But The Departure should be forever banished to winter. Dour, dry and dreary they are perhaps the most un-festival band currently doing the rounds.
Picking it up again though, this summer’s most prized musical find The Magic Numbers beam their way thorough an immaculate delivery of their self titled debut album, with all the controversy of Richard Bacon’s ‘fat’ remarks seemingly just a distant memory. It’s the girls who steal the show; Michelle’s nifty fingers driving the folk-tinged bop-alongs with immaculate bass playing, while the casual Angela looks like she’s waiting for a bus, slouched with hands in pockets, rather than playing in front of the band’s biggest audience to date. She lets her singing do the talking with a voice to die for.
KT Tunstall, Good Charlotte, and The Bravery pale into a mid-afternoon period of average. KT Tunstall is like so many of her contemporaries and, despite having typical celtic charm and good intent, comes across flat and unadventurous. The less said about Good Charlotte the better, and The Bravery have clearly been touring far too hard with Sam Endicott’s voice sounding weaker than a fraggle after an earthquake. But the yawn trio provide a suitable siesta for what’s in store for the rest of the evening.
Despite hobbling about with a foot in plaster, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson puts in a gallant effort to portray his usual acrobatic self. ‘I Predict A Riot’ officially does just that, with horrible consequences for the crushed folk at the front. The blow-up dinosaur from Glastonbury makes an appearance, puffed up like the band’s swelling ego. ‘Everyday I Love You Less And Less’ gets the drinks flying overhead with reckless abandon, Essex kids get even messier for mega-hit ‘Oh My God’, and songs like ‘The Modern Way’ illustrate the Kaisers’ ability to chisel infectious tunes more subtly. However, the novelty is wearing a touch thin and it’s beginning to feel a little like a futile time warp – think Blur’s ‘Great Escape’ days, sans political purpose. To their credit though, they’ve got a cripple for a singer and still manage to lure and charm an enormous crowd.
Doves are a band that shun hype while churning out consistently killer songs. Set opener ‘Pounding’ is festival perfection with its affirmative lyrics and thumping drive before Jimmy Goodwin dedicates the beautiful ‘Snowden’ to the late, great Mo Mowlam. Much like ‘Design For Life’ by Manic Street Preachers, the lyrics of the forceful ‘Black And White Town’ are largely lost on this sort of crowd. “Gotta get up to get pissed,” spits Goodwin while inebriated revelers struggle to interpret the sentiment as they bounce along with drinks in the air. The Manchester three-piece go from strength to strength through tracks from all three of their phenomenal albums, culminating in the classic ‘There Goes The Fear’. Doves gracefully manage to balance popularity with credibility; top songs with scathing social commentary. They deliver consistently brilliant live performances and tonight they’re as sensational as ever.
It leaves The Chemical Brothers headline set somewhat in the shade, with their jaw dropping light show overshadowing a lukewarm performance. 'Block Rockin' Beats' is still be far their best tune, followed closely by recent track 'Galvanise', but there's little else to get excited by here.