Stereophonics blast IOW with an ecstatic climax of day two

Isle Of Wight 2009 review

published: Thu 18th Jun 2009

Stereophonics

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2009
Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2DN, England MAP
£120 adult no camping, £60 child (12 and under), £140 with camping - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 50000
last updated: Mon 8th Jun 2009

After the whirlwind of bands on Friday, and constantly legging it between the Main Stage and the Big Top, I took the decision to base myself at the Main Stage on Saturday to see the likes of White Lies and The Stereophonics, as well as getting out and about and discovering just what the IOW festival was all about.

around the festival site
First up has to be a mention of the amazing costumes I'd seen throughout the first two days – everything from Wonder Woman to hula girls, men in dresses, men in bridal dresses bought from the local charity shops, neon tutus; I could go on. But first prize definitely has to go to neon green mankini man, with a mankini that bared more than the eyes dared to see! Such bravery in such heat; hope he was wearing sun cream on his nether regions!

As the clouds dispersed it was evident that the IOW festival had done it again, and we were to be treated to an 8th successful year of amazing weather with no rain! The Yeah You's (Mike Kintish and Nick Ingram) kicked off the day's events for me and the sparse few others that were hanging around by the stage sunbathing, chilling and nursing hangovers from the night before. This mainstream pop band were nothing more than a luke warm warm-up band, whose sing-a-long pop tunes like 'Getting Up With You' and '15 Minutes' did nothing more than make their family and friends shout "The Yeah You's, the Yeah You's, the Yeah You's are on fire." NOT!

Sharon Corr
Perhaps the blistering heat was keeping everyone away from the Main Stage, as there was still only a smattering of people near the front for Sharon Corr, of previous band The Corrs fame. The subdued audience (obviously saving themselves for later) swayed through painfully thin Corr's set including 'Painted On' from her next album and confusingly titled 'Dream of You' and 'It's Not a Dream' (which even Corr herself got mixed up!). The only real reaction from the crowd was to old The Corr's songs like 'Listen On The Radio' and 'So Young', where they just about managed a big cheer! The Irish ditties she played on her violin got a few people up doing an Irish jig, but I think it just proved that a festival is the wrong place for Sharon Corr to be, no matter how accomplished a singer and violinist she is!

In true IOW style, perhaps more to satisfy the taste of organiser John Giddings than the audience, we skip from 90's fame right back to 70's fame, where the rather wrinkly, but still ever so amazing The Zombies saunter on stage right. Colin Blunstone and Rob Argent may have retired in 1967, but the ever so crystal vocals of Blunstone, and the keyboarding competence of Argent become ever so apparent in tracks like 'I Love You', 'Mystified' and 'What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted'. I feel ever so mellow and relaxed when they start playing songs from their Mojo award winning album Odessey in Oracle. It's no wonder they're a Paul Weller favourite. I had no idea that they sang songs like 'She's Not There' and 'Tell Her No' – which is what I think one if the IOW festivals aims is – to expose people to bands they have never even heard of. However, there were a few oldies doing air guitar throughout the site, so they obviously appreciated The Zombies being there!

Isle Of Wight folk (2)
I didn't stay for the likes of The View and Paulo Nutini, as I wanted to see more than just the Main Stage! As I passed by a sea of sunflowers on hats and bee bugs stuck to people's chests (from the charity campaigns being promoted here including Give Bees a Chance), the blistering mid afternoon heat beat down upon me; so much so that I had to submit and pay the £2.30 for an ice cream! That's nothing though in comparison to the £6 for a sloppy curry, £3 + for a drink and god knows how much for the tempting pies and chips! It's expensive to eat and drink here, but that's to be expected. A good way to supplement your cash is collect the Carling cups and take them back for recycling. Some entrepreneurial kids had made £30 doing just that, so it's no wonder that the IOW achieved a 92% bring back rate for Carling cups in 2008!

People had started to surface in their droves by now, with kids getting their faces painted in the Kids Zone, youngsters jumping on the ferris wheel for a bird's eye view of the site, and adults treating themselves to a mug of tea and a relaxing foot wash in the Solace tent. In fact, the atmosphere is so chilled out that we all needed something to wake ourselves up, so when the Read Arrows whipped through the clouding sky at 6pm exactly, they nearly gave us all a heart attack (including Paulo Nutini). Their amazing precision flights, and tricks including corkscrews and double rolls, had us all dumfounded for 24 minutes!

White Lies
It was then that everything kicked into life. Festival goers sporting White Lies T-shirts wound their way to the front row of the Main Stage to see moody, broody and ever so talented White Lies. Their pop indie music is unique and totally recognisable as the air is filled with 'A Place To Hide', 'To Lose My Life', and 'Farwell to the Fairground' lyrics, which sees the crowd enthusiastically chanting whilst dancing to "keep on running, keep on running, there's no place like home." Frontman Harry McVeigh can't help but smirk, momentarily losing his dark and mysterious persona, before cracking on with ‘'Unfinished Business' and 'The Price of Love'. Atmospherically, the first and only few drops of rain of the evening can be felt as McVeigh announces their last tune for the evening 'Death'. The hype of this band is definitely deserved; they've already built up a decent following - so bring on December when they have their own headline tour!

The Maximo Park set – well it was a standard Maximo Park Set, with Paul Smith bounding off every corner, performing his trademark scissor splits and making the stage his own. His effervescent energy sets the fields alight as he delivers hit after hit with professionalism and vivaciousness, such as 'Our Velocity', 'Box in Boxes' and 'Apply Some Pressure'. Obviously Maximo were going to plug some songs from their new album 'Quicken The Heart' too, where we listened to 'Let's Get Clinical', 'Cloud Of Mystery’ and 'Kids Are Sick Again', none of which captured my heart or my attention.

Razorlight
I hung around for Razorlight, with the night sky drawing in around us. Razorlight was emblazoned in gold lighting across the back of the main stage before Johnny Borrell led then band on stage, to massive cheers and whoops. They aren't my favourite band at all, but with huge drums, great sound and an unbelievable sea of people filling the IOW festival fields, the fans started dancing away. Sunburnt faces appeared from behind shades as Razorlight blasted out 'Back To The Start' and 'In The Morning', much to the delight of the enraptured audience. 'North London Trash' was a bit rubbish to be honest, but 'Golden Touch' and 'America' more than made up for that.

But, I hadn't stuck it out at the Main Stage for Maximo and Razorlight. I was here for joint headliners Stereophonics, their only festival date this year as they are busy crafting their new album in the studio. They get slated for being uninventive in other press, but why would they have had 21 top 20 singles, 5 no 1 albums and sold 9 million albums worldwide if they weren't still setting the world alight? As Welsh dragon flags paraded around and the promise to play new songs from the forthcoming album had the less than sober fans fidgeting in their spaces, there were deafening screams as leather-jacket-clad Kelly Jones, Richard Jones, Javier Weyler and Adam Zindani strutted onto the stage. Charlotte Church, Gavin Henson and tens of thousands of screaming, adoring fans danced, cheered and loved every second of opening 'Bartender And The Thief'.

Stereophonics
Other memorable tunes paraded from their greatest hits included 'Mr Writer', 'Devil', and 'ave a Nice Day'. The lighting is explosive and eye-catching, extra speakers have been brought onto the stage just to make Stereophonics as loud and massive as possible, and everyone is singing almost every word at the top of their voices. The eagerly awaited new song 'Innocent' is well received too – I think it's one of those grow on you tunes that's sure to be a big hit! Their cover of 'Handbags and Gladrags' always gets everyone wild, and tonight's IOW festival crowd was no exception. Especially as it was followed soon after with 'Just Lookin'. Obviously their biggest hit to date 'Dakota' was saved for last, with Kelly Jones thanking the ecstatic audience for watching the set before exiting. 1 hour 30 minutes has never gone so fast for me before, and I think it will take a while to top that. No matter how drunk people may have got that night, they were bound to have stumbled their way back to their tent singing a Stereophonics tune or two.

With my car awaiting, and a fresh bed in The Lodge (Brightstone) calling my name, I wound my way down the almost empty streets to a car park in central Newport. My ears were ringing so much I had no idea how I was going to cope with tomorrow too, but wild horses couldn't have kept me away!
review by: Tricia Owen-Williams

photos by: Michelle Owen-Williams

Friday 12th to Sunday 14th June 2009
Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2DN, England MAP
£120 adult no camping, £60 child (12 and under), £140 with camping - SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 50000
last updated: Mon 8th Jun 2009


latest on this festival

Isle of Wight Festival 2021
festival details
last updated: Wed 24th Feb 2021