V Festival: the DiS preview
- Radiohead »
- The Grates »
- Regina Spektor »
- Pure Reason Revolution »
- Girls Aloud »
- Young Knives »
- Bloc Party »
- The Cardigans »
- Beck »
- Sugababes »
- Jamie T »
One of the true big boys amongst the ever-growing festival throng, V Festival is almost upon us. This weekend, teenagers and thirty(plus)-somethings alike will converge on the festival’s twin sites – one in Chelmsford, the other in Staffordshire – to drink expensive warm lager while the dulcet tones of Sandi Thom, James Morrison and Lily Allen aid their gentle drift to a wonderful plane of serenity…
…A ha ha ha ha ha… I so nearly maintained a straight face, just then, while writing that up there. Honest, I almost convinced myself that V’s worth the bundle of money each attendee has traded for a ticket to the two-day yawn-fest. Almost.
But, and now I am being serious, there are some genuinely good artists performing over the two days. It’s just a shame that their presence is likely to be overshadowed entirely by the likes of the aforementioned album chart conquerors. A couple of notable exceptions aside, of course…
Well, we were never likely to not mention Radiohead (pictured, main), were we? Exactly: the Oxford-spawned five-piece have owned the heart of many a DiS reader and writer alike for the past decade, at least. Their headline set at V is, in all probability, certain to be the brilliantly sparkling highlight of the weekend – expect guitar magic from Greenwood, J and wobbling ‘n’ wavering vocals of ghostly detachment and squealed delight from Yorke, T. But to expect a greatest hits-style set or a series of inaccessible electro-rock blips and pieces? We’re reckoning the former: ‘Fake Plastic Trees’, ‘Paranoid Android’, ‘High And Dry’, ‘Street Spirit’, ‘Karma Police’, ‘Pyramid Song’… really, how many bands in Britain can claim so many certified classics as their own? And we didn’t even mention the ‘C’ song.
Beck is sure to be another highlight – the chameleon-esque singing songwriting showman is rarely upstaged, and with a wealth of incredibly varied material at his disposal it’s only right to expect the unexpected. Sure, the hits will make appearances – those who can’t shake a leg to ‘Devil’s Haircut’ are either watching from a raised wheelchair platform or deaf – but even segues from song to song will keep all eyes glued to the stage. Will he do a wee dance, flick pixie feet skywards and hop’n’skip to his DJ (does he still have a DJ)? Will he freestyle over some cymbal splashes while a guitarist tweaks his tunings? We don’t know. It’s bound to be super, though. SUPER.
DiS’s favourite art-punk-rock-whatever outfit, Bloc Party, are something of an anomaly on the V bill: a ‘big’ band that isn’t synonymous with estate-driving dads and Q best-100-albums-ever polls. Yet, anyway. It feels like years since Silent Alarm made us go all gooey eared with admiration and pride – after all, the band formed via the magic of our own message boards. That said album is regarded as a classic despite its age – it was only released last year – is an absolute testament to its quality. We’ve our fingers, eyes, knees and toes crossed for its follow-up to be of a similar vintage, but we recommend you keep your peepers in order during the four-piece’s set – it’s certain to be a blast of spiky riffs and crisp beats.
We can’t remember, exactly, why we’ve chosen to highlight The Cardigans… oh yeah, for that song. You know, ‘My Favourite Game’. What, you were assuming we meant ‘Lovefool’? What is wrong with you… are you a girl? You are? Okay… so is Nina Perrson y’know. And we like her, even though she’s married and stuff. Yes, we like her like that…
Another pop music ‘babe’, as the red-tops undoubtedly prefix any mention of her name with, is Cheryl Tweedy. Both her all-girl quintet Girls Aloud and their chart-bothering peers Sugababes are appearing at V. Expect those aforementioned thirty-somethings to seem as if they’re salivating without even the slightest aroma of booze in their nostrils, while their kids go loopy for the hits – ‘Love Machine’, ‘Jump’, ‘Push The Button’, ‘Overload’, et cetera. Actually, the idea of watching these acts run through their greatest hits to date is so much more appealing that sitting through even five minutes of most of the ‘indie’ acts on offer. With the exception of the following, y’understand…
Jamie T has guitar and regularly travels. Indeed, he’s embarking on a frankly long tour in October, click here for details. This is a fine chance then, an ideal opportunity even, to see the poetic rapper-slash-strummer-cum-acoustic-troubadour with the sun on your back; wait ‘til October and the only heat on offer’s likely to be the burly guy next to you’s fag as he ‘accidentally’ stubs it out on your forearm. Which would be bad. So see and hear our Jamie now, eh?
A three-piece that have in certain circles been misconstrued as YYY coattail-riding chancers from Down Under, The Grates are actually a brilliant party act whose tunes are as addictive as popping open Pringles tubes. Rowdily punk yet possessing a heart of sugary sweetness, the trio’s Gravity Won’t Get You High long-player (review) is the aural equivalent of pouring hundreds and thousands down your open throat. Sickly, but the buzz is oh so wonderful. Go see, dance, and then go drink your way through whatever blandness is almost certain to follow.
Pure Reason Revolution are prog-pop types from Reading whose The Dark Third debut album split critics and consumers alike – are their numerous nods to Seventies prog dinosaurs entirely serious, or do they actually take their cues from more modern purveyors of ambitious pop-rock? Whatever your personal opinion, what can’t be doubted is the sextet’s commitment to enveloping their audiences in sound – with so many guitars employed, they’re able to surround the listener and hold them tighter than that time your mum grabbed you when you tried to cross the road before the Green man appeared. That left a week-long bruise, and you didn’t do it again, did ya?
Regina Spektor leaves this writer a little cold, to be honest – it’s all that whooping and tooting, which totally distracts attention from her actually fairly luscious voice. Still, loads of other folk love her – check out this review of her new Begin To Hope album – so she earns her place here amongst our recommended few. Expect drama and vocal fireworks by all previous accounts, backed by music to have the hardest of men blubbing like a child. If they’ve not dribbled all their tears out as saliva to those already noted pop pretties, that is.
Which leaves us leaving you with The Young Knives. With a super debut album in the bag (and soon to be in stores, see our review here), the trio are a fiery pop-punk proposition sure to have preconceptions of bookish twee-pop blown away like autumn leaves in a hurricane. It’s not just DiS that’s been impressed by their album, either – the broadsheets are on board, as are the regular weekly outlets of critical prose. So what we’re saying is: believe the (albeit limited) hype: The Young Knives could well blow up like Bloc Party before them, and you know you want to be telling your mates you saw them before they did.
And that’s that. Go on, off you go kiddies… have fun at V. Us? We’re staying here. Couldn’t find anyone to feed the fish…
More information on the V Festival – travel and all that jazz – can be found at its official site, here.
- All Hail the Culturati... Fighting Over Radiohead's Hail to the Thief
- Reich, Radiohead and the Pop-Classical Rift: Steve Reich's Radio Rewrite
- Radiohead, Caribou at The O2 Arena, London, Tue 09 Oct
- The DiS Community's... 101 Favourite Albums
- Weekend Listening: LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, Tom Waits, New Look, Cat Power + more!
- Half-Year: DiS' Most Read Articles, Reviews and Threads of 2012 (so far!)
- No Surprises? 15 Classic Albums of 15 Years Ago
- In Photos: Radiohead @ The Frank Erwin Centre, Austin TX