06.15.2008 - 2008-06-15 NEWPORT (IOW): Isle of Wight Festival / Isle Of Wight Festival, Seaclose Park, Newport...
Isle Of Wight Festival, Seaclose Park, Newport...
The Police close the Isle of Wight festival with 'Roxanne' and 'Every Breath You Take', songs about prostitution and stalking. The Sex Pistols and Stooges add sparks. But too many heavy-selling, lightweight acts mar a lazily amiable weekend.
Kate Nash's low-fi rambles are bolstered by piano assaults, smeared lyrics and briskly unstable rhythms, her gauche promise unspoilt by early success. The Enemy offer small-town comfort, mostly borrowed from The Jam. Newton Faulkner's best-selling busking is modest in every sense, the highlight a solo 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. Scouting for Girls enter to Elvis's 'The Wonder of You' and exit with 'Elvis isn't Dead', but otherwise leave the King's memory undisturbed.
Starsailor ruefully introduce 'All the Plans We Make' as "our future No 1", but their mix of delicate depression and swagger has aged well. The Zutons' Dave McCabe, subsidised by Amy Winehouse's version of 'Valerie', now looks like the Seventies LA rock star of his dreams. Ian Brown just looks surly. Apparently pulled off stage the night before, he accuses the crowd of being "jaded" but plays a muffled, distracted set.
Iggy Pop's Stooges won't accept such defeats. '1969' paints the year Dylan played this festival as "filthy", as Iggy lolls, topless, on the piano like an obscene lounge singer. Still the "forgotten boy" of 'Search and Destroy' aged 61, he emits adolescent shrieks and grunts.
The Sex Pistols headline Saturday with Johnny Rotten in striped pyjamas. 'Belsen is a Gas' has its outrage updated as "Baghdad Was a Blast", Rotten offering "Allah be praised" and "Baghdad be razed" as singalongs peter out, appalled. Railing against "poncey homo bands" and peddling an archaic patriotism, his views don't bear close examination. But his ripe, hectoring voice makes you listen.
Sunday's crowd greet second headliners The Kooks' amiable hits so fondly you'd think they were The Police. When drummer Stewart Copeland bangs a gong to introduce the real thing, needless solos stretch pop wonders, while a smiling Sting no longer convinces as the king of pain. But their simplest standard, 'Message in a Bottle', triggers relieved cheers. The lush craft of 'Wrapped Around Your Finger' can only be admired. And even seeing such masterworks half-botched provides a memorable end.
© The Independent by Nick Hasted