V Festival 2008

Saturday morning and the start of another festival weekend, is it really a year since the last one. I must say that the line ups didnít really fill me with enthusiasm and we had lots of rain that week plus more forecast, but still it should be a good weekend, hopefully As usual I met Maurice at his house and off we toddled to the Evelyn Wood for a couple of pints and to meet our dates for the day, Gill & Ro. As per the norm when you get to a certain age you donít have your bags searched at the gates which is handy, still no vodka for me this year after the state I got in last year. Gin was a much better option.

By the time we got in it was 2 oíclock and Shed Seven were on the 4 Music stage. The only problem was that the stages were in the same places but they had all been renamed so we were at the main stage watching nothing. We decided to join the queue for beer tokens, to be fair the queues for the tokens were not half as bad as last year but then you had to join the queue for beer. These were awful with waits of 30 to 45 minutes. Mr Branson you have to sort these out next year. Lucky I had my gin and Maurice had brandy and coke.

The first band we saw were the "Hold Steady," they probably are a very good band but they seemed a bit dwarfed by the occasion. This was on the 4 Music stage. After this we trecked over to the main stage to see the "Lost Prophets." They were ok but as quite often on this stage the sound is horrible, itís ok if you are at the front, but anything around the sides to the back sounds muffled.

When they finished the Virgin Union tent was the next port of call. This was a bit more like it, we saw Scottish popsters the "Dykeenies." I enjoyed this band, lots of energy and attitude, itís about this time that Baz turned up after watching the Arsenal thrash the Baggies 1-0. I had a ticket for this match and after hearing the match report I was quite pleased I went to V instead.

I am not sure what we done after this but I am pretty sure it involved alcohol because we didnít see another band for 2 hours. This was the magnificent Siouxsie under the tent of the Virgin Union. This was the first time I had seen her since the very early eighties. The first time I saw her with the banshees she didnít even have a record contract and the second time she was a support band for the Damned. Itís amazing to see a lady her age in such good shape. She wore a skin tight suit and looked ever so fit. She was kicking so high and holding her leg up in a vertical position. Iím sure most girls 30 years younger couldnít do it now. A lot of her music was new stuff which is good but she played "Israel" which went down well and "Happy House" and "Hong Kong Garden" were superb. Iíve always liked Siouxsie and this gig only confirmed this.


YOU TUBE CLIP SIOUXSIE (holding leg in vertical position)

We then had a walk which I can only describe as a hike to the JJB tent to see the Pogues. This was undoubtedly the best arena to watch music as it was a large covered tent. It was massive, certainly bigger than a circus just a shame you had to walk so far. This was a great place to be, the Pogues sparkled with music that was infectious and had you itching to dance. All they are is just a good entertaining band who get your toes tapping. When they played the whole crowd erupted into dance, great memories.

We walked back to the main stage passing the 4 Music stage with the Prodigy in full swing. I was sorely tempted to stay and watch Braintrees finest but I really fancied to see headliners Muse. I always have liked Muse and bought their first album "Showbiz" when it first came out. Muse are the kind of band I enjoy listening to at home, a bit proggy. I wasnít sure what they would be like live, they didnít disappoint. The whole show was an aural, visual treat. The lazers were great and they had big dishes next the stage which were a light show and massive screens as well. I enjoyed them immensely and would certainly pay good money to see them play on their own. They finished with the great "Knights of Cydonia" The one thing that I will say about the younger fans is that they donít know how to get a band back for an encore. Once the band have finished thatís it.

Next day was the big one. The Stranglers, pity they had to come at the ridiculous time of 12.15. We didnít even go to the pub and rushed for the gates to find a massive queue (all Stranglers fans I assume). Itís amazing if you turn up 2 hours later you can just walk in. The upshot was that we missed the first quarter of an hour, which is quite a lot as they only had a half hour slot. As we arrived at the stage they were playing "all day and all of the night" this was followed by "Duchess" and then the classic "No more heroes." I thought Maurice was going to have a heart attack with the pogoing. They certainly are a good band who can hold there own with any of the new bands.


Luckily we were happy to stay at this stage, the Main stage, for about 5 hours. Next on were Squeeze who happily played through there extensive and fabulous back catalogue. We were treated to "Up the junction" "pulling mussels from a shell" and all the other great songs that they brought out. My brother Colin would have loved this if he were here. Just proves that the seventies were the greatest of years for music.

After the wonderful Squeeze were a lesson in why some new music is perhaps not quite so good, GIRLS ALOUD. To be fair they were not too bad and had lots of people up dancing and enjoying themselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJwxEZdm5s8 (squeeze up the junction)

The Feeling came to the stage after this. They are ok but I have seen them before and did not take a lot of notice really.

Next up was an act who I was looking forward to. Lenny Kravitz. I always liked Lenny and he did not disappoint. I think he thinks he is an old hippy with all of his spiel about love and peace and no war, but he can certainly get a crowd going and has written some good songs and also does great covers like "American woman" as well.


He finished with "are you going my way" superb.

Next was in my opinion one of the most overrated acts of all time, Amy Winehouse, I just donít get it. She is a jazz singer who doesnít even do that very well. I know she is not very well and most people were there out of morbid curiosity but if she canít perform she should just stay at home and sulk in bed and not on the stage. She has lots of fans who deserve more than seeing someone feeling sorry for themselves, going through the motions. The bright bit of the act was about 5 foot away from us some wags had a giant elastic band like a big catapult. With this they managed to launch balloons filled with water about 70 yards. These seemed to drop between the stage and the security. I reckon 10 foot nearer and they would have hit the stage. The sad thing about Amy is that she is going on a self destruction trip, which means that if she dies she will be talked about in the same breath as great singers like Sandy Denny and Janis Joplin. This in my own opinion she doesnít deserve.


Anyway this is the last of the main stage, we then upped sticks and made our way to the 4 Music stage. We got there just after the View had started. I think that they are a great live band and we actually got to the front where we stayed for the rest of the festival. There was lots of dancing youngsters having a great time but they donít seem to have the same energy as we had when we were younger. I can remember Dr Feelgood or punk gigs when the music started you didnít finish dancing or pogoing until it stopped. The best bit of the View was right at the end when a hole opened in the crowd. This was filled with young chaps who seemed intent in doing anyone who ventured into the area the greatest harm. It was all good natured but too much male testosterone for me. It was all voluntary but some of them kids were really getting hurt bad.



After this was the excellent Zutons with there anthemic songs. Good crowd pleasing rock songs with great hooks, Iíve still got "you will you wont, you do you donít" running through my head. They also have the best looking Sax player that I know.

Last but definitely not least was the Kaiser Chiefs. I love this band and didnít know what to expect at the front with such an energetic band. Not half as rough as I expected so I really enjoyed the experience. They went through all of the hits, still didnít remember that they had as many as that. The crowd went mad to "I predict a riot" and I also forgot what a good song "we are the angry mob" was. A fitting end to another good festival, especially as the expected rain held off right until the last couple of songs by the Kaisers.

Summing up the V festival is a good one, every year. Itís not got the same edge that the others seem to have and is just somewhere safe that if you wanted to you can just drop your kids off too and pick them up afterwards. I donít think I would like my teenage daughter going to Reading or Glastonbury, but V is fine. The downside is the queues for the beer tokens and then queuing for the actual beer. I have got my tickets for next year and I am hoping that The Who are headlining with the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Sex Pistols and Wilko Johnson Band supporting. Well you never know.