Justin Vernon’s third Bon Iver album is a weird and wonderful thing
Feeder, The Breeders, Electric Soft Parade, The Vines, New Found Glory, Guided By Voices, The Bellr
Feeder get a heroes' welcome, The Breeders mark two 'aren't bad' and the Electric Soft Parade go all mature on us
The chanting starts well before the band were even near the stage. Some 20 minutes in fact. The anticipation is instantly rewarded as Feeder - probably much to their own relief - tumble headlong into their short set with some ease. Rolling out a clutch of new songs early on (new single, 'Come Back Around', and the towering 'Godzilla'), the rest of the sub-hour show, although peppered with songs from their new album, is pretty much a greatest hits set - 'Insomnia', 'Buck Rogers', 'High', 'My Perfect Day' and rounding things off rather nicely with a thunderous 'Just A Day'.
Back then, and for what our ears are worth sounding bigger and bolder than ever.
You get the feeling that the sisters Deal love standing on stages bashing out their quirky, angular ditties. Watching them at work in The Breeders you also get the feeling that this is the only one of their many vehicles over the years that could work by being revisited… although you can't help feeling that if all Kim wants - or more likely needs - is to be on a stage, singing songs, she maybe should have considered a phone call to Mr Black. Now that would have been a show. As it is, The Breeders mark two aren't bad. It's just that we've heard it all before, quite literally. Still, if it makes the girl happy, who are we to piss the chips?
It was all going so well for The Electric Soft Parade wasn't it? Their 'Holes In The Wall' album was hailed as debut album of the year all over the shop. And then, with a speed similar to that with which they piled up the plaudits, it all went very flat.
On today's evidence, it would not only be harsh to rule out them out so soon, but really really foolish. Finishing with a ten-minute-plus version of 'Silent To The Dark', The Electric Soft Parade still have much to offer - falling somewhere in age between The Who and Spiritualized, their sound is mature beyond their tender years. There was once a little Scottish band called Travis. They weren't this good a live band when they released their debut album. Come to think of it, no one got all that excited about the album either. Wonder what happened to them. Oh, and it absolutely pissed down during their set. The future is indeed bright.
When The Vines took to the stage at this year’s Glastonbury, there was excitement to almost fever pitch. Despite what you may have read wherever, they were rubbish. No need to lie this time. Today The Vines were very very good. Very very very very good in fact. As the White Stripes finish their main stage set, the entire crowd about turn and move as one to the Evening Session stage. And that was 20 minutes before the flippin’ Vines had even started.
Highlights? All of it, natch, but set-closer ‘Fuck The World’, ‘Get Free’, ‘Outtatheway’ and erm, ‘Miss Jackson’ lifted the canvass. But that ‘Mary Jane’ track, it’s still a love or hate thing...
Well, stick a pitchfork so far up our ass that we will be dead if New Found Glory don’t live up to their name. Fortunately for us, they do. That pitchfork thing has happened to us before and it’s not nice. Despite the fact that their glory in the UK is new-found there’s no evidence of that mattering a jot here. The tent is ram-a-lama-ding-dong full and not just here to get an earful of recent single, ‘My Friends Over You’. Oh no sir. Big up as young people say. And big up too for NFG’s labelmates Finch and Fenix TX who boing-boing-boinged like good uns on this very stage earlier. More fuel to the fire when it comes to the world-dom thing for Cali’s Drive-Thru Records we say.
With a set that will last exactly 50 of your earth minutes, the wonder of the day is how Guided By Voices’ Bob Pollard will stand up to not being able to bowl out a set which last somewhere between 30 and 50 songs.
As it happens, he not only manages to stand up - a rare occasion in itself - but he fair seems to actually enjoy playing today’s massively truncated set. Admittedly it’s hard to tell when a dervish like out Bob is enjoying himself without falling over pished, but we’d say this was as close as it god. Lovely stuff.
Throwing forth the blues as understood by the greatest rock and roll band in the world ever (AC/DC in case you were in any doubt) rather than the kind of blues understood by old blind men sitting on their porches in some Deep South backwater, The Bellrays are a welcome butt-shaker as our afternoon rumbles on. Not only do they have, in Lisa Kekaula, a frontwoman who just looks loud, they also have a frontwoman who has so much soul she could re-hoof the feet of an entire Roman army... should they require it. Which in this day an age is unlikely. She could do it however.
It might only be 12.50 on day one of the Carling Weekend, but a quiet corner of field which is more accustomed to the gentle moo of a cow is about to become a seething hotbed of Detroit geetar activity. Welcome then mates of Jack White and some sort of stars in their own right, The Von Bondies. About a billion earlier arrivals squeezed into the Evening Session to say a big Reading hello. Open your hearts too, you won’t be disappointed.
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