V Festival 2013

V Festival 2013

Hylands Park, Chelmsford; Weston Park, Staffordshire

 Saturday, August 17–Sunday, August 18

1. James Skelly saves the Seventies

Staffordshire, Futures Stage, 4.10pm

On the main stage, pop muppet Olly Murs is doing an agonising medley of ’70s funk hits and the decade is in danger of being misrepresented forever. Rising to the defence of the time that restrained bass solos forgot, James Skelly & The Intenders have recruited two glamorous hippy types on backing vocals and a bloke in Fred Perry playing passionate harmonica. The former Coral frontman and his new band lope through the blues stomp of album ‘Love Undercover’ with an authentic devotion. Mark Beaumont

2. Katy B brings South London to Essex

Chelmsford, Arena Stage, 3.10pm

The sounds of south London come to Essex when Jessie Ware joins Katy B for a rendition of their collaboration ‘Aaliyah’. The set remains high-energy post-Ware, as Katy works her way through a hit-packed finale. The highlight is the entire tent singing “something something something” along to ‘Perfect Stranger’, sounding briefly like they have no idea what the words are. Lisa Wright

3. The Vaccines take on Rudimental

Staffordshire, Virgin Media Stage, 4.45pm

As The Vaccines churn up a punk-grit storm, there’s a sudden crowd-surge to the safety of Rudimental’s Ibiza soul whomps on the 4Music stage. Those who go to Rudimental get Faithless-sized deep-house wallops and reggae breakdowns. Those who remain twist themselves demented to ‘If You Wanna’, ‘Ghost Town’, watersport ballad ‘Wetsuit’ and ‘Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra)’, a Ramones pastiche smart enough to namecheck F Scott Fitzgerald. Add the Smithsy twangles adorning new single ‘Melody Calling’ and you find fresh signs of finesse poking out of the band’s threadbare denims. MB

4. Two Door Cinema Club debut a new song

Chelmsford, Virgin Media Stage, 4.55pm

“We have some news,” says frontman Alex Trimble. “We have a new single. We thought this would be a good day to play it for the first time.” And so arrives Madeon-produced newie ‘Changing Of The Seasons’, which in no way matches the coyness of the band. Still recognisably Two Door (ridiculously catchy, sprightly pop hooks) but with some hefty bass and a dance strut, it’s greeted as uproariously as singles ‘Sun’ and ‘What You Know’. LW

5. Maximo Park’s Springsteen moment

Staffordshire, 4Music Stage, 5.40pm

The Maximo Park diehards revel in the mid-noughties nostalgia of ‘Girls Who Play Guitars’, ‘Graffiti’ and ‘Going Missing’. The passing Calvin Harris fans are entranced by what appears to be a CBeebies presenter doing a new take on Cabaret. But literally everyone is blown away by the immense and heartfelt Bruce Springsteen-like bellow that frontman Paul Smith emits at the widescreen climax of 2009 single ‘Questing, Not Coasting’. MB

6 Jessie Ware conquers Jessie J

Chelmsford, Arena Stage, 5.05pm

Almost a year to the day since her debut album ‘Devotion’ came out, the 28-year-old looks every bit the soul diva in giant hooped earrings. ‘Wildest Moments’ gets a reaction that drowns out Jessie J’s bolshy pop across the site – surely the ultimate accolade. LW

7. Eels come as Goldie Lookin’ Chain

Staffordshire, Arena Stage, 6pm

E and his band have come dressed in uniform tracksuits, giving his louche, downbeat melodic blues a surreal slant, as if GLC have taken heavily to valium. Weirder still, the frontman plays the cock-rock bluesman for a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Oh Well’, dances like a monkey through ‘Peach Blossom’, and mashes up ‘Mr E’s Beautiful Blues’ and ‘My Beloved Monster’ as the tent suddenly fills with fans waiting for Ellie Goulding, who’s on next. MB

8. The Courteeners bring 2007 back

Chelmsford, 4Music Stage, 8.15pm

A reminder of the days when the band led by Liam Fray were full of a playful mocking wit, as well as swagger. The 2007 single ‘Acrylic’ is today’s unlikely anthem, and the line “You’re just like Plasticine, being moulded into a libertine dream” is sung back by the small, devoted crowd. They mean every word. LW

9. Kings Of Leon come out fighting

Staffordshire, Virgin Media Stage, 9.20pm

Their distant, dislocated air; their ragged, aging aesthetic; Nathan’s drumming gloves. Kings Of Leon have had stick for many reasons, but V finds them on the fight-back trail. Piling straight into ‘The Bucket’, they get down to the serious business of carving an epic new channel through country rock. ‘Fans’ punches with fresh power; ‘Crawl’ sizzles with political bile; and on ‘Back Down South’, they’re the band The Eagles might have been. Shifting the punkish chunk of early songs – ‘Holy Roller Novocaine’, ‘Four Kicks’, ‘Molly’s Chambers’ – to the middle of the set fixes their usual issues with dynamics, and they coast to the shivery desolation of ‘Cold Desert’. These Kings have rarely sounded so regal. MB

10. Beyonce is… Beyonce

Chelmsford, Virgin Media Stage, 9.15pm

She’s late onstage, but the hits come early. The 31-year-old opens with ‘Run The World (Girls)’, and the costume changes soon follow: a sassy police outfit is followed by a tasteful white trouser suit. The dance routines are impossibly athletic, and there are all kinds of perfume-ad style videos in which Bey talks about making her “mark on the world” and making all of her “dreams come true”. It’s ridiculous, as proper pop shows should be. LW