Beck, Supergrass, and Sigur RósEdit this event
- South Park, Oxford »
The morning after, and words are still flying hot off my breath and heavy in my head. I'm just going to write the day as I saw it today…well, last night I was tempted to write a review just saying "Fuck me…" So it seemed a better idea to write it later…
Ok, so it started quickly and straight away the party atmosphere and expectation was high. For a good while the novelty of this mini festival was held collectively around the ground. Opener's The Rock Of Travolta, only just starting to play out of Oxford's small venues, were tentative. The lack of that close barrage of sound they can deliver was instead turned into a more melodic affair than all-out rock. Although, they did produce the first highlight with Darth Vader's Theme crunching out of I am your father. I think a round of applause is due to the lad's (and lass) for managing to keep it all together and put a smile on our faces. A good start.
Oxford's Hester Thrale though, despite their roots to early Radiohead, prove to be a very tepid display of boredom-inducing drudgery. That is a little harsh, as some tunes were full of ideas and some genuine creativity in the limited sound bracket of early-mid nineties indie, but it was delivered like a pizza ordered from Bulgaria; Lukewarm with a look of tired disdain….
…Unlike Humpthrey Littleton and his jazz band. They were a perfect warm up act for Radiohead; light, refreshing and truly toe-tapping. Also, played by people you could see know how to play AND perform.
Now things were starting to get serious, the novelty was over and people were beginning to surge into their positions. A brief appearance of The Boy Lard just added a new sense of the surreal and even more expectation to the crowd. Sigur Ros were, in my eyes, fantastic. The ethereal heaven-sent soundscapes cut through the density like snow white heat through grey ice. Unfortunately, I feel the crowd were divided. As they waited in the wings for Supergrass's funky clunk of guitar's and grins, they possibly weren't up for the sounds of multi-coloured ice-cubes melting…Although I think everyone gave a nod to the "Singing down a guitar" technique from Sveln-G-Englar.
From all the hype surrounding the boys return to Oxford, Supergrass didn't press my buttons at all. Strange twists kept on gyrating around the day's events. Solid as a rock musicianship, a massive crop of songs and a cool style counts for nothing if the passion is lost and there's a Set-list full of their latter-day armchair strum-a-longs. Pumping On Your Stereo, Lenny, Caught By The Fuzz and Strange Ones are all great…but they could have been so much better considering the material and the event. What comes down though, usually bounces up.
Beck's acoustic set is very sombre, full of country and blues crossovers and balladry. It is a very gentle view into Beck's able and true song-writing talent. His voice is actually beautiful at times, and he paints pretty pictures in simple pastel colours without getting morbid. A nice set of songs and a soft aperitif to what is about to arise from the cinders of an already satisfying day.
I could tell you about the hazy beginning, the rough edged bundle of nerves that was Airbag. The feel of a band trying to blindly catch something special in the dark…But I will tell you about the very first note (it's the best place to start I feel). The first note of The National Anthem cuts down mine and everyone's spine like a shot of adrenaline. Its brutal march getting the band and the crowd focused after a weird day of mis-matched bands and grey skies. This was it. Having never seen the only band to really touch me that is still around today, nothing but magic was going to be enough. The spell to wreck a boy's superlative vocabulary is a strange one though.
Hit after hit, new material emerging live like butterflies from the Cocoons of the more "difficult" albums, Thom enjoying himself like a kid with a magic set, Colin's camp dancing and enthusiatic charm, life defining moment after moment.
Fake Plastic Trees, Jonny playing guitar and organ at the same time (using the head-stock of the guitar), Ed jumping during The Bends, Moths glowing in the lights over our heads, orange city skies alight to the spectacle, cold rain flowing over faces of the gasping and ecstatic, the faces of the band encore after encore.
The final encore, a "failed" version of Motion Picture Soundtrack, Creep sounding so correct in every sense, Thom singing like he owns the world's time for a second, Jonny making his guitar explode like no one else could.
Yes. It was good. If you weren't there, I'm sorry. I can't find anymore words. I can definitely not find more sentences! I may be biased, but personally I don't give a fuck. It was good, that’s all you need know.
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