Exhilarated by the Ordinary Boys, we arrived at the JJB Arena in time to capture Natasha Bedingfield (this year’s bubblegum pop) on the camera phone, but thankfully not in time to hear any of her set. The arena is always a good place to hang out though, and while we’d seen them two years before and they ain’t changed much, Goldfrapp were great value in a retro sort of way. Katharine was reminded of the Osmonds’ Crazy Horses only for these crazy dancing horses to take the stage. Then there was that Dizzee Rascal set I’ve already mentioned.
So last year were Scissor Sisters. Whereas in 2004 they overflowed what was the NME stage, with nothing new to report, this set was a little stale and the main stage felt too comfortable. This made slipping off for the end of Ian Brown in the JJB Arena quite magical. We could have snuck in, but instead spied his performance from just outside the tent where the sound and view of the stage were near perfect. Here we heard a series of Stone Roses classics that will never go stale and went home humming: ‘I don’t have to sell my soul / He’s already in me’.
This year’s second – now Channel 4 – stage heroes were undoubtedly the Kaiser Chiefs. No other band can create so much excitement at the moment. This time there was no room for skanking, the retro dance of choice being an energetic pogo and I predict a riot produced suitably ironic throwing of beer cans and good humoured pushing and shoving. And whereas last year V was a bit all over the place, not seeming to know who should be on which stage, having The Bravery effectively support them could not have worked better, thanks to a similarly aggressive old style punk performance complete with crowd surfing and catching ones spit in ones mouth after gobbing high.
All this as part of a day that began with our just missing the ever so soft and gentle Magic Numbers, but in time for little KT Tunstall, who likes to jump around and has a smoky sexiness. I enjoyed jigging about with her, but in the end she’s still a country singer and I’ll never be into that.
I don’t remember much about The Zutons except that they brought out the Scousers in the crowd. Less forgettable were Oasis, whose taking the stage feels like a real event. It’s the extreme confidence – not arrogance – and posturing that does it. Everything about them is commanding and they control the audience without conceding anything to it. And when they’d finished it was the turn of Texas to close the JJB Arena. I remember Sharleen leaving the stage in tears after a disastrous set supporting Bowie at Cardiff Arms Park in 1987. This time they were okay.