March 25, 1999 14:24


Chaletville gets fopped and rocked...

The odd band out on the Bowlie bill - unashamedly mainstream, successful, not from Glasgow - the Divine Comedy may have topped Saturday's main stage bill to appease Radio 1 or to act as a counterweight to the unashamedly cultish and endearingly amateur Flaming Lips. Whatever.

It was as close as Bowlie's come to being just another 'proper' gig. You can't help thinking that if Neil Hannon took what he did a little more seriously, he could approach the star-stroking heights of his hero, Scott Walker; as it is, for every inspired moment he has, he comes crashing down with loathsome bilge like 'National Express'.

Still, it's a crowd pleaser - which is rare in itself this weekend - and the ballroom looks like it's come comparatively to life. It's Saturday night, after all. People want a tune to cop off to. Even Belle & Sebastian fans.(Tommy Udo)

Rock rolls up at Rye - takes a left and arrives in Chaletville. This is the Blues Explosion(pictured, left) - a mission to restore proper true values of rock 'n' roll - liberate rock from the nostalgia ghetto, install rocket engines and blast music into orbit.

It's also the purest distillation of rock pantomime since Freddie Mercury last launched his crotch at an audience who were under the misapprehension that they were witnessing the epitome of testosterone-fuelled maleness.

So dispel thoughts that his leather trousers and bestial yelps are out of place - Jon Spencer belongs in this holiday camp just as much as Jim Davidson or Little & Large. Only he's much funnier.

A romp though the evil voodoo pleasures of 'Sweat' and a blistering 'Blues X Man' as well as the last album 'Acme' dispels the nagging stereotype of the Bowlie weekenders. They can rock as well y'know.(Anthony Thornton)

The first real rock of the day from Olympia's Sleater Kinney comes as a' blessed relief. A fierce and fiery combustion of angular guitar attack and Corin Tuckers lava-voiced yowl, Sleater Kinney were enough to terrify anyone who thought Belle And Sebastian were the epitome of musical skills. The girl-group ramamlama of 'Little Babies' and the jagged attack of new single 'Get Up' make this one of tonight's main stage highlight. (Victoria Segal)

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