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Topic: Happiness Baby, you've got to be more discerning... I've never known what's good for me
10:16pm, Friday 22 Sep 2006
Song of the Day: Bloc Party - This Modern Love

Ahh the summer was good whilst it lasted..

For me, summer in England has several key elements: Magners Cider ads on telly, Pro Plus billboards on the tube, roast beef and horseradish salad at Marks, and a mad rush to buy tickets to every outdoor horse and pony show in town – my personal favourite being the season of the Festival.

This year was filled with a little sadness, festival wise. Due to needing to give the land a break and the cows a yob-free suntan the granddaddy of all festivals - Glastonbury, was not on this year. Instead, I spent my time at my local Finsbury Park festival (oh how we laughed as we dodged razor blades and bottles of piss), the Toast Australia festival, a day trip to the V Festival and a weekend at the Reading Rock Festival.

The Finsbury Park festival was actually not completely horrid. Situated about 50 steps from my house, it had the advantage of being within staggering distance of home. And I figured it would be small.

The Toast Festival was held over 2 beautiful days in Regent’s Park with one day devoted to Aussie food and music and the other day for New Zealand food and music. I went along to the Aussie day primarily because the website promised Villi’s pies (oh!!), kiwi singer Dave Dobbin and aussie legend Paul Kelly. Who could resist getting pissed on a hot day listening to Every Fucking City?

V Festival was interesting. My exposure of festivals had thus far had been camping for at least 3 nights, if not more. The V Festival had a day pass system and I gotta say, it felt a little like cheating. After lining up for what seemed an eternity we finally got in. Unfortunately for us, the first band we saw was Kula Shaker (wtf?!) who were far from ace. Still, it looked up from there because after that I checked out the Magic Numbers (predictably happy and semi-bland) and my all-round winner of the festival Bloc Party who were fucking AMAZING! I’d seen them live before but in a club.. out in the open field, with wacky backy smoke drifting over us and mad dancing to favourites ‘Helicopter’, ‘Banquet’ and ‘2 more years’ this was by far the most uplifting and excellent part of the day.

Shortly after a blinding set by Bloc Party a disappointing Keane were on. That’s harsh, but although I love Keane their second album is far too slow to be played at length at a festival. And they seemed slightly lackluster at times. As it turns out, Tom Chaplin would be apologizing in the papers a week later having packed himself off to rehab for a cocaine addiction (who knew?).

Did I mention how good Bloc Party were? Yes? Let me say it again. I danced. Flailing my arms and with little grace and it was unbelievable!

Beck was up next and I ain’t got much to say except I decided this was the best time to join the toilet queue. Boring.

Finally, what we were all waiting for – Radiohead!!

OK so I am not a *huge* fan. I like them, but I really got into the way the entire crowd appeared to show up and check their hearts at the door. They hardly even had to play – and Thom Yorke certainly didn’t have to sing – to get the reaction from the fans. Radiohead could do no wrong.

Songs of note for me were 2+2=5, The Bends, No Surprises, Street Spirit (Fade Out) and mass singalongs for Karma Police and a rare outing of Creep. I didn’t know any of the other songs played (23 in all) but I could definitely appreciate the talent and admiration Radiohead hold. Well done, boys.

Highlights of this festival: Radiohead, Bloc Party

This year was my first visit to the Reading Rock festival and with only Glastonbury to compare to, I expected it to be inferior. As it turns out it was roundabout the same, once you consider the muck, the toilets (the horror!) and the crowds. The spiritual element was missing of course.. as were the hash cake sellers which meant spending afternoons relatively sober until fate intervened in the shape of random flapjacks.

We got there on Friday with Kathryn’s tent to set up first.. which we did. Three times. Still, makes it easier setting ours up as its exactly the same model. I headed over to the main stage to catch Panic! At The Disco who were damn cool. Unfortunately about 30 seconds into their first song the singer got bottled which seemed to emphasise the difference between Glasto and Reading for me. They did a passing cover of Radiohead’s Karma Police and a fabulous version of their own I Write Sins Not Tragedies. The emo’s went off.. I just got sunburnt :) Although I like them, they seem to be a bit of a one trick pony in the tunes department.. could Panic! be the next Bravery, I wonder?

Next up were the Subways which were frankly, a disappointment. I like several of their songs (ok, 2) and I thought they would be in the same vein. I was wrong. Exited stage left to…

The NME/Radio 1 Stage in time for Australia’s very own Vines. Holy Christ what a gig! For those who don’t know the group gave up touring following singer Craig Nicholls’ documented battle with Asperger’s Syndrome. This was their first gig in a few years and the fans were out in force.

We dragged Kath along who was all suited and (steel cap) booted to spend our time in the mosh pit. In this case, my height definitely works against me.. flying elbows are scary. The trick is to time the bounces with the elbows so you’re too high for impact.

Anyway, the set started off quite calmly.. there was the usual slam dancing you get from over enthusiastic fans during the first song, this usually dies off after the 2nd or 3rd track. Somebody forgot to tell these guys as it just seemed to get even more and more out of control. By the time they played Get Free I feared for my life (not joking) but there was no way I was leaving. At that moment it felt fucking fantastic to be alive. The crowd got violent, Kathryn got sucked in to the middle of the mosh, I was torn away from Stuart and the crowd kept surging forward. The band played a violent, fast set and all too soon it was over. Far and above the best Friday band I saw.

Walked back to the main stage, taking in a little of Bodycount ft Ice T. I hate that music at the best of times, but I couldn’t help but smirk at Ice T doing rap when his usual gig these days is an actor on the fabulous tv show Law & Order: SVU.

Caught the last of the Kaiser Chiefs getting no love on the main stage. It started to rain and was a bit of a fizzle, to be honest. Ricky Wilson tried his best to rile up the crowd but to be honest, they were quite rubbish. The alcohol started to wear off.. even Stuart started to get belligerent at one point yelling “Your fans are all shit!” and “Play the hits!” from the back. Afraid that a fight would break out I dragged him off to get some frankly disgusting “food” at one of the vans and watch Franz Ferdinand from the sidelines. I dunno, I think I’m Franz’d out. What a scenester.

Hmm.. let me post about the rest of it in another post. This one is long enough.

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