If The Strokes wanted to harp back to the good old days of wasted youth, sludgy garage rock and bleary eyes, they certainly managed it last night with a somewhat divisive headline set at the Isle Of Wight Festival.
Opening with ‘New York City Cops’ a classic US garage song in itself, Julian Casablancas and crew hammered through several of their oh so cool studded leather anthems to kick off the show with nostalgic style.
‘Hard to Explain’, ‘Reptilia’ and ‘What Ever Happened’ were hard to differentiate – all equally dirty, raw and breathtaking. Fresh from a warm gig in London earlier in the week the band ploughed through a barrage of hits, with barely a breath between songs, turning on the style to regain their status as one of the must-see headline acts.
Casablancas was cool, considered and entirely wasted, rocking around his mic stand like a dishevelled ragdoll gnarling and chomping at the bit.
Far too cool for school, brief interludes between power chords proved he could barely stand, let alone string a sentence together, but that just made for an even more captivating show.
His indulgence didn’t hamper his signing and as the band kicked into ‘You Only Live Once’, Casablancas exploded with the flair and fucked up panache for which he’s famed.
Later paying tribute to the UK, and support for the band, it did seem that all the hype and excitement was a little lost on the New York five-piece. Nonchalance and bravado aside, these guys really have done and seen it all before.
A four-song encore ensued, leading with the huge ‘Last Nite’ and ending with ‘Take it or Leave it’.
If at all possible it seemed as if there was more anticipation and excitement last night than pre-Jay-Z on Friday, but when it came down to it the crowd were entirely split over the two headline acts. The Strokes didn’t get the numbers they perhaps deserved and it would seem Orbital packed the Big Top to its lofty rafters.
Warming up the main stage for the headliners was Blondie – Debbie Harry looking as glam as ever and Chris Stein producing the first worthy guitar solo of the weekend. A genuinely impressive show followed with lots of power to the people fist pumping and some eternal sing-a-long moments with ‘Maria’, ‘Heart of Glass’, ‘One Way or Another’ and ‘Call Me’ proving timeless.
England’s first World Cup game disappointment unfolded just before Harry and co took to the stage and hearing N-Dubz’s Dappy prattling on in the background seemed to make the festival football frenzy even more tense.
Vampire Weekend and Noah and The Whale had provided some afternoon eclecticism earlier in the day; the former rallying through an exciting summertime set and the later slipping into obscurity following a promising couple of opening tracks with unfortunately poor sound and a relatively bland overall performance.
Isle Of Wight Festival 2010 continues concludes today (Sunday) with Paul McCartney, Pink, Editors, Spandau Ballet.
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By Gareth Vipers.