After a few hours kip following a barmy night, meeting new friends, trying to choose whether to drink Hobgoblin, Windrush Gold, Stowford Cider or Hoff Export at the bar and then discovering wed got our own booze lake back at camp eFests and talking til the sun began to light the majestic trees towering above us, we had a full English Brekkie and wandered into the arena.
Friendly traders Mezzanine Dream had their sound system on as we wandered over through a field of bubbles from the Bubble Inc stall. Not realising Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly had moved slot to the first of the day I missed him completely walking via the bar to the main arena to find a spot for us to base ourselves as kids and adults left to explore.
Opening the main stage proper were Dad Band winners Songs From The Blue House who had come top in the Rock That competition where Dads in bands had competed for this opening slot. They wereactually very good, playing their own stuff from their album Too including a rather lovely song called The Big Dipper a pleasant tune which doesnt it seems come from their supposed album Songs from Topographic Oceans a fact they clearly made up. The highlight had to be their cracking version of Dont Fear the Reaper replete with violins and flute and sounding fuller than the original it seemed to me a lot of people in the crowd used to get a bit errr high to this record.
Rocco DeLuca and The Burden was following me around, I mean this was the second time I was watching the guitar virtuoso in less than a week. His music in this afternoons set reminds me too much of Led Zeppelin, its done very well, but he sings like tonights headliner Plant and plays like Page but with more fretwork on his Dobro Steel guitar. But the musics brimming with talent and sure to appeal to a wide chunk of the crowd.
On the Truck Nine Stage Air Traffic are rather good to listen to, playing immediate guitar rock in the star covered tent. New single (released next week) Just Abuse Me is a good example of their stuff and singer/keyboard playet/guitarist Chris Wall has an inate charisma and the band are clearly destined for big things.
The outdoor Charlbury Riverside Stage has a change in programme as Zooeira have had to pull out and so Slainte, who were programmed for tomorrow, take their slot with their Celtic music. They may look like a pub band, but infact theyre excellent, getting some of the audience members up in the heat to dance. They are having fun on stage and were enjoying listening to them, unfortunately they start rather late, so I have to leave their set before the end. Next time Ill stay longer.
But its Hayseed Dixies turn to play on the main stage so I race back there and meet up with my daughter to watch them. Their rider for the day has been to demand a beer cooler chock full in the middle of the stage and sure enough its there.
Starting with AC/DCs You Shook Me All Night Long and keeping up the Dixie boy talk they breeze into The Cars Best Friends Girl before returning to more AC/DC with Hells Bells its rather amusing to hear them play all these anthems in their country style, but they seem a bit too slow, possibly its the heat. Walk This Way, rises the speed before Ace of Spades and War Pigs really get the crowd into gear. Greendays Holiday has my daughter beaming, and it gets wider with Whole Lotta Rosie, Fat Bottomed Girls and Highway to Hell. The band appear to have enjoyed it but some of the anecdotes have been a little warped and Duelling Banjos from Deliverence is the obvious tune to close this Redneck show funny that the suns been so hot behind us many of us now have red necks.
So its a quick wander round to the covered stage for Fell City Girl who are a revelation. The band look really young and yet they play well set out songs that reach crescendos before dying down to quiet spaces like Sigur Ros and then build up again without losing a single member of the audience on the way. That a band so young have mastered this more than deciding on their sound is interesting and shows great potential, guaranteed well hear more from these boys. Sounding like Radiohead do Muse they wield their musical proficiency throwing us new single Swim and new song February Snow. Wow, an impressive performance by a band who seem very down to earth. Quite possibly set to be Oxfords next big band.
Walking passed the outdoor stage Pourfourth are playing I Am Kloots Twist so I just have to sit and watch them. Thats the good thing about Cornbury you can wander passed at any point and catch something of interest on any of the stages. They dont disappoint following up with another From Your Favourite Sky before playing a track of their own. It turns out most of the band are members of other bands playing on this stage over the weekend. Oxfords very own mini super group if you will and theyre so good I stay passed their conclusion and the start of Alan Chapmans performance but can only stay for the first track Randy Newmans A Horse With No Name. I conscious of the fact Im singing along to it, so I run off quick.
Reaching the main stage at the same time as the throng to see a bit of Deacon Blue. Im no fan they once got stroppy at Glastonbury when they played tunes around our campfire and we asked them to stop playing their hits and start playing something we knew. Well it seems they must have had more hits than I remembered in those days. All the hits pour fourth Dignity, Chocolate Girl and Real Gone Kid which even I know the lyrics to. The older crowd are loving this and women who should know better are jiggling about like their teens again, they clearly are for many the highlight of the day so far.
Meanwhile the early start of the Riverside Stage means that the headliners take to the stage early on in the evening and Junkie Brush are it turns out one of my favourite acts of the weekend. A high powered crunching punk band. They infuse energy and are nearly as good a power up as a double espresso. They remind me of the Meteors but with more bite. The trio play predominantly to kids who in the large seem pretty over awed by this proper UK punk. But everyone there is enjoying it. Certainly the first few Metallica-esque riffs have sent the folk fans running for cover.
Aberfeldy arent happy when they appear before a decent sized crowd. Well the rest of the band seem quite philosophical about whats befallen them but lead singer Riley Briggs is all angled spite. What you wonder has happened? Well it seems Lufthansa airlines have lost all their equipment. So they come to the stage as theyve been hunting for it. They were supposed to be playing with James Blunt but they didnt cos it poured with rain, which was a blessing in disguise says Riley before saying actually it wasnt and directing a few choice swear words at Lufthansa again. But the rest of the band seem much more philosophical about it and the hacked off attitude of Riley is a strange counterpoint to his singing of such upbeat catchy pop songs like Vegetarian Restaurant and hit single Love Is An Arrow which says Briggs got to a respectable top 60 spot in the charts. Vocal harmonies and fiddle is a great combination. Theyve got a little something special much like fellow countrymen Belle and Sebastian and their musics summery pop folk. Just wish that the organisers could have married them to the Waterboys equipment set up on stage and treated a wider audience.
The reason I say this is because on returning to in front of the main stage I discover the truth The Waterboys arent coming. They too have had plane trouble and theyre stuck in Spain where as all their equipment is on stage! After playing the crowd a few Waterboys hits to really rub it in the organisers tell us that Rocco DeLuca has offered to come out on stage and entertain us for the second time today. Hes still got his acoustic Dobro steel guitar but hes unaccompanied, its nicer sounding flowing guitar work, less at full kilter and rather similar to headliner Bobs solo work. Before the final song Rocos joined by his bass player for a rather pleasant number which goes someway to cheering or hearts after the bad news. But the crowd rapidly swells before the end of the tune in preparation for the legendary Robert Plant.
review by: Scott Williams
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