Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Asp @ V - Final thoughts

DSCF0076 Well, I'm back - and whilst I know many view V with an element of snobbery, it being perhaps the most commercialised of festivals, you can't complain about the line-up so I don't feel too guilty about saying that I had a great time.

As you might have gathered (especially if you read Asp Bites itself), I wasn't going as a punter to Hylands Park, I was working in my capacity as a St John Ambulance first aider. Being there to do a job, that has to take priority - so you do lose a bit there. But, backstage access and obviously lack of paying to get in do, in my opinion, make it a fair swap.

I was posted next to the 4music stage, which I was pretty happy about given the line-up including Air Traffic, The Courteeners, Duffy, Amy MacDonald, and Sunday stage headliners the Kaiser Chiefs to name but a few. Yes, I'd much rather have seen Muse than the Prodigy (as it was, I didn't see anything of the Prodigy anyway, we had a rush of patients instead). Mind you, I'd originally had gone to see the Verve instead of the Kaisers - and (without seeing the Verve on TV highlights yet) think I got a decent deal being stuck with the Leeds lot - a pretty interactive performance giving the fans their money's worth

Many of my comments made at the time are as good a summary as necessary. So, whilst my live updates weren't as technologically advanced as Winston's (I might change that for future festivals if I'm able to update my one to one that does more than ring and text), I still think that if you've not already - just have a read of what I said in the time.

A few things I didn't mention at the time though that are worthy of comment - The Pigeon Detectives were very enthusiastic and had a powerful set. Sunday afternoon was a generically nice listen with Delays, The Courteeners, The View, Reverend and the Makers, The Rifles and One Republic - if only as background music as it all ended up becoming much of an indie muchness, none of them really making me sit up and take notice (although, it was busier on post on Sunday, so I wasn't able to stand and watch as much as I did on Saturday). Final things that really stand out though:

Low-light of the festival

If you saw my live comments, this won't come as a surprise. One of my colleagues said that Newton Faulkner's set was brilliant - apart from his final cover. I suppose it wasn't that bad - I didn't like his cover of You spin me right round - but after hearing Thea Gilmore's, all other covers pale into insignificance. It's just Bohemian Rhapsody was nothing short of destroyed. It's obviously so difficult to cover, and I'm not sure if I've heard any good covers of it. But, Newton Faulkner's attempt was a total annihilation. I put my ear defenders on - even though I wasn't in the pit at the time - to try and lessen the impact.

Seriously, words can't describe how crap it was. Sorry Newton, but please stop covering things.

Surprise of the festival

Roy Stride in the pit engaging with the crowd I've always been fairly dismissive of Scouting for Girls. I've always said that they've got one good song. The only problem is - it's all of their songs. I've said that they seem like great personalities - but every song is that same piano twonky tune.

However, which band got the biggest demand for an encore on the 4music stage? You'd think either The Prodigy or the Kaisers as the stage headliners? Nope - SFG. Roy Stride was able to work the crowd in a truly brilliant fashion. And somehow, hearing the songs together, they didn't really all seem that 'samey'. It might be viewed as 'teeny-bopper pop', but even I was won over.

Highlight of the festival

Amy McDonald on the 4music stage MOR, friendly, semi-acoustic pop. It doesn't sound that awe-inspiring when you say it like that. However, Amy MacDonald was my favourite act of the weekend. That wonderful cover of Dancing in the Dark and an exclusive listen to Troubled Soul made a very well balanced set - everyone able to join in with Mr Rock & Roll and the more lively tracks from "This is the life". I don't think there was anything in there that could have caused offence - and it just seemed to fit on a sunny, summery afternoon in August.

And that's V for another year. Huge thanks to Hazard for assisting with the live updates, I hope they brought a bit of the festival atmosphere to life for you. Overall, it was a great occasion - only a few bands I wouldn't mind not seeing again (starting with The Prodigy). Depending on how holidays and other events fall, I might even be back again next year...


Winston's Zen said...

Must've been a shame not to be able to move around. Still like you say, and you got a good spot. The 4music stage had a lot of the best acts on.

Personally I thought the Prodigy was an amazing set. But then, I never saw them in their heydey, and I'd been chomping at the bit for it! Air Traffic and The Couteeners too, but I knew they would. Was very pleased to see the Rifles claim an impressive opening crowd. Made something of a mockery of the running order.

Heard Duffy's set went down well, but missed it myself.

Scouting for Girls though? Really? I had the misfortune to be queuing for beer while they were doing their Elvis bit. It almost put me off my drink. The crowd, admittedly was lapping it up though. [shakes head]

Ho hum. S'what makes the world go round, right?

Considering Offset next. Will you be on duty there?

Dingbat said...

Putting Newton as the festival low-light is a joke! OK you may not like his stuff, your choice - but your colleague was right, it was a brilliant set! I was right in the middle and many thousands of people would disagree regarding Bo Rhap - one of the best fest singalongs I've ever heard - the guy knows how to entertain. Get over yourself, Asp!

Asp said...

Winston - I know what you mean about SFG. To be fair, I didn't see most of their set due to 'business reasons', but there was a remarkable atmosphere. Wouldn't say they were the best - no-where near - but I was extremely surprised how much I did enjoy it.
I won't be at Offset I'm afraid, takes a lot of paperwork to get a visa allowing me south of the Watford Gap ;)

Dingbat - As I said, a lot of Newton's set was fine. Before I heard his set, I had nothing against him, and there's nothing wrong with his own music at all - even if it's not the sort of stuff I'd rush out to buy. However, even my colleague said that his slaughtering of Queen was, well, exactly that. If he hadn't attempted it, I'd have been more than content with what I heard and saw. That 'cover' though - it's one where it's almost impossible to better the original, so why even try?

Dingbat said...

Thanks for the response, but just one question. Do you really think that the only point of covering a song is to better the original - I hope not. Given that Queen hardly ever attempted to do it live themselves, it's hardly likely that one guy with an acoustic guitar could do it better. It's a tribute to a great song and for a solo acoustic cover, a pretty damn good one - that's unless you can come up with someone who's done it better!

Asp said...

Nah, I wouldn't say that at all - covering a song is about making it your own, so that the cover itself is a good song.

So, by that token, his Dead or Alive cover wasn't that bad. Very different - which I like, but as I said I've already heard the ultimate cover of that song.

I think it's just that certain songs are beyond covers. So great, they really shouldn't be touched.
I'm not the only one who thought that Newton's version was a travesty (the entire post agreed with me), so I'm guessing opinion will just have to be split! :)

Anonymous said...

stop talking like a wet lettuce,visit his site and argue with his real are obviously tone deaf or just too naive to understand how much talent newton faulkner has.and most bands do covers of somebody elses at some point,oasis/i am the walrus,muse/feeling good,no one ever told those bands not to cover anything did they??i think you should just deal with the fact you are going to hear more of newton in the future.. :)

Asp said...

I didn't expect such a reaction to this post - Newton's fans really are coming out of the woodwork!!

Still, I'll say it again - I don't not like Newton Faulkner (and that's a classic Lancastrian Litotes). It wasn't all that long ago I shortlisted him for TOTW, which must count for something. He's not my favourite artist, I wouldn't go to see him alone at a gig, and I wouldn't rush out to buy his album - but that's the case for thousands and thousands of artists.

He can write good tunes, and he can cover tunes well - I quite like his version of Teardrop.

It's just I loathed and despaired over his attempt at covering Queen. Everyone's allowed one bad song. It's just that, in my opinion - particularly as someone who's been brought up on Queen - 'bad' didn't really explain how much I hated it.