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awkward aural adventures

Isle Of Wight Festival – Day Two

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The second day of the isle of White festival saw temperatures soar on and off stage. Following friday nights storming headline set from the Prodigy the weather decided it needed to follow suit raising temperatures to skin blistering heights.

Enjoying the vibe were the likes of Paolo Nutini and The View who treated the assembled crowd to high octane versions of ‘5 Rebeccas’ and ‘Temptation Dice’ in a set showcasing the highlights of their Which Bitch album. Over on the Big Top stage The Maccabees followed up a successful jaunt in Europe with a celebratory set that saw the crowd spilling out of the massive tent. Lead singer Orlando capped off a performance of ‘Precious Time’ by declaring “I am so pleased for you with the weather, you couldn’t of had it better could you?!” The band capped their performance with a version of ‘Love You Better’ off of their sophomore LP Wall Of Arms with guitarist Felix noting, “it’s been great to be a part of the Isle Of Wight Festival, we didn’t expect so many people, it means a lot”. The band will be heading out on a headline UK tour in October where alt-folk legend Adam Green is expected to support after the band talked with him at this years Great Escape Festival.

One of the highlights of the festival so far came when Mercury Rev took to the Big Top stage adding some surrealist beauty to proceedings. Though they faced a mixed crowd, with a high percentage of pop pickers trying to jostle for position for Will Young who followed them, the band, lead by the messianic Jonathan Donahue managed to transport the entire canvas clad crowd temporarily into another world. Featuring versions of ‘Holes’ and ‘Goddess On The Highway’ from the seminal Deserter’s Songs as well the band closed with the space-rock incantations of ‘Senses On Fire’ from their latest album ‘Snowflake Midnight’. Speaking on Sunday morning Festival curator John Giddings declared it the highlight of his festival so far.

One of the more surprising aspects of the festival was the appearance, much to the astonishment of the just finished Nutini, of the Red Arrows, who spent 24 minutes indulging in incredible aerial acrobatics to the delight of 60,000 sky craned necks. From Red Arrows to White Lies the main stage saw the UK band delivering their sombre indie noir.

White Lies face the press @ Isle Of Wight FEstival 2009

White Lies face the press @ Isle Of Wight FEstival 2009

Following on from the interpol-lite antics of White Lies Maximo Park seem like a bunch of schoolboys who fell in a vat of Red Bull when they were babies. Front man Paul Smith demonstrating a severe allergy to ever having two feet on the stage at any one time as the band romped through a tea time set that featured latest single ‘The Kids Are Sick Again’ and classic ‘Our Velocity’ from 2007s Our Earthly Pleasures album. The only weak point of the set came when they tore into a lacklustre version of their next single ‘Questing, Not Coasting’. It’s a low tempo love song that will definitely translate better to halls and radio than the sunlit evening of the summer festival circuit.

The evening saw Calvin Harris rocking the Big Top Stage whilst a band who have been causing a lot of column inch scrutiny recently strolled onto the main stage. Since the departure of Andy Burrows Razorlight have been a band in transition and despite the presence of the requisite hits and sing along moments, there was the sense of a rudderless ship. Borrell needs a foil or he is in danger of descending into one glove land.

The main stage was headlined by Welsh rockers Stereophonics who duly gave the crowd exactly what they were expecting. Jones and co filling an hour and 10 minutes with a set that confirmed all suspicions that like fellow country men The Manic Street Preachers they have begun a period of mid career phone in albums. Where the manics have recently recaptured the fire of their youth Stereophonics are walking the line between genuine act and their own best cover band. Not that any of that matters when they crank out Bartender and the thief.

After the overblown antics of Razorlight and Stereophonics you would imagine an hour and a half of Pink Floyd might not be the antidote. However the Australian Pink Floyd turned the Big Top Stage into the dark side of the moon for a short time last night, including perfect verions of ‘Comfortably Numb’, ‘The Wall’ and ‘Wish You Were Here’ and a simply breathtaking version of ‘Big Gig In The Sky’ that featured one of the vocal performances of the year. All in all, a perfect way to end a long and eventful day.

The final day of the festival sees the dream double bill of The Pixies followed by Neil Young as well as performances from the likes of The Horrors, Black Lips, Pigeon Detectives, Simple Minds, Killing Joke, The Charlatans, The Script and The Rumblestrips.

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