Friday, 20 June 2008

The Isle of Wight

What ho readers,

As requested I am writing a review of my exciting trip to the Isle of Wight. Some of Asp's many thousands of readers may have seen my texts from the actual event itself. They should give you some sort of a flavour of the whole thing. If you can't be bothered to read the whole review I won't keep you in suspense. In keeping with good legal reporting here is the conclusion first:

A lot of crappy generic indie-pop like Hoosiering for Wombats and Wombating for Hoosiers padded out the line up, but the atmoshpere was great and the old hands like the Police and the Sex Pistols knew their business well. Iggy and the Stranglers were worth the price of admission alone and the mainly family crowd were good people.

Hmm. I can't get out of italics. Let's just pretend I meant to write the whole post in a different font than normal. That'll save face.

Okay let's take it in more or less chronological order:


Got there on the Thursday thinking we'd find a camping spot quite easily. Ha ha. Place already packed. After putting up the tents and having a martini (premixed. I'm so rock and roll) we wandered into the fair ("Strawberry Fields") which was - as with all festivals - a rampant orgy of capitalism trying to pass itself off as a hippie love in.

I like capitalism and I don't like hippies so I was entirely on board with this.

We watched Suspiciously Elvis, a tribute act no one could accuse of being suspiciously like the real thing. (Oh god I kill myself.) But was entertaining non the less. Didn't stick about for Bjorn Again but went on the bumper cars instead. Bumper cars are awesome. Then I enjoyed a mojito from the mojito bar. Although that should be "enjoyed" and "mojito" in tones of dripping sarcasm. I've seen less ice in a glacial pool.


I was bit annoyed at missing Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong - a band who have always seemed quite decent when I've heard them on the wireless. I got down to the main stage in time for the unbeatable line up of The Wombats, The Hoosiers and KT Tunstall. Yay.

I feel bad not liking the Wombats and the Hoosiers. They seem like decent enough fellows and I'm sure they're enjoying being "Rock Stars" and are kind to their mothers and all the rest of it. It's just their music is so dull... And together with Scouting for Girls they're all completely indistinguishable from each other.

The worst thing is that damnable "Let's Dance to Joy Divison" song. Call me a musical snob but I can't imagine that Ian Curtis would be bopping along to that little number and it seems a bit cheap to me.

So I'm sorry but those chaps didn't do it for me.

Neither did KT Tunstall. Who really did her best to get everyone going, which is always nice to see, but was just not rockin'.

N*E*R*D on the other hand really were. I'm not sure how their appeals to enGLAND to "make some NOISE" went down with our Celtic brothers in the audience, but I did my best to not be completely white. I'm not sure I succeeded but I think I'll pick up one of their compact discs before long. Which is always a good sign.

I skipped the Kaisers, not that I don't enjoy their roguish ways, but the Stranglers (even the fairly reduced Stranglers we had) blow them out of the water. The Stranglers were excellent - their set list was pretty predictable to be honest, going through the Best Of back catalogue with no suprises or much audience interaction. But when your back catalogue is that solid you don't really need to bring much more than gusto in your playing to pull off an awesome performance.


We shall draw a veil over Kate Nash's twee awfulness and proceed onto the Enemy - a band I must say I'm not terribly familiar with. I don't really remember much of their set, but I remember enjoying it so that's a good thing.

The Zutons were great - the biggest reaction was probably to Valerie. I can't help but think it's a little depressing that most of the crowd probably only knew the words because of the version by Katie Melua with a smack addiction. Which reminds me of the old joke "Who killed the Zutons? Mark Ronson." Ho ho.

But there really is more to them than providing fuel for tabloid fodder and they showed that in a brilliant set.

Especially Mrs. Zuton. She's lovely. Mrs. Zuton if you read this please marry me. I've signed on today so you know I've got prospects.

Next up was probably the FUN highlight of the Festival. Iggy and the Stooges. Apparently he tried to crowd surf at one point and wasn't allowed to, so he sang NO FUN at full blast right into the face of one of the security guards. I missed this because I was in the MOSH PIT. Which was great - and in my opinion the right way to listen to the music. There were a couple of Scally looking lads and I must admit that I thought if anyone is going to take things too far it'll be you lads, but everyone acted in good spirits and helped those that fell over up before shoving them in the face. Good stuff.

I missed Ian Brown because my wristband and my friend had got damaged in the pit and I had to take them to get fixed. But apparently he was a cock who managed to piss off a really friendly audience anyway so...

The Sex Pistols closed things off. They know their business those lads - it's all a pantomime of course, with scripted sneers and storming off stage just as their set was meant to close anyway - but it was bloody good fun.

They started up with Vera Lynn playing over the speakers. A couple of skinheads in the audience didn't really seem to get the irony and joined in with a teary eyed rendition of "There'll always be an England" but we're smarter and more savvy than them aren't we readers? Oh yes we are.

Johnny Rotten's satirical targets were perhaps a bit musty. Tony Blair and the Iraq war are not exactly bleeding edge political satire, but the Sex Pistols were always more about trying to offend people, leaving the "trying to make people think" to bands like the Clash and the Jam (In my humble opinion anyway) so you can't really moan about that.

They played all their hits, a couple of covers and generally insulted the audience just enough to keep them onside. I think they might even have learnt to play their instruments since the seventies as well! Shocking I know!


Started with the Delays, I'd seen them before and they were much improved. Still not quite enough to stand out particularly - but they deserve to get bigger. Not much bigger but a bit. We're talking "Decent Growth spurt" rather than "MAKE MY MONSTER GROW" type stuff here.

Newton Faulkner was not as offensively bad as you would expect if you'd only heard his Massive Attack massacre. He wasn't great obviously, but when he started up just a chap on his own playing his guitar quite well he was good. When the band came out things got a little overblown and he clearly didn't have enough material to cover the whole gig - but the audience really liked him and these things are important.

Scouting for Girls offend me. We've covered this. I think they did a little "By the Power of GreySkull I HAVE THE POWER..." He - Man bit. 80s nostalgia always goes down well, especially with a crowd like that - but they didn't have the chops to go anywhere with it.

Starsailor also were bland to an extreme degree. I think I just boozed and talked when they were on. I certainly can't remember anything they did.

I got to the front for James, they were really good. They didn't play "Sit down" which is there big hit. But they had enough manic energy and sheer class that I don't think anyone minded. I will never understand how this band never became the bigger than they were. Madness I say. Sheer madness.

I got out of there double time for the Kooks. You see I've got this problem where if I hear the Kooks my neck swells up and I can't breath. Taking the piss out of the Kooks is a little like shooting fish in skinny jeans so I won't.

Oh just look at them for God's sake. They're not a band, they're a fashion shoot.

We went to see the Music instead. Who were pretty good - and would definitely take the Kooks in a fight.

Then a chum and I barged our way more or less to the front of the Police using the time honoured "But my Sister is up the front, my Mum will kill me if I'm not there to look out for her." Luckily some passing girl took it upon herself to pretend to be our sister. If you're out there passing girl - God Bless you, you sweet angel of mercy.

You know I've got to say I didn't think the Police would be my THING. They ruined Christmas once (long story) and I don't think I've ever really forgiven Sting. But you know what they were awesome. Aside from a wanky montage of Sad Kids from Around the world there was very little of the sort of 80s claptrap you associate with them. They got the crowd going and they played their instruments well. Good on you Police, good on you.

Well after that the festival wasn't quite over. Feeder were headlining the second stage (Feeder at a festival? Surely next the lion will lie down with the lamb) and some chums and I decided to rock out there and played a very silly game where we tried to get as many high fives as we could.

All in all - The Isle of Wight is OKAY! It may be infested by hoards of Devil Bears, Satanist cults and various holding centres for secret agents that tried to retire, but this June it hosted a fun, family orientated festival that I would definitely recommend to my friends and family.


Dark Sprout said...

Oh yes. Have a look at my videos of the weekend whilst you're at fellow travelers.

Asp said...

Excellent review mate - the dry sarcastic wit I was hoping for.

Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks again for the updates :)