Monday, 19 August 2013

V Festival day two in review

Seasick Steve wins the hearts at V Festival
IT'S Sunday night and I've just got back from seeing Kings of Leon close Virgin Media's V Festival 2013.

Hopefully you read the Saturday report, well this follows on - obvs- but I'll start from the beginning.

I wake up at 4am. I don't feel good. I go back to sleep. 

I'm woken - I think it's about 8am but my phone battery is dead - by sitar music. Very loud. I still feel rough.

Later there's more music. Again it's loud. Again I feel rough. Again I'm trying to sleep...hang on. Is that The Chain by Fleetwood Mac...I drift off.

Half 11, time to get up, put the tent down and snap into action. Well it sorta happened like that. I stumbled and fumbled around with the tent, bunged everything I could into bags and lugged my hungover body to the car to post on the blog and get some cold water from the cool box in the boot.

Job done, back in the game. The Saturdays are playing on the main Virgin Media stage. I can hear them from the car park, but can't see them (obvs). I'd rather it were the other way around.

Sunday is my sober day as I have to drive home that night. So I'm a lot more active and remember a lot more about who I see and when. So lets get cracking.

Another rough diamond uncovered is Exit Calm. Like Vox Empire yesterday, they play early on the Futures Stage but bring a sound no longer common in these here parts. Loud, brash and growling, the boys from Barnsley blow my cobwebs away in seconds and leave me wanting more from the band. Great set and nice banter on stage. Another highlight for me.

Everything Everything put everything into everything
Some tucker in my belly, I take the long, long trek to the Arena Stage for Everything Everything, stopping on the way to take in some of Tom Odell on the 4Music Stage. The latter sounds pretty good and is a definite rising talent.

The EE boys are something of a stop gap for me too before Seasick Steve. I'm really hoping they play their track Cough Cough early on as it's the only one I really know. Luck's in and they open with it - and it sounds great. Then they play some more songs that sound familiar - turns out I know more than I thought and it's a great little set. Their synth-indie pop is quite different from everything, everything (see what I did there?) on the bill and that is more than welcome.

But I have to cut my stop there short to see Seasick Steve. After Beyonce's diva antics the night before it was great to see an act who appreciated where he was. The former hobo, tramp and bum smiled throughout his triumphant set - accompanied by Led Zep legend John Paul Jones. Most stunning of all, though, is the sounds Steve gets out of a guitar he made himself out of two hub caps, a garden hoe, a spatula and a beer can. Incredible. And such is the man's humility, he scolded a friend of mine who dared to apologise for asking for a photograph backstage. "What you apologising for boy? You ain't gotta apologise to me for nuthin'" - or something similar was the exchange.
Maximo Park were a little ordinary

And so back to the others on the list. In the next couple of hours I take in bits of Olly Murs - whose "people" incidentally ticked off reporters for looking at him when he was being interviewed - as well as The Vaccines and Maximo Park.

The Vaccines are the pick of this trio with enough oomph and decent tracks to make an impact on my highly-choosy - and today full functional - brain. Murs does what Murs does and Maximo - who I really hoped would be good - looked a little above their station so far up the bill.

I also check out former Coral singer James Skelly and his Intenders with little joy, and - frustratingly, The Skints. I say frustratingly because this modern reggae band is one I've seen and enjoyed before and was looking forward to seeing again. But the set time I had down for them was wrong, so when I arrived at what I thought was near the start of their set, I got one and a half songs and then a "thank you and goodnight". Not the band's fault of course, but annoying nontheless.

You may have noticed I have mentioned the Virgin Media Louder Lounge much less than I did in Saturday's review. I did return their on several occasions, but rather than picking up the free beers, it was more for free water or lemonade and that doesn't sound quite as rock n roll now does it? I also missed out on some free Pioneer earphones because I went for a wee at the wrong time, but that's a different story altogether that isn't, well, isn't that interesting.

By now I am quite knackered. My legs feel like they've walked a thousand miles and my back is killing me. But I soldier on in the name of music.

Next up on the Virgin Media stage is the Stereophonics. Despite bordering on 40, frontman Kelly Jones looks like a youthful rock imp as he and his colleagues pound out hit after hit. However, I am a little confused by what looks like Bobby Ball - one half of 80s comic act Cannon and Ball - playing drums. Anyway, the songs keep coming and although it sometimes sounds a bit samey, they finish with Bartender And The Thief and Dakota to send their fans away more than happy.

Always keen to try new music, I had one last dip into the Futures Stage and check out Naughty Boy. Having heard one song I came out and went for a wee instead, which was much more enjoyable. Not my bag at all baby.

And so weary from the weekend's onslaught, I make my way to the Virgin Media Stage for the final time in 2013 for Kings of Leon. I saw them a few years back at V and found them, quite frankly, dull.

I've been with the band since the start. I got Youth and Young Manhood when it was released in mid-2003 and Aha Shake Heartbreak the following year. I've seen the Followill boys rise from bearded bumpkins to smooth heartthrobs with a worldwide legion of fans. But when I saw them live, they just stood in one spot and played some songs, didn't interact with the crowd and then left.

This time? Well, let's just say they upped their game a bit. There's was crowd interaction - if not much - after two or three songs and they now have a much stronger back catalogue of songs to choose from. Hey, who would've thought it. A guitar band closing the poppiest festival of them all in great style. 

That's why I keep coming back to V - it always throws up a surprise or two.

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