New Order in the Park 2002
Andrew Future on 09 June 2002
Sunday morning, ten o'clock, death breath with a pounding headache that's waking the neighbours and Ben Gautrey's mum comes in to wake him up. 'You're on stage in four hours, son! You're playing with New Order!' Cut to nine hours later, most of which have been spent in the company of Lord Pissalot, the knight of rain, and The Cooper Temple Clause's singer is apologetic about his lack of stories involving encounters with Daryl Hannah, and explains that New Order use autocues onstage because they're very, very drunk. Amid banter about just how much Ben himself pleaded to be included on this year's Mardi Gras festival bill and complaints about shit sound at their recent Rock Am Ring festival performance in Germany, the towering hair-meister himself insists on taking Virtual Festivals' photo.
Initially, it appeared as if the washed out hangover from the previous day's Fleadh would detract from what, on paper, was a fine bill of bands. THE COOPER TEMPLES CLAUSE seem to be getting well into this whole business of having a large stage to play on, and they make great use of it. Didz is clearly revelling in his new Liam Gallagher haircut and Reading's finest are, as ever, all over the show like a bunch of coked-up, blind dogem cars. Commencing with 'Did You Miss Me?' and following through the armoured ranks of 'Film Maker', 'Devil Walks In The Sand' and closing with the full throttle garrotle of 'Panzer Attack' the conversions are instant and painless. Catch them on the covers of 'alternative lifestyle' men's magazines now. The highlights were Ben's ongoing quest to find new things to break, attention-deficient child stylee, and Didz' spectacular volley of a high flying tambourine, before later falling flat on his arse after some failed shape-throwing.
What ECHO AND THE BUNNIMEN lack in haircuts, stage movement and general youth-cred they make up for in the legacy of, erm, something... Ian McCulloch looks like Tim Burgess, and as the crowd swells and heaven's arse blisters burst further people have little choice but to get into what evolves into a truly enthralling set. You know their songs, you just don't know it. The centrepiece for anyone under twenty comes when COLDPLAY's Chris Martin comes out to join them for a version of their '97 UK Top Ten single 'Nothing Lasts Forever' . Clearly wasted, it was a nice generational-bonding gesture on the Bunny's behalf, kinda like Her Madge inviting Atomic Kitten to the palace.
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS' tip-top surround sound extravaganza was never going to be recreated perfectly in the muddy compound of drunk, middle-aged north London, but with several minor hits from latest album 'Rings Around The World' as well as older tunes like 'The Man Don't Give a Fuck' and 'Do or Die', the Welsh weirdos provided enough of a singalong factor to keep people sweet a while longer, and added the first genuine touch of rocksolid class to the proceedings. SFA are always an inspiring live act to behold, particularly today, as it seemed none of them could keep a straight face for any length of time. Listening to a bootleg from their '97 'Radiator' tour on the way home, for all their sonic sheen, it's a shame they've lost their earlier punk spirit. Show me Magic.
Despite France's World Cup 'issues', Air are in fine mood, and despite this not being the Albert Hall the stoney eletronic orchetsration and sweet love anthems like 'Sexy Boy' and 'Playground Love' stop the rain with the bassy grandeur. Even the weaker material from new LP '1000 Khz' carries really well, and Air prove the undisputed cloud shifters of the afternoon.