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V Festival 2003: Staffordshire

17 August 2003

The eighth installment of the V Festival goes down a storm and despite a "safe" line-up, the headliners prove their worth and show why they are top of their respective leagues. Class.

Saturday, 16 August

Please click on a photo to enlarge it...

A storming weekend of music at the V Festival in Staffordshire slowly gets under way with the midday set of Tom McRae, enlightening us all with his workman like mixture of folk tinged strum-alongs and choir-boy's-best vocals. What we all need on this hazy summer's morn is a wake-up call and the Proms' finest violins, falsetto vocals and Morrison-style chiming isn't going to provide it, or have the early risers racing for the pit. Nonetheless, it's a quality workman-like preface to the festivities that will descend upon us, even if the doldrums of Radio 2 seemingly beckons for Mr McRae. And we always respect anyone that can take to a stage before noon!

When Skin arrives and opens up her lungs, the entire North West knows about it. In fact someone really should have sent her over to NYC to blast the power back on and provide cover for the PA system on the Subway network. If you close your eyes and dream of being in the sweaty pit at Reading you can really appreciate why Skunk Anansie were such a great festival band. Needless to say, Skin is going to keep that legacy alive for a long time. This hyper-enrgetic performance proves that solo Skin has a lot left to give, diving on and off the stage, leaving us breathless just watching...

The Inspiral Carpets have a tough act to follow, yet manage admirably, to offer up a collection of tunes from their recent greatest hits album. Everyone over the age of 25 is consequently granted the opportunity, once again, to dance like Bez and almost get away with it. Clearly these people are only fooling themselves, courtesy of Budweiser's finest, but what the hell, the Inspirals do themselves and 1992 proud.

And then we come to Morcheeba, the "Aaaahhhh Bisto" band with that mellow, thick but fully flavoursome sound, where everyone sits back chills out and soaks up the gravy. They manage to draw the most appreciative crowd, complete with impromptu bout of Mexican Waving. Impressive.

Tim Burgess has decided to use 'V' to launch his reggae-flavoured solo career, as he has obviously reached that age (with a waistline to go with it), and his main band are enjoying a sabatical. Sadly the sound on stage is dire, but new single "I Believe in the Spirit" seems to please the old Charlatans fans, whilst perhaps winning over a few of Ian Brown's faithful's in the process.


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Article by: Dan Guilliatt

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