Radio 1/NME Stage: top ten bands

United Kingdom United Kingdom | by Mat Hocking, Ruth Booth, Ali Ryland, Dannii Leivers | 02 September 2009

Lost Prophets
They might be up tonight against one of the world’s most revered, cerebral bands, Radiohead, but Lost Prophets have a different agenda. Tonight’s set is all about huge sing-a-longs and having a fucking good time. It’s been over a year since the Prophets played in the UK and although they’re not the most adventurous or even credible band, it’s easy to forget just how much fun they are.

Kicking off with ‘Everyday Combat’ and ‘Can’t Catch Tomorrow’, as vocalist Ian Watkins, sporting a Danny-Zuko-esque slicked back hairdo, states “We’re going to play all the ones you know”. This is a feel good set that demonstrates just how good the band are at penning anthemic choruses that can transcend the boundaries of any tent and unify a crowd.  

‘Last Train Home’ is literally screamed back at them, while ‘Shinobi Vs Dragon Ninja’ and ‘Burn Burn’ incite so many pits the crowd look like whirlpools among an already turbulent sea. There’ll be more than just a few hoarse voices after this one. DL

Faith No More
Following their celebrated Download headline performance, it’s something of a shock to find Faith No More on a mere 3/4 full NME tent. Yet the band, particularly charismatic frontman Mike Patton, have always had that air of the entertainer in their warped output, and it was always unlikely that their scattergun approach to making each night a little different would result in the final night ending on a whimper.

Tonight was less live show, more 3am lounge jazz room, Patton and the band relaxed and besuited for a career best-of that was more than just a straight record run. In amongst were a half-Italian version of ‘Evidence’ and some warped rapping on ‘Epic’, we’re even treated to the full of Patton’s vocal dexterity – even whistling along to the Eastenders theme tune.

And the frontman himself was in rude health, directing the crowd in song, chiding us for not singing all the verses to ‘Midlife Crisis’, cheeky yet utterly charming. It all rounded off perfectly with a full Las Vegas ending for ‘Just A Man’, Patton dancing with his audience in the pit, and pushing any security out of his way. RB.

Little Boots

Dressed in a figure-hugging, Jetsons-style white outfit, synth-pop queen Little Boots found it hard to contain her smiles as she turned and swayed her way round the stage. Programming her infamous Tenori On machine before each song her temperature raising vocals in set highlight ‘New In Town’ win our hearts instantly. Things get a little emotional as she brings her brother on for a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’, before her entire family joins her onstage for the Abba-esque ‘Remedy’. MH

The Gossip

“Ladies and gentlemen… our sex is almost on fire,” is the announcement before the prominent figure of Beth Ditto struts down front, to the crowd’s delight.

While the meaning of sex on fire is something the general public have been trying to figure out for months, Ditto seemed determined to showcase her interpretation of the phrase as she swaggered to ‘4 Letter Word’, before ascending centre stage. Squeaky voiced electronica and fused attitude with microphone-breaking temper tantrums sum up the headliner to a tee. AR.

Them Crooked Vultures

Only the stark, cold vulture silhouette staring ominously from the kick drum bore a hint at the rock star supergroup that was to emerge from the rain-soaked NME tent, but as soon as Messer’s Grohl and Homme take to the stage the eyes of the crowd light up with pure adulation. Joined by Zeppelin bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones and QOTSA guitarist Alain Johannes they launch into a pure adrenalized rock hybrid, Grohl literally smashing his kit behind a flurry of truly monstrous riffs. Jones’ keyboards halfway through adds a menacing tenure to a sound that throttles you until you’re headbanging along, unable to contain your amazement at how these rock titans have created something so invigorating and new. MH

You Me At Six
Was it the newly appointed heartthrob status of singer Josh Franceschi, the bop-popping guitar or the relatable lyrics of love, lust and teenage angst that had the tent crammed with adolescents?

In any case, it has to be acknowledged that the Surrey lads were camper than Christmas as they pranced around warbling Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker Face’ and their very own love ballad ‘Always Attract’ complete with the crowd’s contribution of eye-shut swaying; not even a snippet of ‘Killing In The Name Of’ or Franceschi’s successful pits, controversially for “anyone who doesn’t have a vagina!” can emasculate the set. Yet it’s a bloody good bit of unashamed, feminine pop-rock. AR.

As Virtual Festivals arrive at the NME tent for Gallows’ evening set, it’s nowhere near as full as it ruddy well should be. Not that Gallows give even half a shit. “We’ve spent the last ten weeks in America playing with terrible bands and talentless fucking shitheads,” announces vocalist Frank Carter. “It feels good to be home.” This crowd evidently feel the same way.

The band tear through a incendiary set kicking off with ‘The Riverbed’ and ‘London Is The Reason’ from their latest album ‘Grey Britain’ before dedicating ‘Come Friendly Bombs’ to Man U fans who had just seen their team beat Arsenal 2-1. “I wanna see a fucking circle pit that goes around the soundstage,” Carter bellows during the bloodthirsty ‘Abandon Ship’ while ‘In the Belly of a Shark’ saw a wall of death destroy the tent. Those who chose to watch Bloc Party playing in their trusty second-from-the-top headline position failed spectacularly on this one. DL

Dananananaykroyd, or Dan, Anna and the Asteroid as once incorrectly spelled, are Scottish. All stereotypes of haggis-consuming grumps must thankfully be put to sleep forever as the fun-loving Glaswegians commenced with feisty ‘Fight Pop’, accompanied by new sensation, a ‘Wall Of Cuddles’.

It seems that a wall of death had no place here at 12am on a Sunday morning, despite what some may be feeling like. The boys managed to pull off one of the most energetic sets of the weekend, the like of which will never be seen, and certainly not participated in, again by bleary-eyed early risers. AR.

Florence and The Machine
Florence may have celebrated her birthday the day before by hurting her hand, but her gig doesn’t suffer from the mishap, as the redhead’s noteworthy vocal chords reverberate on hits ‘Rabbit Heart’ and ‘Dog Days’, while the crowd eerily does the same.

“In the name of electrocution and beer, Leeds, this one’s for you,”
Florence said, as the rain poured through the tent, soaking equipment and the unfortunate drummer to the bone. It’s a good thing the singer’s powerful voice can outweigh any storm. AR.

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