music for music fans still lies at the heart of V Festival's appeal

V Festival (Chelmsford) 2012 review

published: Wed 22nd Aug 2012

Snow Patrol

Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th August 2012
Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8WQ, England MAP
£175 w/e with camping
daily capacity: 90000
last updated: Wed 15th Aug 2012

Opening the second and last day of the 2012 V Festival on the main stage are the perfect hangover cure. The current incarnation of the 70's punk rock band The Stranglers blow away the cobwebs with a hit packed set including 'Golden Brown', 'Always The Sun', 'Peaches' and 'No More Heroes'. It was then over to the second stage where young indie band The Rifles go down well despite a short shower at the end of their set.

The Feeling
Sticking with the second stage and next on are pop rock band The Feeling. Playing a greatest hits set including 'Sewn', 'I Thought It Was Over', 'Never Be Lonely', 'Love It When You Call' and the cheerful 'Fill My Little World', each song causes a sing-a-long from the decent sized crowd. At the end of the set singer Dan Gillespie Sells urges the crowd to do whatever they can to support imprisoned Russian punk-rock group Pussy Riot.

I'm then left with little choice but to catch Olly Murs on the main stage. The over excited Murs entertains the crowd with singles 'Please Don't Let Me Go', 'Thinking Of Me' and 'Heart Skips A Beat'. He also regales his followers with a tale of him attending this festival as a fan before launching into a medley of songs he would listen to on his way to the event. Although not normally my thing, I must admit that Murs puts on a fun show.

Speaking of fun, we were then welcomed into the 'House Of Fun' by national treasures Madness. The Suggs fronted band had the crowd going crazy with all their hits including 'Baggy Trousers', 'Our House', 'One Step Beyond' and a performance of 'It Must Be Love' that saw them joined onstage by a certain Olly Murs. Madness are always a fun band live and today is no different. Suggs also makes mention of Pussy Riot and asks us to sign any petitions we can to gain their release from prison.

My ongoing search for guitar bands at the festival then takes me to the second stage where Coventry's The Enemy play a storming set including 'Away From Here', 'Had Enough', 'Be Somebody' and 'We'll Live And Die In These Towns'. In front of a decent crowd Tom Clarke and band mates are very impressive and help carry the torch for guitar music.

Frank Turner
Another artist on the V Festival bill to have played one of the Olympic ceremonies is folk-punk singer Frank Turner. Songs like 'The Road', 'Wessex Boy' and 'I Still Believe' have the crowd singing every word, whilst new song 'Four Words' has, at the behest of Turner, the crowd showing their best dances moves. Turner's music makes you feel together and importantly makes you feel good. Turner is a very talented musician who is surely set for more success in the coming years.

Snow Patrol are a band that go from strength to strength. Following a slow start to their career, album number three ‘Final Straw’ acted as their breakthrough moment. Three more albums have followed and their latest effort ‘Fallen Empires’ is a stunning piece of work by a band who are comfortable in their own skin. Their live performances also go from strength to strength, and tonight they are in top form.

Snow Patrol
Gary Lightbody is in his normal happy mood and the band play over an hour of hits. Backed by an impressive stage set, there is nothing over the top about Snow Patrol's music. Opening with 'Hands Open' and 'Take Back The City', they set the pace for their sub-headline set early on. Big sing-a-long anthems follow in 'Crack The Shutters', 'This Isn't Everything You Are' and the beautiful 'Run'.

'Shut Your Eyes' is followed by a haunting rendition of 'Chasing Cars', which just like with Keane's music yesterday, has the ability to make grown men cry. As this brilliant performance continues I can't help but feel that there are a lot of people at this festival not for the music, but to get wasted and act like fools. At one point during Snow Patrol a mass bottling of girls on their boyfriends shoulders takes place with one girl being taken away with blood flowing from her head. Even in the years I've been attending Hylands Park for this festival there has been a notable decline in real music fans due to the antics of the T.O.W.I.E crowd.

Well that's my rant over for now, because Snow Patrol push on with their brilliant set, with the likes of 'Chocolate', 'Called Out In The Dark', 'Fallen Empires' and 'Open Your Eyes' delighting the real music fans in the crowd. They then bring an end to their time on stage with 'You’re All I Have' and 'Just Say Yes'.

The Killers are fast becoming V Festivals house band, and the boys from Las Vegas are back to headline for a staggering third time in six years. Since their last appearance in 2009, they have had a long break whilst various members have indulged themselves in other projects. Tonight however it's all about The Killers, who are about to release album number four 'Battle Born'.

The Killers
Bursting on to the stage with powerful versions of 'Somebody Told Me' and 'Smile Like You Mean It', Brandon Flowers and co lay out their intentions early on. It's a crowd pleasing, hit packed set that continues with 'Spaceman' and 'This Is Your Life'. We get a quick preview of 'Battle Born' next with new single 'Runaways' and 'Miss Atomic Bomb'.

The pace never really lets up and the rejuvenated band deliver 'For Reasons Unknown', 'Bling (Confession Of A King)' and a Joy Division cover 'Shadowplay' in quick succession. The Killers' reputation as a top live act proceeds them, and they live up to it tonight with 'Human', 'A Dustland Fairytale' and 'Read My Mind' all getting an airing before the killer ending of 'Mr. Brightside' and 'All These Things That I've Done'. 'Mr. Brightside' will go down as the biggest sing-a-long of a weekend that has seen a lot, the crowd certainly showed their appreciation for The Killers.

Coming back on stage to perform an encore of 'Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine' and 'When You Were Young', The Killers are a band that will be back time and time again on this showing. This brings to an end a decent weekend of music from the indie rock world. Guitar music is still alive thanks to the likes of Snow Patrol, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Keane, Frank Turner, The Enemy, Ed Sheeran and the unstoppable Killers.

The corporate nature of V Festival has its positives and its negatives, but it's pulling power is undoubted. V Festival sells out every year and it no doubt will again next year. I will leave you with a quote from Frank Turner's 'I Still Believe', "...and who’d have thought, that after all, something as simple as rock 'n' roll would save us all?..."
review by: Paul Barnes

photos by: Denis Gorbatov

Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th August 2012
Hylands Park, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 8WQ, England MAP
£175 w/e with camping
daily capacity: 90000
last updated: Wed 15th Aug 2012

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