Friday, May 19, 2006

"Danny boy, don't be afraid, to shake that ass, and misbehave"

'"Danny boy, don't be afraid, to shake that ass, and misbehave"

Sunday in Dundee meant a later start, new green wristbands to let us into the posh toilets and so much sun that I managed to burn my nose before we'd even been allowed into the site.

It also meant The View on the In New Music We Trust stage. If you're not up with The View let me fill you in. They're a local (that is local to Dundee rather than just local in general, because that has very different conotations) band who have caused a little bit of a stir, primarily by supporting Babyshambles (never has a band name been more appropriate I suspect). Obviously I knew this ages ago and didn't read it out of the Dundee Courier on Monday morning. So 'hot new things' might be applied to these Scottish boys with accents that no one south of Edinburgh will understand. My - not inconsiderable - opinion after two songs? Not bad. Couldn't name a song - I'd have needed a translator and the BBC hadn't laid one on as part of the deal - but I was there tapping my foot, bobbing my head and generally being jealous that two people in the middle of the audience had tambourines. Because, if my escapades at Boro Town Hall weren't enough of a hint, I want a tambourine.

I didn't quite have time to follow this line of thought, or indeed steal either of the tambourines, as Nik and I had a pressing date on the main stage with The Feeling. And I'd been really looking forward to seeing them; Popjustice are holding them up as the saviours of pop after all. I don't know about that but bop along choruses I do know when I hear them and The Feeling have them in abundance. Maybe as it was lunchtime on Sunday - not a time of the week especially held up for its commitment to rock - the crowd weren't quite, erm, feeling The Feeling and - at least until we hit the 'na na nas' of 'Sewn' (and if a na na na isn't going to get a crowd going then nothing will) - it all seemed a strangely muted affair. The Feeling should be a great band for playing this kind of size of audience - how you want to dance - but I it didn't quite hold together. Oh, they were good, and I danced and I loved 'My Little World' but it wasn't out of this world, eyes closed, don't let this moment end stuff. Maybe it was just the slot. Maybe they need more time to grow as a band. I'd probably like to see them at a smaller venue (and not on a Sunday lunchtime) before I make my verdict. But the na nas - no, they were good.

The next band contained someone I knew I would recognise if I bumped into him in the Star Bar. Not because of my affection for his music (singalong choruses aside I'm kind of ambivalent about it) but because reality television is a wonderful thing for creating instant (if forgetable) recognition. Yes, next on Main Stage was The Ordinary Boys made up of Preston and other boys who no one knows the names of because they didn't go on Celebrity Big Brother and subsquently develop some kind of disease which required them to propose to every girl they'd come into contact with. But Preston wasn't there so I could rant about how fickle he is, because before he got famous there was music and he was here for the music again. Admittedly at least 85% of the crowd - possibly myself included - were in the tent because of the Power of Celeb BB. But that's good for the music. Milk it while it lasts, Preston. Look what happened to Mark Owen. And you don't have an early nineties career in the most successful boyband of recent history to fall back on.

But The Ordinary Boys, not Celeb BB's Preston, were there - so what can I say? Erm, well I enjoyed it. There wasn't enough bouncing in general (again Sunday afternoon stupor) but their set was fun. And there should be a place for music which is fun. They're not changing the world, but then they're not claiming to either. And 'Boys Will Be Boys' is a great song to yell along to. Plus Preston gets huge bonus marks for proving the fact he listens to the Breakfast show by shouting 'Fundee!' and - randomly - launching in to one of Comedy Dave's jokes which probably made no sense to anyone but Preston, Nik and myself. It almost made me forgive him for the whole Chantelle business. Almost. But not quite because that's a lot of blonde hair he's got to get over.

After a break for very expensive chips, a little blast of the ever rotating Sugababes (from the back of the tent I couldn't tell the difference from their previous incarnation) and a trip to our new best friends in the Merchandising Tent (see, Nik and I know who you need to be friends with, and it's not boys with guitars) it was to the smaller stage for We Are Scientists. Now my knowledge of We Are Scientists is somewhat sketchy. Even now, having seen their complete set, I couldn't sing you any of their songs without help. But I did already know that they had the most amusing (and grammatically incorrect) t-shirt in the Merchandising Tent which was emblazoned with 'I Are Scientists'. And I probably should have guessed from this that though they have the impediment that they are American (maybe accounting for the grammar) they are possibly The Funniest Group In Rock. And I know this might not be saying much when they're competing with such comedy legends as Chris Martin but you only need to glance at their website to see what I'm talking about. Possibly the greatest moment in the set came when someone in the crowd threw a toilet roll (yes, I know that in the land of the portaloo that is a waste of a toilet roll) and it hit Lead Singer Scientist squarely on the head. And rather than having a hissy fit, storming off stage and refusing to come back to Dundee even for all of the cake in the city he started laughing. He thought it was as brilliant and as random as we all did: "That was fucking perfect!". And with that one sentence he secured his place in my long term affection because if anyone can take being hit on the head with a flying toilet roll with such good grace you know that they're a person you want to be friends with.

As we were in the small tent - and anyway everyone had recovered from Sunday lunch hangover - W.A.S's set existed through what seemed to be one giant bounce. And as Lead Singer Scientist summed up at the end: "There's a great marksman out there. And you're all great at hopping. And not everyone is". Apparently Austria's not so good with the hop, so I'd better make a mental note not to go to a gig there. But W.A.S, oh you've claimed a place in my heart, dodgy grammar and all.

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