Saturday review

Isle of Wight Festival 2010 review

published: Wed 16th Jun 2010

Blondie

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th June 2010
Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2DN, England MAP
£130 adult weekend no camping, £65 for a child ticket (7-12 years)
daily capacity: 60000
last updated: Tue 15th Jun 2010

Saturday at the Isle of Wight Festival saw the sun shining for most of the day. The crowds were in good spirits with many interesting fancy dress ideas. Unlike many other festivals where there is a theme, Isle of Wight lets people do their own thing and gives free reign to the familiar superheroes and un-feminine fairies!

This years festival has been billed by the press as being the strongest line-up yet, but this early in the day has yet to be proved.

The days early bands on Main Stage included The Bluebyrds, Detroit Social Club and seventies singer Melanie who had played the Isle of Wight back in 1970, before the festival was banned until its resurrection in 2002. Unfortunately due to the photographer forgetting his pit pass and having to detour back across the Island we were not on site till slightly later arriving as The Hold Steady were coming to the end of their slot.

Fortunately we had arrived in time for the impressive performance put on by Paloma Faith, dressed as always in a rather understated manner! She wowed the crowd with an impeccable act, her strong voice and presence makes you ask what could of become of Amy Winehouse if she had held herself together – lets hope Paloma doesn't suffer the same fate. The crowd were in full voice with the hits including 'Stone Cold Sober', 'Broken Doll', 'Upside Down', 'Romance Is Dead' and 'New York'. I am very certain that she will soon be headlining festivals herself, she made sure the crowd were aware of her UK tour at the end of the year and if she's anywhere near you, I would give it serious consideration.

Paloma Faith

After the excesses of Paloma, Crowded House were a complete contrast, playing their laid-back antipodean pop (although when it came to announcing the band members, there seemed to be more 'from Nashville' than anything else). On a hot sunny afternoon it's nice to be able to sit back and relax for a while, and with sing-along classics such as 'Four Seasons in One Day' and 'Weather With You'. Crowded House are the perfect band.

Equally suited to a sunny day are Vampire Weekeend, whose music seems to have been written purely for listening to during the summer months. Sometimes when you're in the pit photographing a band you can tell how well an act is doing by the noise coming from the crowd behind you, and on the opening chord of their second song, 'Holiday', the cheers and shouts were almost a physical wave of energy hitting your back. Moving out into the main arena you could see that most of the crowd were on their feet, even towards the back where the die hard 'sit on the blanket' groups congregate. The band worked their way through a good selection of their back catalogue, and engaged the crowd with good-natured banter – dedicating their final song 'Walcott' to "The footballer who didn't make it to South Africa this time".

Talking of the World Cup, it was about this time that kick-off started and so there was a noticeable thinning of the crowd, as those who couldn’t keep themselves away from the national game left to watch it on a big screen elsewhere on site. It also meant they missed out on Biffy Clyro, who were no doubt chosen to perform as, being Scottish, wouldn't be missing out on anything. Biffy Clyro are as famous for their tattoos as their music, and true to form they arrived topless displaying their many markings. They are probably the most physical band of the weekend, and lead singer Simon Niel was quickly covered in a layer of sweat, as he ran about the stage and generally moshed his way through the songs. The crowd were in fine voice too and pogoed along fists raised in the air. Musically they were very good, handling the big thrashy numbers as well as the slower gentle songs. Despite all this passion though they are a band that never quite cut it for me – I can't put my finger on what it is, but I can't get inspired by them. Although their closing hit 'Captain' is certainly a great stadium anthem.

Up next were Blondie, who proved that they could still belt out a tune. Debbie Harry, who will be 65 in a few weeks time, still has the strength of voice and presence to quickly have the audience eating out of her hand - whether it is playing old classics like 'Atomic' or 'Hanging on the Telephone' or demo-ing new songs such as 'Mothers'. The most interesting track for me of the evening was her version of 'Call Me' which they had worked round the keyboard, drum and bassline of Muse's 'The Resistance'. This kind of playfulness with the songs was what really stood out to me, that the band weren't just another 80s act playing the hits on auto-pilot, but still a dynamic band with something to say, even 30 years on.

Blondie

Given the strength of their performance, Blondie probably should have headlined the evening, however that honour went to The Strokes. Arriving on an almost pitch-black stage, with only minimal lighting on the band themselves, they performed a solid set with a good selection of hits. The compere for the evening, prior to their arrival, described them as "The band that inspired a decade of music, tight trousers, and shaggy hair" and this, I feel is, the problem with them. It's not that they are particularly bad, its just that they were only as good as the clones that followed them and so quickly got lost in the other bands that copied their style. The result is that they are just another indie band. Whilst the fans of the band were no doubt pleased with the performance and went away happy, they just didn't seem to have enough of a bang to end the evening on.

Although as I mentioned earlier, this years festival is said to be the best line-up of all time. Today's performances left me feeling that the running order needed a rethink.
review by: Steve Collins

photos by: Steve Collins

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th June 2010
Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 2DN, England MAP
£130 adult weekend no camping, £65 for a child ticket (7-12 years)
daily capacity: 60000
last updated: Tue 15th Jun 2010


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