The Music, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grandaddy and more...
The Music might have been touring non-stop for the last year, but their lumbering Fisher Price psychedelia hasn’t got any more easy to listen to. Turgid jams are laid on top of lumbering drumming, while singer Robert Harvey’s unlovely honk is more grating than ever. Over on the Main Stage, Metallica are unveiling their vulgar display of power. This is just pigeon-chested.
The rumours about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs cancelling their show tonight because they’re still stuck in the horrendous traffic jams on the motorway outside have been circulating for a while. When they do arrive, therefore, it’s a joyous thing. Karen’s dressed in the kind of skintight black dress last seen on Kylie Minogue in about 1988, prancing and rolling around the stage like a small child that’s just eaten too many smarties, while her cohorts hold the whole thing together in thrilling style. And when they play ‘Our Time’, each and every person in this rammed tent sings along. Today belonged to them.
Before the storm, some calm. Grandaddy’s soothing West Coast indie burbling makes perfect sense at the end of what has already been a long day. And as they play swoonsome recent single ‘El Caminos In The West’, the flashing lights on the big wheel in the background have never looked more beautiful. Lovely.
Hot Hot Heat reignite the party after the preceding band’s dullness, playing more early-’80s infected jerk-indie. Singer Steve Bays jerks and contorts himself while the band play the one about bandages that was a hit and a raft of others that sound pretty much the same except less good. A no score-draw.
Hell Is For Heroes provide the day’s first real break: their polite Home Counties take on post-hardcore grinding provides a lot of people with the perfect opportunity to wonder off to The Square Pie Company for a bit of scran, safe in the knowledge thast they’re not missing much. NME.COM can confirm that you didn’t: limp riffs, zero charisma and even less fun.
Not that you’d ever be able to dance to Brighton psychobilly nutjobs ’80s Matchbox B-Line Disaster. Our backstage spies saw them sitting in a circle cross-legged and chanting outside their tourbus before their appearance today, but live these devout Buddhists are anything but serene. Singer Guy McKnight is a frothing, bug-eyed loon, while his bands nasty songs about incest, hotrods and chickens are probably not on the Dalai Lama’s stereo very often.
Radio 4 gamely attempt to recreate the messed-up sounds of New York’s legendary Paradise Garage club in about 1983, when punk and funk sat together side-by-side. In fact, they’re so in thrall to the ’80s that they even have an AIDS awareness song, ‘Start A Fire’. Still, their rubbery itch-punk provokes the first real dancing of the day.
After all the guitar posturing, Denmark’s The Raveonettes take a Nordic chilliness. Basically the B-Movie obsessed perv-rock offspring of The Jesus And Mary Chain and The Shangri-La’s, their chilly take on the Wall Of Sound has statuesque bassist Sharon Foo pouts magnificently, while singer Sune Rose Wagner falls to his knees testifying amongst all the feedback. Wonderful.
You wish histrionic Bristol metal waifs Serafin could spend as much time on ideas as Kinesis. Belting out slabs of impressive-sounding but ultimately vapid noise, they fall back on the standard quiet bit/quiet bi/really loud bit/quiet indie trick until it becomes threadbare. Their bassist once pissed on the audience when they were supporting Feeder. Fortunately he chooses not to give a repeat performance today.
Youthful Manchester politico-grungers Kinesis have brought a lot of fans with them: everyone watching knows all the words to all the songs, even the ones that haven’t been released yet. Channelling raw energy and dirty-assed riffs into righteous political sloganeering without ever being worthy or boring is no mean feat.
Not that Texans The Applicators are a particularly worthy soundtrack to these youth cult ructions: their formulaic femme-punk screeching makes for an unwelcome start to the day, particularly for those with hangovers.