Isle Of Skye Festival

Isle Of Skye Festival

Ashaig Airstrip, Broadford, Friday May 25-Saturday May 26

It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off an Arctic Monkey in Skye, which is the sort of place where people would happily huddle around a witch’s tit just to thaw out. But this doesn’t stop Scots from going topless during Calvin Harris’ set. The 8,000-odd here seem utterly devoted to getting loaded, whatever the weather. Harris smirks his way through, undoubtedly because he’s on the cusp of genuine bigness: this is music so dumb it goes round the IQ clock and turns into Einstein. Call him a two-hit wonder at your peril.

After pile-driving through their unending catalogue of cartoon punk, Ash exit with a track from the forthcoming ‘Twilight Of The Innocents’, which makes our eyes stand out on stalks like we’re in Tom & Jerry. It’s six minutes of densely-textured, bleeping feedback, more Sigur Rós than Sex Pistols. Meanwhile, Tom Kasabian oscillates between bigging-up the locals (“Scotland, you fookers are mad!”) and getting all gladiatorial during ‘LSF’ (“C’mon you fookers. Hit me. Hit me. Break me. C’mon. C’mon!”).

Saturday greets us with big hair and enormous prog, as The Aliens attempt to bore us into submission. Taking cover in a side-tent, we find charismatic Dundee heroes The Law melting down The Stone Roses and The Byrds into something that, for once, doesn’t make you want to cry salty tears of indifference. Their breakout has begun.

Throughout the day, rumours swirl about Dirty Pretty Things. Are they about to “do a Babyshambles”? By evening, Carl is still in his hotel, being plied with medicine by doctors desperate to restore his ruptured vocal chords. Finally, Napoleonic in his tunic and scarf, Carl leads his band through the DPT cannon, even squeezing in a couple of coruscating new ones.

Skye bows out with Primal Scream: tall, skinny black-clad Bobby Gillespie leaning on his mic-stand like an obscene question mark in sunglasses. As the final electric machine-gun volley of ‘Swastika Eyes’ drifts away, we realise that Godlike Genius barely covers a band who’ve crested as many genres as the Primals. Now could someone just stop Mani from burbling about Manchester City? Please!

Gavin Haynes