August 17, 2003 14:04

V FESTIVAL CHELMSFORD, NME STAGE, SATURDAY

Feeder do the best they can in their Coldplay-rivalling slot, Turin Brakes are, well, [i]nice[/i], and NME gets to be the Super Furry Animals' yeti...

V FESTIVAL CHELMSFORD, NME STAGE, SATURDAY
Battling for crowd attendance against festival legends Coldplay, it would seem Feeder already have their work cut out for them. No matter though, as their hardcore group of fans more than make up for any diminished numbers. Deafening chants of 'Feeder, Feeder' start up as soon as the band take to the stage and continue every time there is a break in noise levels. Against a stunning backdrop of dinosaur bones and sky surfing 'Forget About Tomorrow' sees the resilient three-piece - swollen tonight by a second guitarist - at their pop-grunge best. But as Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose rock out guitar-to-guitar and a string section swells out from no obvious source it's clear that the corporate Americanisms Feeder have long entertained are becoming increasingly difficult to tame. And while their encore of 'Just A Day' is certainly a highlight, let's be honest - it's not Coldplay's 'Clocks'.


The sensitive acoustic alternative to Dave Grohl's muscle-rock over on the main stage is the old V spirit of picnic baskets and Chardonnay - and it's alive and well as London boys Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian, aka Turin Brakes, quietly take the stage. Treating us to all the hits - 'Future Boy', 'Long Distance', 'Painkiller' et al, Turin Brakes rarely excite, but then again they never disappoint either.


Super Furry Animals invited NME onstage to be their all-drumming, all-dancing onstage yeti. It was the best moment of our lives. And 'The Man Don't Give A Fuck' was even better. You should have been there.


Despite drumming on their recent album and performing on the same day, Dave Grohl didn't turn up to drum with withered industrial punks Killing Joke. So neither did we.


Shortly before V 2003, in a bid to clear the bad air, NME challenged [/a] to a physical, mental and spatial triathlon. If they won, we would publicly retract the '4/10' album review we gave them and if we won they would have to wear 'NME was right' t-shirts onstage today. Being too precious and scared of us though, they wussed out and so we stand firmly by our initial review.


If the size of the crowd here is anything to go by then Damien Rice is about to be the biggest coffee table purchase since [a]'s Big Calm. But the good news is that he's better than [/a], may have heard 'The Bends' once and says 'fuck' a lot.


While in terms of distance the Isle Of Wight is not actually that far south, the water crossing clearly makes a difference. With their dub-tinged, continental pop, The Bees think in colour whereas the rest of the British Isles - and most of the bands of the day - are a sludgy grey.


If [a] lead singer John Mullin was at an office party he'd be the creepy, older gentleman who pins you to a wall, tells you that you have a "lavly schmile" before puking into a glass and passing out. Not a good look for a 20-something who was once told he looked like George Best and not a good sound for a band who aspire to the cerebral wit and charm of [/a].


Meanwhile, Martin Grech has grown his hair since last time we saw him and now looks like a super-cool pre-chop Fab Moretti. Unfortunately, this is cancelled out by having a drummer who is quite clearly Jaz Mann from Babylon Zoo. And that's not the only change. Martin has also forgone his choir-boy theatrics for industrial glam-rock. Yeah, it sucks.


With their quiet/loud bits, start-stops, chromatic harmonies and wry social commentaries, [a] are the British [/a] you can't dance to. Referencing all the right bits of the post-punk cannon ([a], [/a], Gang Of Four and, er, [a]), they're create an intellectual assault you know you ought to be part of but can't be arsed and would rather just lie in the sun and listen to instead.


Kirby Muxloe

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