The Long Blondes - Saw a bit of King Blues to start off the morning but first proper set I got to was the Long Blondes. Can't quite remember the order but I think they opened with Lust in the Movies which was good. Not a great response from the crowd although there were pockets of enthusiasm here and there. Highlights of the set were Once and Never Again, Giddy Stratospheres, Weekend Without Make Up and Separated by Motorways which was a fantastic end. Overall, very stylish and entertaining and one of the highlights of the weekend.
Guillemots - Probably the most atmospheric band of the weekend (apart from Muse but it seems unfair to compare them right now as Muse were on a completely different level from everyone else). Played Through The Windowpane which was great to hear live because of the infamous jjjjjgggggddddddrrrrrr keyboard effect and Fyfe Dangerfield's voice is just brilliant. Who The Left Lights Off, Baby? and Made Up Love Song #43 were very happy and nice and the kind of songs you want to hear at festivals but my favourite Guillemots song, Trains to Brazil, was the most rousing and exciting in the moment. They were very..erm....brave to end with the whole eleven minutes of Sao Paulo and you could kinda see parts of the crowd looking for the exit after about seven minutes but it was then that Fyfe broke into "Thrown across water! Thrown across water like a stone!" and everything came together again. To play the whole of it was very impressive and a decision that paid off in the end. Another great perfomance.
Belle & Sebastian - Again, it's hard to completely enjoy a band when there are only a few people around you who seem to know the songs. However, enjoy this I did anyway. Didn't entirely recognise the first song straight away and even then thought it was an odd choice until "Le pastieeeeeee......de la bourgeoisie!" kicked in and then it occurred to me how brilliant and inspired the decision was. About 70% of the crowd from Fall Out Boy had left so it was kind of 'intimate' down at the front although also a bit empty-ish but they handled the crowd really well. Stuart informed us that they would be the "first band today to not call you all mothercukers" which was nice of him and he got down into the crowd and got someone to put mascara on him whilst he sang Lord Anthony which was a great touch. The songs they performed from The Life Pursuit were good and enjoyable put the parts of the set which really stood out were The Boy With the Arab Strap (which is just the summery festival song you can imagine it being), I'm a Cuckoo (which will always be one of their greatest songs) and Jonathan David which the crowd seemed to enjoy as they got a girl out of the front row and Stuart and Stevie acted out the whole love triangle story on stage (not in too much detail, mainly just dancing). They should play more festivals because they are just the best festival kind of band and it should be mandatory to know all the words to their songs.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Karen O is, for some reason, the only member of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs people seem to recognise. Nick Zinner (possibly the coolest and best guitarist in any band anywhere at the moment except maybe Matt Bellamy judging by their performance on Sunday) and Brian Chase (possibly the coolest and best drummer in any band anywhere at the moment except maybe the bloke from Muse judging by their performance on Sunday) were onstage setting up their gear for about ten minutes without so much as a drunk bloke cheering. But, having said that, maybe the reason Karen O gets noticed is because of her choice of clothing which is completely bizarre. All kinds of colours and sparkly things seemed to be flying about the place. On the music, they went through a selection of the better songs from Show Your Bones (apart from Mysteries and Warrior) and the best songs from Fever To Tell (apart from Pin). They did a kind of gentler, warm feeling version of Maps wich was nice enough for the occasion but anyone owning a copy of 'Fever To Tell' will know that listening to 'Maps' on full volume and letting it run through into Y Control is one of the most head fucking, mind blowing, brain screwing moments comitted to CD and it was lacking from their set. They were interesting, enjoyable and put on a good performance but not as great as they should've been.
Bedouin Soundclash - Happy, calm, cheery ska to finish an evening in style? Yes please. Not very familiar with the band before going to see them so I was a bit wary of what it might be like but it was a really good way to finish the evening. The singer's voice was a bit fucked but he struggled on through and the they finished with When the Night Feels My Song which was great because the whole crowd joined in and it was very impressive.
Giant Drag - "Hey you guys, we're gonna start with a song called 'You Fuck Like My Dad'!" Is there any better way to open a set? And a great set it was with the 'big' songs from 'Hearts & Unicorns' and 'Tired Yet?' from the EP. Annie spent a lot of time talking with crowd and suggesting how it was probably safer to pee in someone's tent then setting it on fire and rolling it down a hill because "Sure they won't like it but at least they won't have to go to hospital!" Micah continues to play keyboard and drums throughout the set which is a sight to be considered impressive in the least. 'This Isn't It' and their cover of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game' stood out as the crowd favourites and 'Wicked Game' even more so after the brilliant introduction Annie gave it with a story of how she wrote it for her first boyfriend and "the next time I saw him he was dancing on the beach with that whore." They ended with 'Kevin Is Gay' which was a good way to close and overall they put out a great, grungy performance.
The Cribs - The homecoming of the Kaiser Chiefs may well have been impressive for the crowd but not as impressive as The Cribs shifting the whole festival to Wakefield for 45 minutes. Opened with 'Mirror Kissers' (which was inspired after the previous day of Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy shite) and went through a fantastic set. The crowd went mad for 'Hey Scenesters!' and 'Martell' and they played a few good songs from their first album as well plus some new stuff. Really well balanced set, great crowd atmosphere (added to by it being fucking sunny at the time) and a fucking great laugh. Ended with the mass singalong of 'The Wromg Way To Be' with everyone donning a Yorkshire-ish accent "You know your scene has got a lot answer for, like trying to set us and Wakefield at war!" Good times.
The Futureheads - Not as manic and lively as I expected. Large parts of the crowd either weren't interested or didn't know the songs well enough but it was pretty weird to hear 'Decent Days And Nights' go down without a huge amount of movement from the crowd although 'Meantime' and 'Skip To The End' went down pretty well. 'Hounds Of Love' brought about the singalong that everyone knew was coming Dave Hyde put down a pretty manic performance with his drums which was even more notable because of his brown cardigan flying around all over the place. Maybe it's unfair to compare their live performance with the one I saw after the release of their first album but they have definitely calmed down a bit and got maturer. They're still capable of throwing out a manic three minutes of angular craziness but the other side of them has focused them on better and more controlled song writing and this works a lot better on CD than it does to a live crowd who aren't all your greatest fans. And they definitely should have finised with 'Piece Of Crap'.
The Spinto Band - I was really looking forward to this and I wasn't disappointed because The Spinto Band are the coolest new band. Opened with 'So Kind, Stacy' (I think) and went through all the songs from 'Nice And Nicely Done' apart from 'Direct To Helmet' (not that it was missing). There were some very enthusiastic members of the crowd (including myself) willing to go along with the crazy head bobbing dance and create some slightly syncopated hand clapping. Highlights of the set were 'Crack The Whip', 'Did I Tell You', 'Brown Boxes' and 'Oh Mandy'. There was even a packet of Party Rings thrown out into the crowd one by one (although I suspect this was because someone threw them at the bassist first). There were kazoos and an electric mandolin and the harmonies were top notch. Altogether, very, very cool.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Couldn't be bothered wandering around or sitting down for the whole two hours before the Arctic Monkeys started so thought I'd catch up with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah as I kinda know bits of their album and they ave the odd good tune. They put a pretty good show although I can see why some would say Alec Ounsworth's voice is piercing and really very irritating after a while. I can't really go into a huge amount of detail because I only know three songs properly but they were interesting and seemed to win over parts of the crowd. 'Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood' was a good climatic ending and 'In This Home On Ice' was impressive and slightly weird as everyone who knew it just hummed and groaned in that style that Alec Ounsworth seems to have but it was good nonetheless.
Arctic Monkeys - Now, so far I see I've been pretty positive about everything (don't worry, this won't be much different). The difference with this wasn't that they didn't put out a particularly good performance (because they did) or that I don't enjoy the songs as much (because I do) but that the whole of the crowd seemed to want to be involved and knew what was happening. I suppose this should've been obvious but it wasn't until they started and the crowd exploded with "Stop making the eyes at me and I'll stop making the eyes at you!" I also realised how much variety they have whilst still keeping their own style in each of their songs. 'View From The Afternoon', 'Fake Tales Of San Francisco' and 'Dancing Shoes' all inspire a frenzied type of fast, angular dancing in the crowd, 'You Probably Couldn't See For The Lights But You Were Looking Straight At Me' calms everyone down and lets them think for a few minutes, 'From The Ritz To The Rubble', 'Scummy' and 'Still You Take Home' provide riotous jumping up and down as fast as possible at the time and they all provide mass singalongs. It was fantastic to hear 'Bigger Boys & Stolen Sweethearts' for the nostalgic few of us in the crowd who remember the good old days and although we don't to return there entirely (they have matured so much since then in a way that is easier to handle then The Futureheads changes in style), it is nice to be reminded of it once in a while, especially with lyrics that are arguably amongst Alex Turner's wittiest and funniest ("They've got engaged, no intention of a wedding, he's pinched your bird, and he'd probably kick yer 'ed in.") 'A Certain Romance' rounds everything off nicely and makes everyone feel together and in exactly the right place at the right time.
Muse - This may or may not have been because they were about to witness something spectacular and unbelievably mind blowing. Again, this was another type of excellent performance because everything was in the atmosphere. The lights and stage set up (including nine long plastic tubes and lots of TV screens) were marvellous and the tension was palpable. Every song was weird, dramatic, gigantic and hinted that the apocalypse was just around the corner (things that used to make me hate Muse but in this context it suddenly seemed like there was no other way to carry on). They opened with 'Knights of Cydonia' which was the epitome of huge and apocalyptic (especially as the knights supposedly represent the four horsemen of the apocalypse). Songs from all four albums were used in a varying set. Everything was hard to comprehend and all that you could do was move with the crowd and let it wash over with you. Matt Bellamy's voice goes up and won and everywhere and I doubt I was the only one left with a sore throat after 'New Born' and 'Plug In Baby'. 'Feeling Good' pretty much summed a lot of it up as you can imagine and it was also at this point that rain had started to bucket it down and there was thunder and lightning here and there. It was the wettest I have ever been and it went well with one of the best live perfomances I have ever seen and easily the best in terms of the atmosphere. 'Time Is Running Out' was hugely popular and very much in the same vein as everything I've described so far and 'Bliss' was weird and smacking of the occult all over. For a set where I only recognised about seven or eight of the songs in an hour and half I was amazed by how I was kept interested all the way through. The end was as climactic as you could expect with sound going everywhere and Matt Bellamy's silhouette huddled in a corner having a right go at his guitar. It was truly magnificent. Maybe I've decribed this completely wrong, but if you were there then you won't need to read this to know what I mean.
Other Moments - Saw Eagles of Death Metal doing 'I Want You So Hard' at just the right moment, that was....interesting. The small section of the Wolfmother set (including 'Dimension', 'Woman' and 'Apple Tree') was impressive and they seemed like a good live band. I only caught the very end of The Streets but 'Fit But You Know It' was absolutely superb, that bloke Skinner can really work a crowd.
Overall, a very good weekend. See you there next year!