Main Stage Staffs, Saturday 19 August
It’s already damp as bedraggled early punters trudge their way through the effects of last night’s downpour, but the clutch of teenage girls gathered down the front seem oblivious. Handsome newcomer Gavin DeGraw bounds onstage with the energy of an e-numbered toddler, but if it weren’t for his talented support troupe, his formulaic lilting would sound as exciting as a James Blunt record.
Kubb offer a similarly dull musical experience, although Collier’s warm, effeminate vocals are soothing, the attempt at a vast, soaring chorus for ‘Somebody Else’ falls face down in the mud. By the end we’re all half asleep.
Rain now firmly on the cards for the rest of the day, it’s up to The Dandy Warhols to breathe some life into the limp crowd. Courtney Taylor-Taylor surveys the assembled with an iron glare, his ego only marginally smaller than drummer Brent DoBoer’s hair as they launch into a frenetic performance which sets everyone in motion.
It’s impossible to tell exactly who’s in Sugababes these days, but the bitchiest girl group in history do a sterling job of glossing over the turbulent past in this slick, polished performance. In a marked contrast to the muddy gathering, the Topshop-ed trio look especially well-groomed and sass their way through a sultry collection of their best pop anthems.
A surprise appearance from James Morrison on the back of his topping the album charts sees an impromptu couplet featuring bestseller ‘You Give Me Something’. It does little to titillate the bemused crowd who give his gentle acoustic meanderings only a smattering of applause.
Hard Fi make a valiant attempt at “talking to the kids” but ultimately this tired approach fails to engage. Nevertheless, the poor man’s Arctic Monkeys try their hardest to win the crowd with the eminently danceable ‘Cash Machine’, but other than this, they’re wholly unmemorable.
Although his legacy is more apparent in recent times than ever before, Paul Weller’s own enthusiasm for music seems to be on the wane in this fairly disappointing appearance. The set itself is mixed – only two appearances from Jam songs, and the crowd are visibly bored throughout.
Will they? Won’t they? Although Faithless’ future is uncertain, there’s no denying they can still give one of the best performances of the weekend. Their pneumatic stage presence brings the crowd together in a single euphoric mass as they collectively scream ‘WE COME ONE!’ Even their more laid back trip hop has everyone juddering in this electrifying set.
And so it comes to The Smiths, sorry, Morrissey, drawing a fairly insubstantial crowd despite the coveted top slot. Launching into ‘Panic’ it becomes clear that this is going to be yet another mish mash of the not very new and the very old. Morrissey himself looks more ancient than ever, his brown ensemble serving only to highlight the greys and add to the ever-present nostalgia. Even his politics are recycled; new single ‘In The Future When All’s Well’ jumps on the bandwagon with its Bush/Blair-mongering. Still, the public are more than happy to oblige Mr Misery as he bleats his way through a spartan back catalogue. As always it’s his ex-band’s classics that receive the strongest reception. Makes you wonder - if it weren’t for his insistent backwards-vision, would he really be headlining tonight?