Friday, May 19, 2006

"I've Had Nights I'll Never Forget"

"I've Had Nights I'll Never Forget"

How many ways are there to describe a gig? I don't know but I think that we're in the process of finding out. So if you're still hanging on, well done. You wouldn't have heard about the toilet roll otherwise, so you made the right decision. We may be on the final lap here. Notice I said 'may be'. It's not definite, so don't come after me with a stick if there's more.

Right, next on the big stage - the mighty Feeder. And I think this is where experience and years and years of gigs came into play for the Feeder boys. Because not only did they manage to arrange their set so that you got the required moments to throw yourself about you also got time to catch breath and spy on Comedy Dave dancing in the wheelchair section (or maybe that was just me). Plus since they've just released the singles collection there was none of the undoubtedly worthy but not quite as exciting for the casual interloper business of 'here's a song that you won't know', it was instead a parade of the best bits of Feeder. And the best bits are very, very good indeed. Especially when delivered full pelt to an audience of thousands who are throwing themselves around. The best bit? A hard call but possibly the absolutely rocking 'Buck Rogers'. I know that the singles album is the last one that Feeder are contracted to but I hope there's more. It feels like I've only just properly made their aquaintance, I'd like to get the chance to throw myself about with them some more.

I was somewhat reluctant for the Feeder set to end, but such is the march of these things that you don't have much choice. So Nik and I took this as a cue to go and get a drink (from the Guest Bar, obviously rather than joining the five mile queue which greeted the one in the main area). Then it was time for the final, closely planned assualt that required only a little bit of dashing from tent to tent in order to see everyone we wanted to. But before I go on to mention The Kooks and their set I should probably note that this is where the Mystery Guest remained resolutely a Mystery Guest for me, until I overheard someone discussing said Guest an hour or so later. So, yes, I am the girl who missed Franz Ferdinand blowing the roof off the main tent. All I can say is that I didn't hear any of it. Not a whisper. Not even the guitar riff that appears in all their songs. So, let's just assume that from my point they weren't very good. Obviously this has no bearing on reality as I've listened to their set and they sounded, well, not bad but I'm not acknowledging that as it means acknowledging the fact that I missed said cracking set. Me, I don't know what the fuss was about. Literally.

But The Kooks I did see. And I'd wondered how rocking they were going to be, as their music doesn't strike me as being particularly aimed in that direction. But this was the small tent, so of course it was going to rock its socks off, and mid way through the set (probably when those Scottish upstarts on the main stage finished) it became incredibly packed with people all wanting to dispense with their socks. And The Kooks themselves? Well, they worked with the audience, they - predictably - decided to demonstrate the great 'How to screw up a set...' game by playing 'Naive' about two thirds of the way through, but - overall - I enjoyed them. I sense they're a band I might have enjoyed more if I'd have had their album. Plus they possibly suffered in my head a little for not being Feeder, but then that's not really their fault since no one other than Feeder is Feeder. If that makes sense.

It was a running leap back to the main tent when The Kooks had finished in order to see Pink. And it probably should be noted that this was a running leap more dictated by Nik than me, as I wouldn't necessarily call myself a Pink fan. If I like my popstars quirky then she probably just falls the wrong side of weird. I think it's the tattoos that push her over. Possibly by some form of osmosis, though, I seem to have a good proportion of the words to her songs in my head which is always a freaky thing to discover. Plus, I have to hold my hands up - this Pink, she knows how to perform. And she did so in that manner which is unashamedly, gloriously pop. Plus, possibly more than any act other than Snow Patrol, she proved a masterclass on how to intergrate the songs that everyone knows with the new ones from an album which only the select few will know. And she has a voice and a half on her. So whilst I won't be rushing out for the album top marks for Pink. And I liked her outfit.

Going from Pink to The Zutons (via an absolutely spinetingling audience participation version of The Killers's 'Mr Brightside' at the end of Annie Mac's DJ set) is one of the odder musical transitions I've had to make. The kind of thing that might happen if you put your generic mp3 player on shuffle and it decided to throw a curve ball at you. But, less than ten minutes after Pink had finished getting the party started, I found myself in front on The Zutons. I suspect that The Zutons are a group I will always like more live than I do on an album. There was an overwhelming energy about their performance, a sense that it was unfolding in an unknown direction, that it would never be the same again. And, let's be clear, there are not enough female saxophone players in chart music. We jumped, and stamped, and shouted the lines back at them and the tent was precariously close to explosion, even after we'd had the post-single exodus. It felt a very fitting end for all the acts who'd graced the In New Music We Trust stage over the course of the weekend.

But there wasn't even time to finish cheering for The Zutons given that their set had overrun and Keane had already come on to the Main Stage. So Nik and I hot-footed around to the furthest side of the tent that was surprisingly clear of people (it might have been the smell of the loos) to take part in Sing Alonga Keane. Because - as well as having a frontman I would recognise, if only for the fact that there aren't many chubby faced popstars around - to me Keane means singing along. Their songs are made for it. Not necessarily to be bounced to - unless you got rather carried away - but those soaring choruses, arms in the air - they might as well come with a warning saying 'You will find yourself tanked up on carlsberg and singing along with thousands of strangers to this song'. I didn't think they were as good a closing act as Snow Patrol had been the previous evening, or even as good as Feeder had been in the afternoon, but Keane - they're a band whose songs get into your head and won't get out. And 'Everybody's Changing', courtesy of its singalong, had a real kind of fractured beauty about it. It wasn't by any means perfect but it was close enough to leave me happy.

1 comment:

MetalHeadHunter said...

Yeah Keane are awesome, I have the album Live Recordings 2004 and of course Hopes and Fears. The new album Under The Iron Sea is out on June 12th.
I would love to see Keane live! And I agree: you can't help singing along to their songs.