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awkward aural adventures

Isle Of Wight Festival 2009 – Final Thoughts

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They say that Sunday is funday and there was certainly a celebratory air present as sunshine greeted the final day of this years Isle Of White installment, not least due to the heady double bill headlining the main stage that would see Neil Young following the mythic Pixies.

Before that though there was a world of entertainment to be absorbed. Not least the exciting prospect of the Bog Top Stage being curated by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans. The wily old fox has managed to snare an incredible line up of buzz bands including the likes of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, S.C.U.M., The Horrors and topped it all off with a turn from the Charlatans themselves.

Over on the main stage events kick off with the local jazz ensemble Papa Do Plenty, who do enough and feature a spectacular brass section.

One of the highlights of the afternoon is the return of Goldie Lookin Chain who leave the crowd on a feel god high after versions of Your Missus Is A Nutter and rousing closer Your Mother’s Got A Penis. They carry on the frivolity backstage after hijacking several golf buggies to race around at terrifying speeds dangerously close to frank Black.

8 months ago The Script were, they freely admit, playing in shitholes to 40 people who had mostly been forced to come down after the playing of the friends guilt card. However today they walk onto stage to be greeted by 20,000 enthused mid afternoon fans knowing that in the immediate future they will be supporting the likes of U2 and Macca. Breakthrough single ‘The Man Who Can’t Be Moved’ creates one of the moment of the festival with the band declaring “sometimes a song just comes along that’s bigger than you and bigger than the band…”. From the word for word rendition that the crowd hurl back at them they aren’t far off the mark.

Following on from the Script Leeds boys The Pigeon Detectives turn in a blistering set of their octane indie. The band are currently working on their new album and the initial signs are highly promising for fans.
Over in the Big Top Tent The Horrors are proving why they are everybodies new favourite band. New album Primary Colours has been attracting plaudits from every quarter, including the likes of NIN frontman Trent Reznor, and there’s certainly no doubting Farris and Co’s commitment to their new set. They can only be happy that they are in the Big Top and not having to rock the lords of the night look in the blistering sunshine.

Preceeding the Pixies is never anyones idea of easy, but Simple Minds and Jim Kerr roll back the years to deliver a crowd pleasing set.

Taking to the stage to a rapturous response The Pixies deliver on every level. Hearing Frank Black scream “I am the son of a motherfucker!” is as vital as ever. They rip through versions of Debaser, Velouria, Gouge Away and the Kim Deal led Gigantic. There is some friction between Deal and Black which seems to have grown since the refored properly last year, the two baiting each other on stage. Not that it diminishes the power of tracks like ‘Where Is My Mind, and when the cry of ” This Monkey’s Gone To Heaven” goes up across the Isle Of Wight night heaven seems like a place on earth.

Neil Young is almost certainly a living legend. He also seems to have discovered the key to eternal life. Strolling on stage with an acoustic guitar Young doesn’t seem to have changed on iota since the Live Rust era. Kicking off with From Hank To Hendrix Young begins with an acoustic set that includes Heart Of Gold and Old Man before bringing out Old Black and cranking up the volume, breaking out the opening riff to Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black). It’s the start of a raucous set that includes a staggering 15 minute version of Rockin In The Free World, that caps off a 25 minute blast that included Cinnamon Girl and Fuckin Up. Compared to Youngs recent tours it’s a rock heavy set that shows when he wants to he can still wind it up. After pumping out Down by The River Young closes out the night and the festival with a cover of the Beatles Day In The Life. It’s a fitting end to an eclectic and superlative weekend 2010 has a lot to live up to.


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