With everyone in high spirits as the sun shined, festival goers had two great performances to look forward to on the first evening of Isle of Wight Festival. ABC, 80's pop band, filled the tent and put on an energetic show performing classic tracks such as the romantic swinger 'All of my Heart' and 'The Look of Love'.
Later, the infamous Boy George headlines the Big Top tent. He takes to the stage in his usual get up, receiving a great response from the crowd who sang along word-for-word to former Culture Club tunes 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me' and 'Karma Chameleon' along with brilliant covers 'Down By The River' and 'Knocking on Heavens Door' to name a few.
The rain was on and off for most of the Friday but this didn’t stop hauls of fans gathering at the main stage to watch Courteeners which frontman Liam Fray was incredibly grateful for: “An absolute colossal f*cking thank you for coming out in the rain, to every single one of you." The quartet played a medley from their 2 studio albums including ‘Cavorting’, ‘Acrylic’, ‘Not Ninteen Forever’, ‘You Overdid It Doll’ and ‘What Took You So Long’.
The mighty Kings of Leon headlined the main stage and kicked off with absolute stomper ‘Four Kicks’, followed by ‘Spiral Staircase’ which is a great and rare occurrence. They seemed up for it from the start with frontman Caleb Followill commenting "I'm about to turn 30 years old, and I'm starting to have fun doing this, man. I don't know why it took me so long." He seemed in high spirits sharing anecdotes with the sea of fans:"‘I've had a lot of jobs before this... I was a porn star for a while - it didn't work out.”. Of course they played ‘Use Somebody’ and ‘Sex on Fire’ but ended with a full throttle performance of ‘Black Thumbnail’ followed by fireworks. A perfect end to an enthralling 90 minute set.
Over in the Big Top tent, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts had already started their headline slot. Former Runaways star treated the crowd to classic hit ‘Cherry Bomb’ as well as ‘I Love Rock’n’Roll’ and Tommy James and the Shondells’ ‘Crimson and Clover’. The band also covered ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, homage to The Stooges who were also on the festival lineup the following evening.
American folk singer Lissie played on the main stage Saturday and came across very humble and down to earth. She jokingly plugged debut album ‘Catching a Tiger’, enticing people to buy it and talked about her upcoming album. She received a welcoming response from the crowd to which she was appreciative of. The band performed tracks from the album and ended with “guilty pleasure”, a cover of Kid Cudi’s ‘Pursuit of Happiness'.
Semi Precious Weapons are INSANE. I’ve heard of them but not actually listened to their music before. Sporting an all-in-one fishnet body suit frontman Justin Tranter and co from New York are a Rock band that are guaranteed to shock, entertain and make you cringe. He continued to probe the crowd with obscenities and sexual innuendos. He said to one father in the crowd "I see you brought your 9 year old along, sorry wrong show!" Then later on in the set asked if the boy wanted some whiskey, saying he was a "strong believer in underage drinking". For the last song ‘Cherries on Ice’, girl band Parade was invited on stage. To be honest I thought they were random girls from the crowd at first as their singing voices were nothing spectacular but all in all an entertaining and memorable show. Not too sure about the quality of the music though...
Over on the main stage Seasick Steve and his array of interesting instruments had the crowd transfixed. I’ve seen him quite a few times and his stories and anecdotes may adapt slightly each time but he is never a disappointment. He spent most of his life living hand to mouth but as he says, he’s got “plenty of spare change now”. His last two albums reached number 4 and 6 in the UK album charts. He played songs from these and his other 3 studio albums to an ocean of people. ‘Dog House Boogie’, performed with his 3 string guitar was a definite highlight which includes a story about his stepfather who beat him and his brother after returning from the war in Korea. He got an enormously warm reaction from the crowd.
Vetrans Iggy Pop and The Stooges stormed the stage Saturday afternoon performing hits ‘Raw Power’, ‘Search and Destroy’ and ‘You’re Pretty Face is Going to Hell’ all from the iconic third album Raw Power released in 1973. ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ was another highlight with topless Iggy walking up and down the front row of the crowd shaking hands and at one point on the floor, pretending to be a dog. This was all after casually thrusting a mic resting on his groin area along with dragging Dave Grohl and other VIPs onstage to dance along...If you want quality music and entertainment you’ll never be disappointed with this band. One of the best acts of the weekend by far.
Foo Fighters were the final act of the day. There were countless people donning FF shirts and the atmosphere was buzzing as they’re notoriously a fantastic live band. Dave Grohl has got to be at the top of the list of greatest frontmen. He gives 100% at every gig and seems to be having the time of his life, and who could blame him? He’s been in three of the best bands of our generation, Nirvana, Them Crooked Vultures and Foos. He’s got a happy family life and is well liked.
The crowd get increasingly apprehensive and as lights start to flash and screens on stage are lowered, they erupt. On walk the rocking quintet, where Grohl greets his audience. He talks fondly of previous act Seasick Steve commenting how he ‘"played the best show of the night" and tells fans how he was at one of the first ever Nirvana gigs. They play an assortment of hits from their 7 studio albums including ‘My Hero’, ‘Learn to Fly’, ‘Monkey Wrench’, ‘Best of You’ and end (much to Grohls dismay after saying he’d like to play for 3 hours) with ‘Everlong’.
I’ve heard a lot about Brother, mostly from the Hype machine that is NME so I was keen to check them out when they played the Big Top. Donning a pair of John Lennon glasses, it was clear who their influences were going to be. Oasis sounded as they were another influence, despite rumours frontman Lee Newell had ‘exchanged words’ with Liam Gallagher. They played songs off their debut album ‘Famous First Words’, including ‘Electric Daydream’ and single ‘Time Machine’. They certainly made a good impression on the crowd.
After the demise of Oasis, news that Liam and the rest of the band were re-inventing themselves as Beady Eye drew a lot of attention on the band but their debut album received good reviews and they drew in a huge crowd to the main stage. Liam, clad in a Union Jack rain mac, cockily commented ‘'This is being filmed in 3D yeah? I wonder what these f*cking bambinos look like in 3D?", gesturing with his two middle fingers. The band play their usual 13 song set ending with a cover of the World Of Twist's 'Sons Of The Stage'.
The final act of the weekend on the main stage was Kasabian. Even after continuous rain fall, spirits were surprisingly high and when Kasabian came on it was clear they were up for it. The Leicester quartet opened with ‘Clubfoot’, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Other highlights were ‘Shoot The Runner’, ‘LSD’, new track ‘Velociraptor!’, ‘Vlad The Impaler’ where they were joined onstage by Noel Fielding (who also appeared in the video) and closing track ‘Fire’ which left the crowd echoing the catchy hook as the band left the stage. Left lastly by frontman Tom Meighan who had clearly enjoyed himself and was grateful to the soggy crowd.