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V Festival 2005 - Main Stage

24 August 2005

V would be better named Q (ueue) on its opening morning, as thousands scramble round the exterior fence for the shortest and most painless battle to get in.

Please click on a photo to enlarge it...

Fortunately the sweet sound of The Stands drifts overhead like a thick Merseyside mist and we blag our way on the back of Jade Goody’s laughable entourage just in time for them to finish.

Funnily enough, the Big Brother ‘bab bearer doesn’t show her face (or anything else) for Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s set, perhaps knowing that she’d be eaten for breakfast (no not like that!) The gates of Newport Zoo have been well and truly thrown open for the multi-colored tapestry of shell suits and caps that take over the stage, as GLC race through their back catalogue and some new tracks about shagging and skinning up, the highlight being one telling how “I want to f**k your sister”. Nice.

In the glory days of Britpop, grammatically incorrect Scousers The La’s were touted as inspirational pioneers for the so-called renaissance of the UK music scene. The single ‘There She Goes’ is a hugely celebrated slice of English pop-rock history, but it’s a sorry state of affairs to see the band rolling out the same old shit 15 years on from the one album they ever recorded.

At least Jet can offer some new material, although it sounds remarkably similar to everything else they’ve ever done. It’s powerfully delivered, but the Aussie cock rockers still look and sound like they better belong grinding out riffs in an outback drinking hole.

The Zutons snatch the fizzling torch of 60s inspired Liverpudlian rock’n’roll from The La’s as Abi Harding’s sassy saxophone spills across the afternoon gathering for ‘Zuton Fever’. The five-piece are on good form on the V Stage, playing a sliver of new material and stomp along tracks from their debut album. ‘You Will You Won’t’ is perfect for Dave McCabe’s delectably gristly vocal, but the intensity of their performance is a little grey in the drifting afternoon breeze.

Not so Maroon 5, who, despite being one of the most despicable bands on the planet, actually put on a rousing set for an adoring V Festival crowd. It still lacks any substance though. Nuff said.

As Oasis' special guests The Streets do their bit by transforming part of the chorus to ‘Dry Your Eyes’ into a cover of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, but their number one ballad about being dumped and its proceeding set closer ‘Fit But You Know It’ are as good as it gets. Mike Skinner sounds a bit tired and as if he realizes he’s being completely shadowed by his band mates, and by what’s to come.

Because Oasis are back to their best. Ten years on from their apparent heyday, the Gallagher brothers and (backing) band, as they have done for some years, emerge to riff-driven instrumental ‘Fuckin’ In The Bushes’. The crowd goes mental as the band appears, before a sneering, recharged ‘Bring It On Down’ reminds us of their peak and Liam has a deserved stab at Pete Doherty, pointing out a blow up dick in the crowd. It’s a magic set – ‘Cigarettes And Alcohol’ sees everyone light up and swig beers with carefree camaraderie, before Noel’s charisma shimmers through the playful melody of ‘The Importance Of Being Idol’, while the fraternal vocal handball of ‘Acquiesce’ proves the merit of their reliably brilliant b-sides.

But it’s three successive songs midway through the headline set that truly symbolize Oasis’ renaissance since last year’s Glasto gurgle. ‘Monkey Fingers’ is a new no-nonsense fingers up to critics, ‘Champagne Supernova’ goads the crowd with its rags to riches reality, and ‘Song Bird’ gets all the girls wet with its subtle romanticism. Oasis look and sound great, especially Liam, who despite ripping his audience ‘Hear you lot drive cheap wheels?’ is clearly chuffed to be here ridding the demons. It’s almost too easy to slag Oasis off nowadays, but a few duff albums can’t detract from the iconic power they still wield. They end the set with a succession of obvious hits before closing with their pummeling cover of The Who’s ‘My Generation’. Oasis may not be full of the fire that once compelled them to greatness, but tonight they cement their worth and prove they’re still streets ahead of the current wannabes.



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