V Festival Preview – What to see at V

V Festival is like having a posh meal bought for you. There's enough cash to buy the best food in the world but sometimes you just fancy a chip butty and a pudding full of E numbers. We've scoured the V menu and come up with a specials board - enjoy...

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Even King Midas had less gold than V Festival so it’s not a shock that they always book the biggest acts.  Last year they managed to wrench Morrissey away from Wilde, pull Fatboy Slim back from Palookaville and drag Radiohead back from saving the world like a set of naughty schoolboys. 

Gaining more sponsors than you would doing a 3 mile charity bike ride through a bath of beans, the V Festival is able to squeeze over 120 acts across two sites playing just seven stages in 48 hours.  Don’t be surprised if you see champagne rather then Carling, suits rather then boots and after the red top revelations this week – Branson having a spliff.

This year organisers have raided America’s musical larder to cut two slices of rock pie and hand them out evenly to Chelmsford and Staffordshire.  The Killers and Foo Fighters are served with lashings of new talent, dollops of old favourites and, rather sickly, a sprinkle of McFly.  Here’s the specials sir…

Happy Mondays – JJB/Puma Arena – Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
The heady days of Thrills and Pills have left the Happy Mondays with an insufferable Bellyache.  Gone and probably, for Shaun Ryder‘s lot, forgotten is the Manchester scene and the nirvana 90’s all supposedly hidden away in a pair of baggy slacks.  However, never a man to miss a gamble, we reckon the four-piece are going to make much more interesting viewing than Dull Patrol on the Main Stage.  Their latest offering, ‘Uncle Dysfunktional’, was incoherent and ill-disciplined yet, somehow, irresistible listening.  Watch the Mondays and learn why drugs can be bad for your health.

The Cribs – Channel 4 Stage – Saturday – Weston Park and Sunday – Hylands Park
Maybe Ryan Jarman doesn’t really understand global warming – but who does?  Recently he said the “mainstream attitude of most indie bands” was a bigger threat to the planet than global warming and perhaps it is with their giant tour buses and private planes.  Go and watch the eco-warriors brothers because they are energetic and erratically impulsive live and ‘Hey Scenesters’, their overplayed indie-disco anthem, is scarily addictive.

Elektrons – Bacardi B-Live Bar – Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
Elektrons mix the genres like a proverbial dance music cake.  Their heaving rave clouts are batted around by funk throbs and sucked under the carpet by a soul singing Hoover.   Think Basement Jaxx being overworked and underpaid in a sweat shop run by The Jungle Brothers – hip hop hot, heavy and shockingly good watching.

Rodrigo y Gabriela – V Stage – Saturday – Weston Park and Sunday – Hylands Park
Like many great acoustic acts Rodrigo y Gabriela first met in a Mexican metal outfit.  After leaving Mexico they were discovered by Damien Rice who had recently ditched his Mexican metal band to play acoustically too.  Since supporting Rice the duo have gone from strength to strength and their acoustic covers of Led Zepplin and Metallica have proven constant crowd pleasers.  Skilled and elegant at times and breathtaking at others the V Stage openers are a must see.

Kasabian – V Stage – Saturday – Weston Park and Sunday – Hylands Park
A band blessed with the arrogance of Oasis but the musical talent to warrant it.  The Leicester foursome were born to play festivals.  Frontman Meighan has more swagger then a gallant drunk as he bellows out ‘Empire’, ‘Processed Beats’ and ‘L.S.F (Lost Souls Forever)’ while lead guitarist Pizzorno has the riffs and edgily flamboyant clothing of Brian May‘s Hendrix dressing up box.  Mike Skinner of The Streets once sang “We make bangers not anthems” – well Kasabian do both and they’ll knock you to the ground as they do.

Norman Jay – Bacardi B-Live Bar – Saturday – Westons Park and Sunday – Hylands Park
Some are born with taste, some achieve taste and some have taste thrust upon them – Norman Jay ticks all three.  Jay is the best DJ in the world for judging the crowd. Fact.  He mixes anything from breaks and house to funk and disco and everything in between.  Norman Jay MBE is guaranteed to get the party started at V.  His sets drag people into tents like magnets attract metal and if the sun is shining he’s the ideal complement to an ice cold cocktail.

Terra Naomi – Virgin Mobile Sessions –Saturday – Weston Park and Sunday – Hylands Park
This young lady has done to YouTube what the Arctic Monkeys did to MySpace.  She became the most-subscribed-to artist earlier this year with her latest single ‘Say It’s Possible’ and soon had worldwide recognition.  She sounds like Alanis Morrisette sat at Tom’s Diner but what she loses in familiarity she makes up in her live performances.

The Wombats – Virgin Mobile Union – Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
The Wombats are a physical map of where indie is at the moment.  They have three chord riffs, long hair with skinny jeans and choruses ready to be belted right back at them.  Look past the daft name and have a listen to singles ‘Kill The Director’ and ‘Backfire At The Disco’ before you head off because they’re both as fizzy and enjoyable as cola bottles and when they’re played you’re going to want to sing-a-long…

Bright Eyes – Virgin Mobile Union – Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
During his V Festival performance Oberst is likely open a box to release the miniature prepacked orchestra he’s dragged with him from show to show this summer.  The orchestra, like him, are likely to all dressed in identical white clothing as if they’ve arrived to announce the imminent apocalypse.  But if you can look past the stage pomp Bright Eyes has some brilliant tunes.  His songs are poetic, romantic and iconic and the marvellously prolific Oberst can yield a certain genius quality when watched live – be there.

The Coral – Channel 4 Stage – Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
With another album about to be released the feeling that The Coral are one of the most underrated bands around still lingers like an irrepressible hangover.  Now on their fifth album in as many years The Coral share the same sense of creative fertility as their Scouse predecessors, The Beatles.  The band are soulful, exciting and imaginative and will have their loyal supports in tow at the Channel 4 Stage.

Jazzanova – Bacardi B-Live – Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
Don’t let the name scare you.  This collection of German producers are at the forefront of their genre.  They flick effortlessly between chill out, nu-jazz and jazz house and have been remixed by the likes of Mr Scruff.  This is also one of Jazzanova‘s only performances in the UK this year so take some time out, sit back and enjoy before your feet want to go dancing again.

Dizzee Rascal – JJB/Puma Arena – Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
Pah! Yet another Mercury music nomination?  It’s all too easy for the East London grimester.  The boy in the corner is back and he already has his dukes up.  Fresh Bow beats, celebrity guest spots and his unmistakable slur are reasons enough to go see the Rascal.  But what makes him unmissable is the regular bout of Tourettes he’s contracted and included on Maths and English – there’s nothing better then obscenities booming from a fuckin’ huge speaker.

Basement Jaxx – Channel 4 Stage – Saturday – Weston Park and Sunday – Hylands Park
Aside from the work Basement Jaxx do in sweat shops run by The Jungle Brothers they also put on a gigantically spectacular stage show.  The Jaxx have churned out the biggest tracks in dance music solidly for the last decade and show no signs of stopping.  From the drilling bassline and intrusive vocals of ‘Where’s Your Head At?’ to the carnival jitters of ‘Bingo Bango’ the group have set out to turn every gathering into a full blown party – grab your party hat then…

Graham Coxon – Virgin Mobile Union – Saturday – Weston Park and Sunday – Hylands Park
Not only was Coxon part of the best half of Britpop but he’s also already released six solo albums since the Blur hiatus.  His fast and hard post punk numbers are as addictive as they would have been coming from a sweaty Sex Pistols in 1979.  Coxon encapsulates the Blur era in a single note – it’s no wonder Alex James wants them back together.

New York Fund – Virgin Mobile Sessions –Saturday – Hylands Park and Sunday – Weston Park
Okay we can forgive them slightly for the complete title rip off of The Clash‘s ‘The Guns of Brixton’ with their own ‘The Guns of Camden Town’ because New York Fund give contemporary country music a good ol’ kicking in.  Their gentle whiskey ridden tunes are driven by their own blend of Blighty blues and grubby indie guitar solos.  They’ve already created a bit of a stir after T in the Park, catch them at V to see why…