V Festival Chelmsford - Saturday
22 August 2004
Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex
There are three visions that stick in our mind ater the first day of 2004's V Festival (Chelmsford). First, is the two men refilling the toilet rolls in the portaloos - both wear fluorescent vests, presumably in case they fall in. And they don't wear any gloves. Second up, is the fight taking place in the car park between a skinny fan wearing a Muse t-shirt and two lagered up JJB Sports fans. Third, is the stripper who adorns the V Stage before The Charlatans appear, having been introduced by Richard Branson himself. A weird day indeed which ends with Muse ripping the place apart - in the dry!
We arrive to be slightly saddened by the fact that Thirteen Senses are nowhere to be seen; off sick - not a great start to your V career. The Killers on the other hand are cool, instant and the perfect 'good' opening band. The perfect V band in fact, milking eighties fascinations with Robert Smith and Duran Duran and dancing all over the piles of unsold new Cure albums. Brandon Flowers knows how to move and if 'Mr Brightside' is anything to go by, they could well be the one band that survives after the press hype has died down.
The likes of All American Rejects really confuse us. Do people really like this shit? Dashboard Confessional are a bit too emotionally overwrought for us; so we spend the time dancing at Athlete with the staff of the local B&Q and their fat girlfriends who sit in inflatable chairs singing every stupid word to 'Vehicles and Animals'. Pink appears and suddenly it all gets a lot more exciting. Plus, she really doesn't ming quite as much as you would expect.
Faithless seem to be in the wrong place - what with the sun still being out and all, but still they sweat it out however inappropriate it may be for the afternoon. While Keane play to the packed NME Stage - (it's all done to a backing track and with a vocal tuner, meaning it's exactly the same as every other festival show they've done), a bearded cheshire cat (Dick Branson) appears before The Charlatans to introduce a stripper and some bloke singing Britney Spears a-capella (who gets all the photographers showered in bottles bouncing off the stage). The naked lady has Virgin scawled on her bum. No, we don't understand either. Do you like the photo, though?
With Jet at home, it's left to Embrace to recycle other people's songs and pass them off as their own, and it is possible to hear comeback single 'Gravity' being quite decent if it was sung by someone who didn't sound like their voice is buried at the back of their pants. Still, they didn't quite get the booing that Kelis did for having her mic turned so far down that the backing singer was doing everything. She should have taken a leaf out of Jamelia's book - pack out the tent, get your arse out.
Even Dido was looking rather fit for the occasion - almost like Jennifer Aniston if you soft focus on her enough. In truth, there's nothing more V-ish than Dido, and she does herself proud: a full range of facial expressions and walkabouts, but sadly no cameo from Eminem. It sounds pretty decent too, though of course once you've heard three songs you've heard them all, and we go and get ourselves ready to go crazy to Muse.
Which everyone inevitably does the minute they kick off with 'Bliss'. The Streets' sessions guy, Morgan Nicholls, does a fantastic job on bass (Chris Wolstenholme broke his wrist playing football with The Cooper Temple Clause on their US tour with The Cure) and with Chris smoking to the side, occasionally playing keyboard and singing, Muse play as a fourpiece. They cover all bases - from 'Cave' to 'Butters And Hurricanes', and the crowd favourites 'Plug In Baby' and 'Time Is Running Out'. The riotous closer 'Stockholm Syndrome' is as awesome as ever. Now bring on The Strokes!
Full in-depth reviews and photo galleries coming soon.