So here we are. Not only is that a nice foreshadowing of comments to come but it also marks a certain frankness to this post, which is supposed to be the sequel to the last, and hence the second installment of our quadrology. Now the law of sequels states either you have to build on and develop the narrative universe in new and exciting ways, developing character and so on, or that you throw a load more money at it, increasing the scope and explosions but losing the heart of the original and making everyone forget how good it was in the first place. Judge for yourself, Dear Readers, where this one falls.
Let's be honest though, the last post went on for a bit and whilst it was nice to review all of the artists it may have been better to have just offered the edited highlights. As a result, that's what you'll get this time. Sunday brought some much needed hilarity to the non-music proceedings, due to the rain dampening the spirits of all involved. This hilarity emerged in the form of the worst attempt at a barbeque I've ever had the pleasure to witness. Not only was said barbeque supposed to demonstrate that a pizza could be cooked in such a manner, but it was also supposed to demonstrate the ability of other foods suitability to barbequing, including amongst others pitta breads and cereal bars. In honesty, it was the biggest shambolic embarassment I've ever seen as one of the party (and I'm not gonna name names as I feel they should escape with at least a little dignity) attempted two pitta breads stuffed with marshmallows (only for one to end up on the grass) and one cereal bar were placed on said cooking implement. When these failed, said individual lost interest and then seem astounded that you could barbeque a sausage roll. Sometimes, Dear Readers, words fail me...
On to the music, and Sunday brought high expectations due to the quality of the bands playing on the Main Stage. Before that could happen though, there was enough time to be re-aquainted with KULA SHAKER who were making a welcome return after their unexpected split in 1999. There's something immensely satisfying about hearing songs you loved when you were growing up, such as 'Tattva' and 'Hey Dude', again, and although their new material was solid and typically them, the biggest cheers were reserved for the old classics.
The rest of the day was spent camped out in front of the Main Stage for various bands. THE MAGIC NUMBERS were pleasent enough if rather twee and forgetable, whilst BLOC PARTY did their utmost best to prove why everybody has been quietly going crazy about them. Intriguing guitar work? Check. Nervy, edgy lyrics displaying a sense of modern paranoia? Check. Great stage presence? Check, and whilst the material from last album Silent Alarm was best recieved by the crowd, new song 'Waiting for the 7:18' - written about experiencing the London bombings last July - displayed a level of poignancy as it covered such communter habits as escaping to Brighton for the weekend. In short, the song proved a touching and harrowing experience at the same time. Probably why they played it first.
The came KEANE, and they blew the socks off me. In all honesty I wasn't expecting them to be the best band of the weekend. Not because they're not a good band, but given the piano-led nature of their stuff, and the other bands playing, they didn't jump out at me as much as some of the other acts. How wrong I was, as they were truly fantastic. Playing a set that mixed the hits from Hopes and Fears with most of the new album, Under the Iron Sea, the undoubted highlight was soaring ballad 'Try Again', for whilst the biggest cheers were reserved for the singles, this song was performed with such intensity it was captivating. A number of people also seemed to have new single 'Crystal Ball' lodged in their head afterwards as well, judging by the amount of melodic humming that followed their performance.
Next up was BECK, complete with puppets and the usual array of innovative strangeness that comes to be expected from one of his live shows: songs start, stop, mould into others, get played in different ways and the general sense is that this is organised chaos at its best. The set consisted mainly of material from last year's (great) Guero album, but added in the expected classics ('Devil's Haircut, 'Where it's At) and a few newies to keep everyone interested. The wierdest moment of the festival had to be the performance of 'Clap Hands' however, which consisted of Beck singing, whilst his band sat around a dining table playing the accompanying precussion on cutlery and glasses of water.
After three great performances, surely it was time for RADIOHEAD to lay waste to everyone else and reaffirm their status as the greatest band, and live act, around at the moment. You would think so, but unfortunately there was something distinctly workman-like about their performance. Whilst in no ways bad, it just lacked something to kick it off. The largely 'Greatest Hits' set gave a feeling that the band were simply going through the motions and, whilst the stuff off The Bends and OK Computer is always warmly recieved, the relative lack of stuff from (in my opinion the most interesting record ever recorded) Kid A was disappointing. Sure, when songs from this album appeared it was great: 'National Anthem' was suitably chaotic, 'Idioteque' as fascinatingly cold as it is on record, and 'Everything In It's Right Place' reaffirming its place as their most enigmatic (and best) song. One thing that was strangely comforting about Radiohead's performance was that, between the end of the main set and the first encore, the entire crowd broke into a simultaneous chorus of 'For a minute there, I lost myself' as though it was some form of national anthem, confirming the general sense of anomie existing in these times. This may be Yours Truly reading too much into a chance occurance, Dear Reader, but it gave me a strange feeling of being part of something and yet totally isolated at the same time. If only they'd have played 'Let Down'...
And so, CyberControl's Top 5 Bands (and songs) of the Festival were:
1. Keane (Try Again)
2. The Grates (Inside Outside)
3. Rufus Wainwright (Hallelujah)
4. Bloc Party (Waiting for the 7:18)
5. Radiohead (Everything In It's Right Place)
Right, enough of the music, now time for the pictures!