V Festival 2010 – Hylands Park
aaamusic | On 30, Aug 2010
This years’ VFestival has an interesting line up, with some of the bands having played there before in the past years (The Prodigy, Godlfrapp, Kasabian, Paul Weller) and some promoted to headliners (Kasabian). Surprise acts were, without doubt, Peter Andre and Mika (but due to much better acts performing at other stages, unfortunately we missed them).
First day unfortunately hasn’t been a full on one, with time wasted driving up there and a much deserved drink in the VIP area (and no, we didn’t see Drew Barrymore), therefore our day started at the main stage with Editors, who wore their impeccable all black suits. It is a shame the sound was crap due to the wind, as the set delivered was brilliant, spanning from In This Light and On This Evening to Munich, including Bones, Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors and The Racing Rats. Watching Tom on stage is always a pleasure, as he’s not only a talented singer with a warm, powerful voice, but also an incredible musician who enjoys sitting at the piano as well as playing his guitar. Definitely an incredible starter of the day, followed by a great performance by the Modfather Paul Weller, who returns once again to Vfestival.
Fresh of his first Mercury Prize nomination, Weller entertained the audience with a career spanning hit setlist, including tracks from Wake Up The Nation. The much beloved Godlike genius drove everyone mad, uniting generations in a 45 minute long sing along to classics such as Moonshine, Town Called Malice, Art School and an incredible version of You Do Something To Me, featuring Weller at piano duties. Breaking the smoking ban, Weller setlist also included Wake Up The Nation, Porcelain Gods, No Tears To Cry, Come On/Let’s Go among the others. Interesting, comments from the audience around me also included youngsten wondering how the hell does he manage to look so good at his age. I felt like answering “Because he’s THE Modfather, kid.”
We then moved to the Channel 4 stage to catch a bit of Scouting For Girls madness: the stage was packed with screaming fans, jumping around and singing out loud. I have to say I didn’t expect such a crowd for them. Not a massive fan but after seeing them live I understand the appeal they have, plus they’re quite good on stage too.
Next up on this stage were White Lies, with their dark synth and guitar sound. The band played my personal favourite To Lose My Life – with everyone singing along to the chorus – as well as Death, E.S.T., Unfinished Business and A Place To Hide, as well as showcasing new songs Holy Ghost and Is Love, which boosted up my expectation for the new album, can’t wait!
Then is time of Florence + The Machine. Now I have a love-hate relationship with her. I like the album, but she really gets on my nerves like few others do. How can she pretend that we do not see that she clearly is “inspired” (I guess copy is a more appropriate word for this) the divine Kate Bush? I mean, does she think that we are all stupid? Fair enough she loves her, we all do, but I don’t wake up in the morning and deny that I am inspired by her when every fucking move has been done some odd 30 years ago by the divine creature. But then again, I guess people buy that bullshit. Anyway, back to her set. She does have a great voice, I got to give her that and be objective. She is good and the set was pretty cool, with great atmosphere, with everyone singing and cheering at every Kate Bush move (ops! Florence! Easy to confuse when she also goes barefoot on stage). The setlist included Drumming Song, Howl and My Boy Builds Coffins. We then saw her “skills” at the keyboard (if you can call doing one note with one finger skills) in an extended version of Kiss With A Fist and then dedicate You’ve Got The Love (with the cheesy “Vfestival you’ve got the love”) to Dizzee Rascal. Needless to say the crowd went ballistic for the latter, Dog Days Are Over and Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up). All in all a very good performance.
Now it’s time to head back to the main stage for Kings Of Leon. True, they played everywhere in the UK, perhaps a bit too much and we start now to feel a bit intoxicated by they overwhelming presence, yet is like heroin, once you’re hooked up on it it’s tough to give up. And so I didn’t and went to see them once again, conscious that hopefully (for them) they will have a break from touring and some time will pass before they hit back our island for the promotion tour of the awaited new album Come Around Sundown. The set started with Closer, a black and white projection on the screens and Matthew doing a Jimi Hendrix and playing with his teeth. No time for introduction as I guess everyone knows who they are by now and Crawl kicked in, followed by My Party. Everyone nods and cheers at the songs, singing along at the choruses. The amount of people watching them is impressive, neverending. It must be quite scary from up the stage.
Eventually Caleb introduced the band with a simple “We’re Kings of Leon” the riff of Molly’s Chamber starts, driving everyone (myself included) insane. Old fans were pleased as they can prove to those labelled as the “Sex on Fire fans” who are the real followers. The atmosphere felt great, much better than the Hyde Park show.
Caleb got a bit more talkative and thanked the fans for watching them, stating that he knows they could be watching someone else and that means the world to them. Being down to earth, mixed with the beauty of the songs, is just one of the reasons why everyone fell in love with these guys. Time now for a taste of the new album with the beautiful, back to the roots, Mary. By the amount of cheering received and the satisfied expressions in their faces, it seems that the new album will be another great success. Next up is Fans, with the powerful guitar riffs and the choruses, prepares ground for some proper dancing, to then go back to basic with Milk and Four Kicks which, to be fair, were mainly sung by those old fans. I even heard the guy next to me asking her friend whether that was another new one. The Bucket lived up the crowd again, who broadly recognised this one and joined the old hard core followers for the sing along.
Another new track – Radioactive – is introduced and again more positive feedback. The new album seem to sound more raw and bluesy, a u-turn after the more mainstream (yet beautiful) Only By The Night. Then Be Somebody and Notion followed up, setting ground for the biggest and louder sing along I heard in my all life (Live At Wembley – Queen DVD aside) with Sex On Fire. It felt as if all voices together could lift you up to the sky. Fascinating and beautiful. It must feel pretty weird to hear some 40.000 odd people screaming the chorus of one of the songs you penned back at you at a festival.
I felt drained after experiencing this but On Call got my energy back as if I just had an overdose of Redbull, followed by what is set to be my favourite tack from the new album – Southbound (gosh I am so excited by the new record I can hardly wait!) and then the masterpieces Trani and Knocked Up.
A brief break before the encore, which started off with Manhattan and some more nice thank you words from the ever charming Caleb melt the hearts of the ladies in the audience, before having another shot of superpower sing along with Use Somebody and closing with the beautiful Black Thumbnail and fireworks. Not easy to describe the gig in few words, these guys have it all: beauty, talent, hard work and awareness that in the end it’s all thank you to their fans if they are what they are now, and keep thanking them for it. Absolutely amazing and definitely my highlight of the weekend.
On Sunday the weather was very unsettled, suddenly it went from sunny and warm to heavy rain. There were more people than Saturday, it was a coloured parade of fancy dresses, you could find Kiss’ look – alike or the whole Flinstones family. Robocop welcomed us in the guest area, it was hilarious and a bit scaring as well. We decided to run away to see the first act of the day. We found the rapper Professor Green on 4Music Stage, he warmed-up the audience with the hit I need you tonight, he made people jump and dance thanks to the timeless guitar riff taken from INXS. He was supported by other two rappers and an amazing vocalist who sang Lily Allen’s part in Just to be good to Green. Enriched with a drum’n’bass backdrop the tune drove the audience crazy.
After him we reached the V Stage and Pixie Lott was pleasing the audience with her jaunty pop. She has got a delightful voice and her music is the right one to listen to on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I appreciated when she covered Lionel Richie’s “Easy” during her set, we all were easy like a Sunday morning indeed.
In the meanwhile Peter Andre were setting people on fire in the Nissan Juke Arena, Mysterious girl was sung along by thousand people who seemed they were waiting for nothing else. Its reggae rhythm carried away the audience, his performance is very involving, he incited them to raise the hands and sing with him. To note that he’s helped by four choristers-dancers that moved the scene and contributed to create a chilled atmosphere.
The afternoon went on, loads of teenagers adored Plan B performance, the 4Music stage area was completely filled with screaming girls that sang along all their tunes, I knew that they are going great, but I was a bit surprised.
Their line-up is impressive, a nine-piece band of very good musicians dressed like 50’s men, white shirt, tie and waistcoat, they rocked on Stay too long, singer’s vocals are thin and precise he’s got charisma indeed and the audience appreciate their music, which mixes 60’s rock with soul.
She said has reached the top of the charts in whole Europe and people loved this tune singing along incited by the singer.
The atmosphere turned from pop to ska when the awesome Madness got hold the stage. The set itself saw the band run through a host of hits from their three decade back catalogue including One step beyond, Our House, House Of Fun, Baggy Trousers and It Must Be Love. People loved them, they jumped and sang-along with enthusiasm,
their performance was wonderful, years of experience made them very close to each other as well as great musicians.
Their songs are well known by teenagers as well as adults belonging to the English musical heritage and it’s great to see that they perform live so well setting thousands of people on fire.
They also constantly joked about floating condoms they spotted in the crowd before wrapping up their set with Nightboat To Cairo‘.
They wanted to recreate a familiar atmosphere like the crowd was guest in their own home, they offered wine to the front row and invite people to go on stage at the end of their set. It was amazing to see the band playing with dozen people dancing and jumping with them.
After Madness it was time for Paolo Nutini. It was the fourth time I saw him this year and I never get tired of his songs, even because this guy has got a great power. He’s certainly a very good singer, composer and live performer, and it’s pretty unusal for a 23-year-old boy. His setlist changed a bit compared to the previous one and he kicked off with Alloway grove, a naughty country song from the first album, it’s like he wants to scream a repressed energy and songs explodes supported by a strong music backdrop, The Vipers are an amazing band, the performance wouldn’t be the same without them. He alternated soft tunes like High hopes and Growing up beside you and stirring songs like Pencil full of lead and New shoes, going easily from the first to the second album.
His cover of Down in Mexico is very remarkable, sung with his beautiful rough voice, closed eyes and the usual half-drunk, half-concentrated expression.
Candy and Coming up easy were very welcomed by the audience that danced and sang along. The set was closed with Jenny don’t be hasty, the very first Paolo’s song, introduced by a little piece of Take me out by Franz Ferdinand, a very bright idea and another demonstration of Paolo’s love for good music.
Singer Alison Goldfrapp performed in front of a smaller crowd wearing an amazing black dress which kept floating and inflating thanks to the air fan in front of her. The stage scenario was amazing in itself, which helped creating a beautiful and surreal atmosphere with the music lovers who preferred her to Calvin Harris. The band played tracks from their 5th studio album Head First, including Believer, Alive and Dreaming alongside Supernature singles Ooh La La’ and Ride A White Horse‘.
Back to the main stage The Kooks got ready to entertain the crowd. Pritchard played an acoustic song, Petunia, for Haddon in the middle of the band’s set, while the rest of his band left the stage.
The band, who were playing with new drummer Chris Prendergast, used their set to air material for their forthcoming third album, and included the new track Strange One as well as old songs Naïve, entirely sung-along by the audience, Shine on win it with hits easy-going refrain,Eddie’s Gun made them dance with its pop-punk rhythm and Ooh La. Their live performance is quite good, their sound is clear and they are competent musicians, I loved the guitar riffs even if Harris needs to learn to play keyboards a bit better, while his bandmate Prithcard is a good pianist, showing his ability on the brand new song Saboteur. I liked it, it keeps the band’s style but in a more mature way, combining their inspirations in a very original way.
Faithless performed on the V Stage earlier in the evening, playing an hour-long set that spanned tracks from across their career.
Opening with Happy, the band were joined by a plethora of guest singers throughout their set, including Harry Collier who sang on Feel Me.
During Insomnia, singer Maxi Jazz urged the crowd to be as loud as possible, declaring: “I wanna make some noise now”, while he also paid tribute to the headline act Kasabian before playing final track We Come 1.
The electro-dance band warmed up the audience that danced, moshed and threw balls and bottles, it was a good choice to charge them up before the last act of the night.
The set design was remarkable as well, they used a led projecting virtual content across the stage.
Performing on the 4Music Stage, Doves played their “last festival for quite some time”. The group played a career-spanning set, though midway Jimi Goodwin was antagonised by a bottle of shaving foam the crowd apparently directed at him. “Real classy shit, yeah?” he angrily asked part of the audience, though it was unclear what had upset him. “You think you’re shitting me? I’m going to have to come out there and kick the shit out of you, and I mean it, yeah!” It has to be said that their slot probably didn’t quite fit the Channel 4 stage, as they played before The Prodigy and the Essex crowd is known for their love of throwing crap on stage. Despite the incident, Doves managed to win the crowd over by playing some of their hits, including Snowden, Push Me On, Winter Hill, Jetstream and There Goes The Fear, with Space Face closing a brilliant performance delivered by them. It’s a shame it was ruined by some idiots.
The day was going to end and I had to choose the last act of the night. Kasabian played on the V Stage, at the same time The Prodigy were at the 4Music Stage, Pet Shop Boys at the Nissan Juke Arena and Air were going to perform at the Virgin Media Union, it was a hard choice indeed, and I hope that stage times will be better arranged next year.
Anyway I was looking forward to Kasabian, they promised to rave the V Festival, and it was their last gig of the West Ryder tour, so I couldn’t miss it.
And they didn’t disappoint my expectations. The V stage area was full of people waiting for them, some had flags or scarves of Leicester FC, there was a lot of energy in the air.
When lights were turned off people went into frenzy. Introduced by the “A clockwork orange” theme, Kasabian got hold the stage kicking off with Shoot the runner. Tom Meighan, dressed with a sparkling jeans jacket and sunglasses, went hard at singing, he was penetrated with an incredible energy and incited people to sing-along and raise their hands.
The band went on with the stadium anthem Underdog ,it aroused the people which sang-along and moshed all the time. Their setlist was enriched by some tributes melted into their songs, in fact Sergio Pizzorno included lyrics from The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ in Processed Beats, while Salt N Pepa‘s ‘Push It’ augmented Julie And The Mothman, in my opinion one of the best live tunes. Club foot has become a classic and the audience showed their appreciation screaming and jumping like they were crazy, or better, lunatics into the asylum.
Disco classic ‘I Feel Love’ was threaded into Stuntman, closing the first part of their set.
Leaving the stage after the latter, the band returned to kick off their encore with Fire, as Meighan declared: “This is why you came!”
Following Vlad The Impaler, the band rounded off the show with their traditional set closer LSF.
“Chelmsford, I don’t know what to say,” Tom told the crowd. “We started this band in 1997 when we were babies, look at us now and it’s all thanks to you!”.
And thanks to Kasabian I think this edition of the V Festival will be remembered for a very long time.
Authors: Alessia Matteoli, Roberta Capuano
Photos: Courtesy of Cake Media