jaxx. Costume, rhythm, glitz and anthems rang out. The Basement Jaxx will always hold it at the top, quite purely because of their incessant on-stage partying. The Basement Jaxx almost have a better time than the audience; if that is even imaginable.
Keith, Maxim, Liam et al climaxed a fantastic day like a constant volley of hand-grenades landing on the stage.....!! The Prodigy have arrived; AGAIN!! The party became garrisons of Voodoo people, stomping the ground; we were Maxim's warriors; we found energy we didn't know we had. Keith Flint took over a slot in this awesome performance; Keith Flint unleashed Leviathan, Frey and Argonauts upon us; Keith Flint brought his Hologram with him.
The hypnotic journey back to the camping areas, blurred by our bitches being smacked up and our fires being started was diluted wonderfully, and frankly surprisingly by Bananarama. Like the genetic merging of The Eurovision Song Contest and Top of the Pops, a previously entranced clientelle let out a bed-time "aaaaaaaaaah."
I took time to check out The Noisettes earlier that day too. These are a band with contained spice. A spice that will inevitably reveal itself. The Noisettes would have made David Byrne proud. The leading lady played a perfect Jazz Bass as Davids Weymouth had done before her. This band look, sound and move like the real thing. Grace Jones has clearly a profound influence on them too.
Saturday began with a orchaestral Amanda/Sahron? Corr on the main stage. She dazzled in an emerald gown and an antique Violin. Her band, clad in dinner suits, starched collars and pearls, were her perfect tonic. A delightful way to wake up, Amanda glided through hits old and new. The crowd, ever growing smiled from ear to ear.
Arcadian Kicks brought a brunette Blondie and some fancy guitar work to a sleepy but devoted bunch of early-birds. Lyrics were impressive here; especially the poitically un-biased "Nail Me To Your Ceiling.....!"
Love was then brought to us all by way of The Zombies. An announcement that they "would love to play for us" won over a thousand hearts. A retirement in 1967, a rebirth in the 80's, credit in the noughties and a final ensemble at the weekend showed us The Zombies are undoubtedly in the autumn of a fantasic career. She's Not There saw the first ovation of the day.
The Big Top exploded into life with the Macabees.....! Treble abounded and energy went bouncing into the very chasms of this fantastic towered beast. The Rakes then stormed the stage; a stage still simmering from their predecessors. A very vocal front man announced his excitement at supporting Will Young and McFly.....ahem! "Terror" was their anthem..... an anthem that The Meteors and The Guanabatz would have to died to have written.
Paulo Nutini is a Superstar. The crowd surged forward in their thousands, the songs flew out one after another like a Platinum repertoire. This Scottish Italian, of Caribbean influence, hit jazz with Creole and chocolate covered it with love and heart. Paulo Nutini has 50 years of experience under his romantic belt..... but how.? Quite amazing. His shoulders, of maybe a previous life, have the aroma of Miss Simone, Messrs Colman and Ellington.
Kelly Jones and his Stereophonics brought the entirity of everything Rock n' Roll together that night. Three songs on though, and we were off back to the Big Top for Ultravox. Behind fantasic laser fans and coloured beats, Midge and his boys had clearly rehearsed a double-take of a show. "Vienna" brought the hairs up and a Chicken-suit to everybodys skin. We were on day three now and Ultravox knew. A crescendo that Jean Michel Jarre could have easily choreographed, Ultravox asserted many things. Paramount being, the Leopard not only doesn't change it's spots, but can carry Zebra up the Boabab in it's jaws.
A tribute band brought to many people what could've only've been a chance of a lifetime. Pink Floyd were reincarnated. This was an act that you daydream back off into days and days later. From "Wish You Were Here" to "Dirty Woman" every note was flawless; this was a Meteor Shower and it was happening in a Big Top! The female vocals nearly brought the house down and the roar of thousands continued song after song...... hands were clap-raw, voices were shriek-sore and this spectacle was an epiphany for many.
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