Monday, 20 August 2012

V Festival 2012 - Sunday

Gary Lightbody throws himself into Snow Patrol's set

MORNING! Ssssh, not too loud!
A bit of a sore head and the stupendous heat is back in full force in Chelmsford for day two of V Festival.

Today’s line up – to be honest – doesn’t have quite the same appeal as yesterday, but there are a couple of must-sees on my list.
I start the day slowly, taking in a number of acts including The Stranglers, The Rifles, Shed Seven and a touch of Olly Murs. The latter occurred as I waited for one of those must-sees – Madness.

Despite being a fan since childhood, I had never seen them perform live and they were not to disappoint. It did seem the band – and especially lead singer Suggs – may have been at the free bar ahead of their performance at around 3.30pm, but it added to the charm and showmanship.
Indeed, so involved with the fun and ‘banter’ of the afternoon were the band that saxophonist Lee Thompson missed his solo in Baggy Trousers because he was off-stage kicking inflatable balls into the crowd.

Murs returned to perform It Must Be Love with the band, and despite the disappointment of Suggs not singing that one, the performance overall was superb.

Sadly, the other classic to follow them – Tom Jones – didn’t have quite the same appeal or fun factor and my jubilant mood was dampened somewhat. A great singer, don’t get me wrong, but he didn’t do it for me on a festival stage.
I proved to be something of a disjointed running order on the main stage. Veteran Jones was followed by Tinie Tempah, who in turn was followed by Snow Patrol.
There are few similarities between the acts for them to smoothly follow one another, but I suppose the idea of a festival is that there is something for all.
Olly Murs performed his set and then returned with Madness

Snow Patrol were, however, one of the highlights of the day.
I had heard some of their music when they stepped up as headliners after Oasis pulled out in 2009, but was surprised at how good they were and how many songs I knew.
This time round, I knew more of what to expect and was not disappointed. Gary Lightbody is such an enthusiastic frontman that the crowd cannot but believe him when he says how wonderful they are and what a good time he was having.
It was another triumphant set.

The Killers then followed as headliners and seemed to work their magic on the crowd. While they have delivered some exceptional songs – not least Mr Brightside – there is something about the band that doesn’t pull me in. And while I listened and enjoyed a number of their songs, there was still not enough to make me ‘a fan’.

And so a wonderful weekend ends on something of a downer, but there was still plenty across the two days that makes me want to return in 2013.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

V Festival 2012 - Saturday

Rodrigo y Gabriella perform their superb guitar skills

My God it’s hot! Hot, hot, hot.
The skies above Chelmsford are clear and blue except for a big ball of fire – beautiful weather for standing in a field with a cold beer watching bands and listening to their music.

VFestival offered up a line up full of variety today, but I seemed to spend most of it at the main stage, which opened up with Scottish twins The Proclaimers.
The Reid brothers have become something of a regular in the early slots at V, with this being their fourth appearance since their debut in 2005. Of course, their set is short and sweet and most are there to hear one song – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) – and when it comes it is a real crowd pleaser that sets the tone for the day.

After The Proclaimers comes another act featuring a duo and a guitar (or two) Rodrigo yGabriella, who are back for their third appearance in Chelmsford.
The Mexican duo made their name in Ireland and their brand of fiery, fast-fingered acoustic guitar leaves the viewer spell-bound and in awe. They are unlike any other act on the bill, which made them a must see and well worth it.

After seeking some shade, and another beer, I reach that weird point at a festival when there’s no one on I REALLY want to see, so the best option is to take on a few.
Over the course of the next couple of hours I take in parts of The Charlatans, MaverickSabre, James Morrison, Labrinth, Keane and Rizzle Kicks. It’s not the best way to take in festival music, but none of the acts really did enough to pull me in to staying for more than a couple of songs. That changes, though, with Example.

This was not an act high on my agenda to see, but a friend texted to meet up and with no other plan I did so in front of the main stage. It was a perfect act to see at that time of the evening. Pumping with dance tunes, but not an all-out rave up, it got the pulses flowing and the crowd bouncing. As the sun went down and the evening cooled (a little) Example delivered a great set.

Headliners The Stone Roses delivered a triumphant set
Then followed Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. I had been at V in 2009 when Oasis were due to headline, but pulled out on the day and split as a band a few days later. Although Noel and his new band are not currently in the same league as Oasis, it was still an awesome show.
He rattled through tracks off the eponymous album as well as throwing in a large number of Oasis classics – a perfect blend for an expectant crowd who lapped it up as the Madchester vibe grew in anticipation of the headliners.

The reformed Stone Roses delivered an outstanding headline performance with frontman Ian Brown strutting around the stage with typical swagger, while John Squire was just mesmerising on guitar.
The fitting finale of I Am The Resurrection was an awesome end to the day and sealed their place as one of the festivals classic headliners.