This will be, to borrow turn a football phrase in this World Cup summer, A Review of Two Halves. The Bands vs The Day. The former were sensational whereas the latter threatened to undermine the whole thing. To begin with the positives, of which there were plenty, each artist brought something to the party. The Hives were frenetic and set the standard for the rest of the day. Pelle Almqvist feeling so confident as to throw out some choice remarks on Brexit. Being able to rattle off a performance of such intensity while reading political persuasions of your audience is seriously impressive. Regrettably, Danny Dyer was not to be seen on backing vocals. A blistering one-two of Hate to Say I Told You So and Tick Tick Boom was another highlight.
Photo credit: Michelle Roberts
Iggy Pop proved emphatically that he still had “it”, as if “it” was ever in any doubt. There are few who can match Iggy for longevity, both in the quality of his vocals and the enduring impressiveness of his stage presence. There was even time for a cover of the Jean Genie before he gracefully bowed out. It was difficult to shake the impression that this would be the final time many of the crowd would see the great man perform, however eternal he may appear.
Photo Credit: Michelle Roberts
The Queens of the Stone Age were, as you’d expect, fantastic. Do It Again had the crowd onside from the get-go. What followed was a thrilling drive through their back catalogue, without leaning too heavily on any particular album. Josh Homme’s ability to reinvent the band time and time again is phenomenal. Song for the Deaf and Song for the Dead brought the curtain down on another sensational performance from California’s finest.
Photo credit: Sam McMahon
There’s been a noticeable shift away from conventional large-scale music festivals; car parks have replaced campsites, four-day jaunts in farmers’ fields have turned to one day extravaganzas set within city skylines and T in the Park and V Festival were two high profile casualties of this new phenomena. Finsbury Park, TRNSMT and Citadel were notable beneficiaries on the indie circuit. Elsewhere, Lovebox, Field Day and Sunfall led the way for electronic music. It’s easy to see why this new format suits the artists. Having spent much of their career being booked to play within certain parameters, it must be rewarding to be offered the chance to curate their own stage and bring their friends along. It pays off for the promoter too; Iggy Pop and Run The Jewels being unconventional support acts for QOTSA, which may not have been possible were the line-up not under the sole jurisdiction of the band themselves. Everybody wins, if you do the basics right.
If people’s tastes have shifted then it’s on the organisers to serve something capable of satisfying the public’s newly refined palate. While these smaller scale events cater to a more niche crowd, those hungry for the bigger festival experiences are still in attendance, making for some sizable crowds and extremely long queues. Although the music outweighed the time spent waiting for bars, water and toilets, the ironing out of these finer logistics could have made for a much more enjoyable experience. Once they are, then hopefully Queens of the Stone Age and all their friends will have a festival living up to their own high standards.
Main image courtesy of Michelle Roberts.
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