V Festival 2012
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Another year, another line up. Looking at what was to come, I can’t say I was all that thrilled apart from the newly reformed Stone Roses. Still it’s always a nice way to spend a weekend, no work, no worries, just a few beers with some really good mates.

The Saturday as usual we stayed in the Sir Evelyn Wood for too long, but that’s part of the weekend. To be fair we just plotted up at the main stage and didn’t make much of an effort to see too may bands and I can’t recall the line up. I remember James Morrison and Keane, who actually were not too bad, Example were also on, but I must have been chatting all through there set and can’t remember a thing about them, it was all about the Roses for me. Noel Gallaghers High Flying Birds played before them. As you would expect a competent performance. Very slick and professional and quite apt really, as he used to be a roadie for the Stone Roses.

As the Roses came on you could feel the anticipation building, I could anyway, probably one too many smuggled in Gin and Tonics. I have always wanted to see this group and have followed them since the first time I heard Fools Gold on the Annie Nightingales request show. I could never see them though, as this was when my kids were young and you never seemed to have the time then. Still it is different now. When an iconic band like this reform, you always worry that they will let themselves down, didn’t have to worry though, they played a blistering set, it’s just such a shame that they had the disputes with their record label and manager which meant they released no music for 6 years, such a waste. Hopefully they will get back in the studio, even then though you wonder whether they will be the same. I can remember when their second album came out “Second Coming” it got slated. I actually thought it was quite good. Not sure of the playlist as I was a bit pissed but Fools Gold and I wanna be adored were superb. I wonder if this was the first time this has happened at V before, but I can’t remember a person in 2 different headlining bands on consecutive years. If it hasn’t, it has now, as Mani played with Primal Scream last year. The other reason I was pleased was because there are about 10 bands or artist I wanted to see before I died and these were one of them. With tickets for Patti Smith next month, that only leaves 3.

Sunday, normal meet in the pub to be greeted with rain and a thunderstorm. Bloody BBC can’t predict anything right. The plan was to get in, in time to see Shed Seven on the Channel 4 stage. Not bad timing this time as we got there to see half of their set. Today was a lot better musically as every band got better. We stayed at the 4 stage to see the aforementioned Shed Seven, an older band who can still perform well, I enjoyed them a lot. After them came the latest darling of the Mod scene, one half of the Shadow Puppets, friend of the Gallaghers and dater of super models, Miles Kane. I have seen him before, he didn’t disappoint then and neither did he this time. A good set finishing with his best known song “Inhaler.” Another favourite band of mine followed him, The Enemy. A great band who really get the crowd going, about as near to punk as you can get in today’s day and age.

I thought Miles Kane would be my pick of the day, but I was surprised by Frank Turner, a cross between Billy Bragg, Tom Robinson and the Pogues, he was fantastic and easily for me the best act of the day. If you think of Punk going a bit Folky you wouldn’t be far wrong. I was quite surprised how many people came over to see him. I didn’t know any of his songs but they were all catchy, especially his anthemic “I wont sit down, I wont shut up, but most of all I wont grow up” a bit late for me but good advice all the same.

A change of scenery was needed after this so we decamped to the undercover stage. We passed the main stage where Tinie Tempah was doing Pass Out. I couldn’t believe how many people were over there. No accounting for taste must be an age thing. At the Undercover stage we were treated to the second best band of the day, All the Young, a very fast, energetic, powerful band from Stoke. All of 50 of us witnessed this as most people were watching Snooze Patrol by this time. After All the Young came a band from Southend "The MilK", who I have heard on Scrubs radio and I think also on Shakeys unsigned. They are a good band rock band with soulful and funk overtones. They do the Basildon clap, just hope it’s not catching. Hopefully they will go far as it’s always nice to see local bands do well.

The big decision then reared its ugly head, do we stay there undercover and watch covers band Australian Pink Floyd or go see the Killers, no contest really, Pink Floyd. I was quite surprised how full the tent was. They were good but they only played about 7 songs in the hour and a bit they were on. They were all note perfect and if you shut your eyes you could imagine that they were the real thing but 10 minute guitar solos are not my thing anymore. They played a selection from the Wall, Meddle, Wish you were here and Dark Side of the Moon. I must say though that when they played Wish You were Here and Comfortably Numb it was the loudest sing along of the weekend. Still life in those old hippies yet. They were good and I am glad that I saw them instead of the Killers but I had to agree with Paul when we walked out, about how Floyd got us into groups like Dr Feelgood.

Summing up another fantastic weekend, probably too much to drink on Saturday. I am probably also too old for this kind of festival but it’s right on your doorstep. I still don’t think they get the bill right as there were loads of tickets available; it’s not a rock concert or a pop one, something in between which doesn’t seem to keep many people happy. Regrets for the weekend, the Stranglers being first on Sunday, so not giving us a chance to see them. Highlights, seeing the Stone Roses, probably one of the best gigs I have seen at V. Also my new favourite artist Frank Turner.

Will I go again next year? Probably.

Duncan, August 2012 .