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JJB and Music Choice - Saturday (Staffs)

21 August 2004

New addition to V, the Music Choice tent squats serenely between the fairground and NME Stage at Weston Park. Unfortunately, it’s also situated on the opposite side of the site to its big brother, the JJB Arena.

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Please click on a photo to enlarge it...

This means a series of frantic scrambles are inevitable if we’re to do both tents justice and with the Bacardi B-Bar and Strongbow Rooms in the vicinity, it was never going to be easy...  

Having previously impressed in a similar slot at Homelands, Stateless enter to a sizeable and receptive crowd who’re immediately hooked by the murky paranoia of opening number 'Prism#1'. It’s easily a future classic that sees jagged multi-layered electronica going toe to toe with a huge driving bass. But it’s Chris James’ Gallagher-like pimp-rolling and self-assured laconic drawl, most evident on third song 'Lose Myself' that lend this Leeds five-piece a unique identity as they resurrect, without ripping off, the ghosts of classic cuts from the like of Massive Attack and UNKLE.

Scando-bloke, Even Johansen then conserves the fragile atmosphere with a set of ethereal and evocative compositions drawn from Magnet’s debut album 'On Your Side'. Yet, underneath the delicate melodies and tender despair is a sense that everything will be alright in the end, especially on stand out number 'Last Day of Summer', which concludes in a crescendo of pure joy and optimism.

Over at the JJB Arena, dance has-been, Nick Bracegirdle pops up with his antiquated cheese machine in the form of Chicane. Thankfully, there’s no ‘guest’ appearances from Bryan Adams or Peter Cunnah but even the omission of their agonising contributions leaves a soul-less, repetitive, guitar-dominated detritus. Just as the prospect of sticking our heads down a badly soiled chemical toilet’s becoming more appealing then remaining within earshot of such dirge, an epic, meandering version of 'Saltwater' is unveiled. An absolution of sorts.

Biggest perm of the day award goes to Idaho’s Josh Ritter, who, like a younger David Gray, has courted immense stardom in Ireland whilst remaining virtually unknown in good ‘ol blighty. Although you’ve probably heard him sing 'Come and Find Me', which accompanies the end credits of US hit series 'Six Feet Under'. With a generous quantity of charisma and congeniality, he transforms Stafford into a land of railroads and unrequited love whilst arousing memories of Nick Cave’s 'Murder Ballads'. After comparing the gig to a first date, he leaves hundreds of prospective suitors gagging for it the next time they meet.



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Article by: Wayne Hoyle

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