Feeder and The White StripesEdit this event
- Heaton Park, Salford »
Due to torrential storms yesterday’s line up of big name DJs were left playing live to a vacant arena, evacuated amidst fears of crowd safety. Today, Radio One has done their best to rectify the situation by spreading all types of straw, sawdust and wooden boards over the waterlogged site. The sun even manages to peep through the clouds for a few minutes during the early afternoon, although the threat of rain is ever-present.
Getting off to an unimpressive start we see Dirty Vegas and Aqualung - famous for the song off the V.W. ad – then crowd pleasers, The Coral. As a free festival it’s hard to condemn the day but at times it does feel like some kind of showcase or advertisement for these popular but financially under-performing bands. The Coral play all their most familiar, utterly predictable and irritatingly memorable pop tunes with such banality of purpose that you wonder why they’re there at all. Suddenly and almost at the end of their set, the band kick off into a crazy psychedelic mix of off-the-cuff jam and creative confusion that could possibly be described as Sonic Youth-esque. It’s a break from the conformity of the day that is sadly short lived.
On to Badly Drawn Boy then who with his familiar hobo-in-a-hat appearance seems like such a sweet little man. Awww… Kissing babies on stage, praising Manchester and Mancunians, paying tribute to Joe Strummer; BDB is just such a nice guy – isn’t he?! It’s all too presidential for me; it all seems such a falsified image used to get the crowd on his side before telling them to “Buy my record”. _“We’re the best band here so stick with us”, bollocks you are. Dull, insipid, uninspiring and by far the worst band of the day, the void they create lies waiting to be filled…
The White Stripes are quickly becoming one of the best live acts in the world. Fast and raw they race through a few classics to open the set barely taking the time to stop for air. They are the first band of the day that impress me. Effort has been put in to this. This is a show with a spine and a backbone, an incredibly motivated performance of energy and life. Their roadies are men in theatrical black suits and red ties - how cool is that?! Jack White leaps into every crevice of the stage with guitar, keyboards, vocals; it’s just an amazing spectacle. By far the biggest applause goes out to ‘Seven Nation Army’ while Meg White proves herself to be a vocalist (and as the only woman on stage today perhaps as some type of figurehead as well) in ‘Cold, Cold Night’, which the crowds respects and adores.
There are only so many words to describe dull and I’ve already used a lot of them on Badly Drawn Boy. See if you can guess who I’m talking about; lacklustre performance, uninteresting onstage presence, a set of the most obvious songs from their catalogue, a sea of effects pedals but every song still sounds the same! Got it yet? Drink cider from a lemon? Got a house in Devon? Seven days in the sun? That’s right! It's Feeder! *Rubbish*.
Finally then, the much hyped Stereophonics take to their carpeted stage and play the longest set of the day which finishes bizarrely early at seven o’clock. Even for the headliners people are failing to get really motivated and there is barely any movement in the crowd at all. Some people are even leaving. Stereophonics play a solid set with a few duff numbers from 'J.E.E.P' and a few good ones from 'Word Gets Around'. Kelly Jones looks inspiringly cool and his voice continues to sound great with its husky croakiness and amazing range. They finish the day well but conventionally.
Like many festivals, today shows obvious signs of commercialism and subliminal marketing campaigns. As a BBC run event though, they aren’t allowed to admit that so the word ‘sponsors’ is replaced by ‘supports’ and Carling isn’t on sale - not anywhere! The whole day is free which makes a nice change to overpriced Reading and Glastonbury but unlike other festivals today isn’t particularly good. It was a nice gift from Radio One to the student population of Manchester and appealed to a large spectrum of people (although for much of the day I questioned the legitimacy in putting on an expensive gig with license payers' money for kids unlikely to own or pay TV licenses). All in all though, it was a bit duff, but if you wanted a properly wicked time you should have gone to the DiS all-dayer!!
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