From the moment that ‘Slow Graffiti’ slowly unwinds with Stuart Murdoch barely visible at the back of that stage, Belle & Sebastian shuffle and slowly find their feet. Despite nerves it’s clear that there’s an uncharacteristic bounty of rehearsal at work here. The couple of times lead singer Stuart Murdoch fluffs lines and smiles are charming rather than irritating.
There’s a clear atmosphere of celebration – Stuart jigs and the band share jokes and smiles. By the time ‘Photo Jenny’ and ‘Lazy Line Painter Jane’ (with Monica Queen reviving the role as dueting belter she held on the EP of the same name) bring the set towards a conclusion there’s an outbreak of rock jumps first from guitarist Stevie Jackson and then from Stuart Murdoch himself.
Rounding off with an uplifting cover of The Who‘s ‘The Kids Are Alright’ they earn the role of band of the weekend which in the company of, among others, Teenage Fanclub, Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev and Mogwaiis an astonishing achievement.
As the sweat dries and the crowd burst with infectious happiness the only downside is that it’s hard to see how B&S can avoid being swallowed and assimilated by the mainstream they despise so much – but those are thoughts for tomorrow. Tonight B&S can be proud of what they achieved this weekend and perhaps look to next year doing it all again.(Anthony Thornton)
An edgy and gnarly Rev pace the stage, their mood explained perhaps by the rumours of a six hour Belle & Sebastian sound check,leaving Donahue and Co little time to prepare for themselves. Still, they manage their now characteristic slick set with aplomb. Sailing through ‘Holes’ and ‘Car Wash Hair’ while peppering the set with nose bleed level cacophony.
We’re going to see them everywhere this summer and tonight was perhaps the only real axle greased detached festival-like performance of a weekend characterised by the one-off and curious.
Lets hope they can keep up the RPM.Neil Thomson Missing in action for the past two years, Broadcast have just refined their retro futurist psychedelia into a slick and workable whole.
Time to work and get better gear, who knows, but ‘The Book Lovers’ has a drive in the sound that they lacked in the past.
With the space-themed back projections, they resemble nothing as much as post-Syd Pink Floyd and almost threaten to go into ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ at one point.(Tommy Udo)
Brought forward to an absurd afternoon slot, the story going around is that it’s to make way for a special guest – Pulp? Arab Strap? – though the truth is that Belle & Sebastian need the time to move a grand piano onto the stage. Anyway, Cornelius is here because he has – arguably – the most perfect Bowlie haircut seen all weekend. The music is high energy loop-heavy technoflash rock, bearing little resemblance to his records.
It’s a bit wearing, like Mahavishnu Orchestra at 78 rpm but Cornelius is one of the few acts of the weekend who sounds like he’s living in the late 1990s and not some monochrome Enid Blyton world before 1963.(Tommy Udo)