Guess what band I chose to end the festival watching? Foo Fighters? Black Keys? Justice? Two Door Cinema Club? Less Than Jake? Tall Ships? You could be forgiven after yesterday’s post but it was none of these (as you might have figured anyway, Dear Reader), I chose an act who were performing acoustically interspersed with a cappella tunes rather than Rock and I couldn’t have chosen better. The Futureheads, who came to the public’s consciousness at the same time as Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs, had been better known for their cover version of the classic “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush (a brave song to cover, a bit like “Bohemian Rhapsody”). The Sunderland boys took a big risk with their fifth studio album, Rant, which consisted of sea shanties, old folk songs, as well as covers of moderns songs performed either with acoustic instruments such as guitars, banjos and ukuleles or as a vocal quartet. By the size of the crowd, their risk was well received as, despite the Foo Fighters and Two Door Cinema Club (the lead singer of the later performed at the Olympic Opening Ceremony) being on at the same time, the tent was completely full. I’m not sure whether I drew breath through the whole of their performance, so mesmerised was I with their songs, and once their spell had been broken when the band finished and left the stage I continued to grin from the pure pleasure their singing had imparted. We walked straight to the exit, not looking back once, and trying to make sure no other songs were heard to sully our ears – still grinning all the time.
Each year, when the light have gone out, the people left and the only noise is of the people clearing up the site, we ask ourselves whether this was the last year or whether we want to do it all again. For me, there’s always one or two acts that immediately tip the balance in favour of yes, sometimes this band is early on, sometimes it’s the very last band – this year there have been a few that have reminded me why we spent three days standing (sometimes sitting) in a field, being charged extortionate amounts for beer, and our eardrums assaulted by bands trying to out compete each other in the volume states; from the dapper clothes and high octane energy levels of The Hives, past the malevolent undercurrents of the Mark Lanegan Band, on to the star spangled, red white and Blues of the Eagles of Death Metal, a left at the stage destruction of the Cribs, and settling down for a milky drink with the Futureheads – it’s these moments that keeps me going year after year, decade after decade!
*A Welsh band who surfaced during the Brit Pop era, along with Manic Street Preachers and Catatonia – all who I’ve seen at the Festival over the years.