Foo Fighters, Doves and Sparklehorse are among the highlights of the Weston Park leg of V2001...
Tomorrow the more exotic creatures come out to play – women, black people, Australians even – but today is all shed-browsing Brit-dads and
sensible-trousered singer-songwriters. The nicest thing to say about indie striplings Idlewild? Erm, they are very polite and melodic and the singer has a new, shaggy haircut. Now comes the real challenge – Placebo. Urrrgh. Hang on, give me a minute. Right – Brian’s hair is very nicely cut. Oh yes. And the wretched ‘Pure Morning’ doesn’t drag on for several months, like it normally does.
Every generation needs its Val Doonican, allegedly, and here comes David Gray. The man who put the ‘rock’ into rocking chair. But as we’re being nice, we must admit that ‘This Year’s Love’ still sounds achingly beautiful, while the tender reinvention of Soft Cell’s ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ feels genuinely inspired. Geezer.
Hooray for Foo Fighters! Not only are they the most energetic band on the bill, but a moustachioed Dave Grohl oozes unflappable enthusiasm with every breakneck happy-hardcore anthem. No need for forced niceness here – the Tom Hanks of grunge wins everybody over with his cartoon lumberjack shirt and peachy-keen popcore goofiness. Does he mention that exactly 10 years ago yesterday, he filmed the video for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’? Or that next month marks a decade since ‘Nevermind’? No, dude, he just plugs in and rocks out. Respect.
WEMBLEY TV STAGE
Humph! It’s raining, and a field of drunkards sink on inflatable chairs casting a glazing eye over the following usual suspects: Turin Brakes, two acoustic-wielding Dom Jolys that make like the liberal democrat Manic Street Preachers; red-trousered scamps The Webb Brothers, who blast classic pop into a void of indifference; and The Cardigans‘ Nina Persson, who togs up in fetching leather to front the very so-so A Camp.
Doves are the day’s saving grace. What is Jimi Goodwin on these days? Bounding around the stage, introducing ‘Catch The Sun’ as ‘Why Does It Always Fuckin’ Sunshine On Me?’, he’s far and away Crap Indie Day’s most endearing emissary. Meanwhile new tune ‘Fuckface’ unleashes ten wonderful Madchester minutes of widdly ‘I Am The Resurrection’-style fireworks.
And finally… aiiiiii! It’s Toploader, The Gravestone of Indie. “Don’t worry about the rain!” trumpets curly Joe Washbourne triumphantly, like the river Nile’s just burst its banks. He is Rod Stewart in brown flares, the Tina Turner it’s OK for celebrity chefs to like – and an excruciating ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ can’t come soon enough.
NME can’t get in the tent for the first ten minutes of Atomic Kitten, so popular has their curio status proven. Tragically, for all the crumbling of indie snobbery, AK are a terrible pop band on every level. They can’t sing, can’t dance, don’t look anything special and make ‘Dancing In The Street’ sound like Bucks Fizz. “Fucking Scousers,” summarises a tent-departing punter, concisely.
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After all that nonsense, Sparklehorse are a relief. They hang flowers round the mic stands and slowly, solemnly pulse their way into the hearts of all present. Possibly the best band of the day, they sadly play to the smallest crowd. Tricky‘s new ‘rock’ direction is a cloudy dub-metal racket which sounds like Fugazi at the bottom of Loch Ness. It doesn’t always work but when it does – a superamped ‘Black Steel’ – it’s devastating. “Thank you very, very, very, very, very much,” gushes Tricky after an hour of headfuckery. Lovely man…
Grandaddy‘s minimal stage presence can’t detract from their excellence. ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot’ is what you always wanted prog rock to sound like; ‘AM180’ is an explosion of Casio-led elation. Plus their video screens display their song titles for slow learners.
asks, “Have you forgotten how to dance?” We have now.