The omnipresent Mogwai finally take to the stage – the worst kept secret on site is that they are today’s surprise guests. They prove triumphantly that playing slow is the new playing fast for today’s genuine Punk Rock upstarts.
Then, suddenly, tonight Matthew, Stuart Braithwaite is Ian Curtis with the help of a copy of the biography ‘Touching From A Distance’.
Singing Joy Division like, well, an angel but looking more and more like the devil’s spawn.
They truly are inheritors of mantle and the new keepers of the flame amidst the daft old punks who’ve been wheezing through their sets this weekend.
A Kappa-clad phantom menace, witness the power of the dark side. Breathless and beautiful.(Neil Thomson)
Playing after but surely not really headlining above are The Pastels. Velvet Underground mimsiness can be forgiven in 22 year olds, but Stephen Pastel has been bashing those same eponymous third VU album licks since before colour TV. The Pastels are one of those sacred cow bands that inspire reverence in their frequently more succesful peers – everyone from Nirvana to Cornelius has paid homage at their shrine – and it’s fitting that they are here. They were in at the start of all this asexual 40 year olds dressed as 4 year olds schtick. But the samey, flat and lifeless music just melds into one long moan of committed indieness. Forgettable.
Punk rock granddad Vic Godard could have been Mark E Smith, if Mark hadn’t snatched the job from under him.
Great lost genius Vic is rediscovered every generation or so and is on a bit of a roll at the moment, interspersing Subway Sect classics like ‘Nobody’s Scared’ – tonight’s opener – ‘Ambition’ and the gorgeous ‘Stop That Girl’ – with newer songs like current single ‘Nasty Man’. Up against Sleater Kinney, Vic pulled a respectable crowd – most of the ageing punk rock malcontents are here – and seems very at home. In another life, Vic would have been happy to be here at Pontins in a non-ironic role as mullet-permed camp entertainer cum crooner.(Tommy Udo)[/I]
The one responsible for the one on The Boy With The Arab Strap that didn’t sound like Belle & Sebastian. The road to success rarely comes dressed in such an inauspicious manner – but it’s the description as one on the lips of the throng.
Televisions and projectors blink images of toddlers at play and home movie footage. Eschewing the rock assault approach or the fumbling innocence/amateurishness of their peers – loops and spoken word (imagine a spaced out Spud to Arab Strap‘s curmudgeonly Begbie) permeate the atmosphere like mist.
It’s arty and – yes – it’s dance music done by people who can’t dance for people who can’t dance, but it’s seductive in an unassuming way. The addition of the visuals gives the occasionally tiresome CD a shot of vitality adding an extra dimenson the songs need. The set is finished before it’s started and the scratchy loping of ‘Burning Flies’ is buzzing in your brain.(Anthony Thornton)