Despite my best intentions to have a lie-in this morning (in order to recharge sufficiently for this evening’s inevitable carnage), I awake to find myself being microwaved in my tent at some unearthly hour. My daring mission to have a shower leads me into the hi-tech police compound, where I am swiftly apprehended and ejected. Well, at least it’s a nice day, so off we venture to the local Sainsbury’s. In my mind, I now resemble Tom Hanks in Castaway. But so does everyone else, so there’s no fun to be had in scaring the locals. The bastards don’t let anybody use the toilet, and they’re sold out of all barbeque food except for Venison Grills. Bambi burgers tonight, then!
[L-Zone2]Back on-site, first stop: The Evening Session tent, where I find Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci spreading love, as they do so well. From the looks of some of the faces in the front row, these people could really use some lovin’! As well as new material from their forthcoming album ‘How I Long To Feel That Summer in my Heart’, we are treated to the jewels that are ‘Dear Johnny’, ‘Spanish Dance Troupe’ and a frantic ‘Poodle Rockin’. Only snag: No ‘Hush the Warmth’, sadly.
[R-Zone3]And now for something completely different… It’s a short hop over to the ‘Concrete Jungle’ tent (replacing the Dance Tent for one day only) where we find Melbourne-based skate crew 28 Days ripping the place to shreds. I lose count of the crowd surfers. We catch up with the band backstage, after the gig, and the exhausted singer can’t even stand up!
[L-Zone1]Out on the Main Stage, it’s a welcome return for Oxford fun-rockers Supergrass. Opening with the brilliant ‘Mary’, it can’t get any better, and it doesn’t. There’s nothing much new to air and the familiar stuff is definitely getting a bit too… familiar. Interestingly, it’s the oldest material (‘Caught by the Fuzz’, ‘Mansize Rooster’) that wears the best. Come on lads, show us something new and inspiring!
There could be no greater contrast of excitement between frenzied crowd and ultra-chilled band, as the Fun Lovin’ Criminals ‘lounge’ onto the stage, greeted by raw hysteria. Huey, is simply the picture of Gangster chic – cooler than Frank Sinatra at a mafia convention. The set is fairly mellow – they even do the Mimosa version of ‘King of New York’, but the crowd are cranked upto 11, and are going at least three times faster than they were for Marilyn Manson the other night!
I almost find some pity in my heart for Mogwai, who have been left to go head-to-head with the Manic Street Preachers PR machine. In a rather limp stunt (didn’t Oasis pull the same one last year, same time, same place, same bells on?), the ‘rumours’ have been circling that the Manics have decided to call it a day, and will drop this ‘bombshell’ on us this lovely summers eve…
As they say in the campsite, “Timmmehh!”.
[R-Zone1]What we actually get is a great British rock ‘n’ roll band on absolute fire. They’ve found that soul, alright, and their sound. James Dean Bradfield’s guitar playing is cooking – he manages to co-ordinate some incredible lead work with jumping and singing in a way that could only be compared to Matt Bellamy.
[L-Zone2]The band have never sounded so good, or ironically, so right. This was supposed to be Eminem’s weekend, but there’s no questioning who’s the daddy in the end. Old gems ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ and opener ‘You Love Us’ stack perfectly alongside the post-Richie classics ‘Everything Must Go’, ‘Australia’ and the crowd pleasing anthems, that get all the phones in the air – ‘If you Tolerate This’ and ‘A Design For Life’. It’s all good, but it’s the most recent stuff that really has me tingling. ‘Found That Soul’ – nuff said. ‘Miss Europa Disco Dancer’ – what a fucking cool noise!
[R-Zone3]So it’s an hour and a half of jumping up and down, embracing strangers, singing out of tune, broadcasting to envious friends via the mobile… what else are festivals about? Well, lots of stuff, probably, but this is how I’ll always remember Leeds 2001.
Oh dammit – it’s not over yet! Remember the carnage I spoke of at the beginning? It happened. It was ugly. It was rock n’ roll. Tonight, Mathew, I became an honoury crew member in the Bacardi bar, and if you ever saw this thrillingly debaucherous place in action, the crew party was ten times harder! Ouch. And then it was back to the artist bar where assorted members of Primal Scream and Trail of the Dead required our services to help ‘relocate’ one of the marquees. Rock on!