I always find it hard to report back on a festival experience, not only because I spent the best part of a week intoxicated, sleep deprived and living on a diet of cereal bars; but because there are so many overwhelming moments and so many good live acts that each time you think you have seen the highlight that can’t be topped, something else happens to completely blow it out of the (muddy) water.
Isle of Wight 2012 lived up to all festival expectations; there was rain, wind and mud (which the media just loved). By the time Friday rolled around I had already been living the festival life for two nights so the soothing tones of Guy Garvey’s beautiful voice made me grin from ear to ear, especially as the crowd chanted along to ‘One Day Like This’ and ‘Grounds for Divorce’, which included an ad-libbed intro about the transition from traffic jam to festival jam. I had wanted to see Elbow live for some time and they lived up to all expectations. The only downside of their performance was the timing, with this being our first visit to the main stage we were definitely in the mood for something a little livelier! This was soon rectified as we headed over to the ‘Hipshaker’ tent, which plays a collection of classic Britpop and mo-town songs complete with 60s themed dancers up on the stage…almost a trip back in time?
Saturday morning arrived with calm skies and glorious sunshine which was only further complimented by the talented London based DJ, Stevo Wonder, who wasn’t afraid to serenade our ears with a naughty bit of disco. The crowd gathered to drink cider and throw out their best shapes. Personally, for me the peak of the set was when he played Prince – ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, to which my natural response was to cartwheel.
Later that night the skies darkened and the rain returned, but this was no match for the legend that is Miles Kane who gave one of the best performances of the whole festival. Smashing out hits such as ‘Rearrange’, ‘Come Closer’ and ending with the almighty ‘Inhaler’ he certainly got the crowd going and in between songs would shout out ‘Let’s fuckin’ av it!’. Miles Kane is a phenomenal performer, you can see from every action and every word that he truly wants to be up on the stage, he enjoys every second of it; he gives it his all and is genuinely appreciative to be doing what he is doing. Miles Kane is good looking, talented and effortlessly cool and I couldn’t get enough and being born in Liverpool myself, there will always be room in my heart for a fellow scouser!
Sunday presented us with our most musically active day, beginning with our favourite boys Zulu Winter. Secret Sound Shop have been following Zulu Winter for some time so it was great to see them in a festival setting and as always they put on a confident show, playing hits such as ‘Silver Tongue’, ‘We Should Be Swimming’ and ‘Let’s Move Back to Front’. It’s great to see how far this band has come over the last few months and I still think that they improve with every performance.
Next on the agenda was Band of Skulls who gave a flawless show as always, their polished sound remained strong even in a festival setting and as they opened with ‘Sweet Sour’ you could see the crowds being drawn towards the stage. It was one of the most satisfying times of Isle of Wight 2012, standing in the scorching mid-afternoon sun, listening to some classic, dirty rock and developing a girl crush on bassist and vocalist Emma Richardson. As they banged out tune after tune including ‘Devil Takes Care of His Own’, ‘Bruises’, ‘Hollywood Bowl’ and ‘Light of the Morning’ I found myself completely lost and wondering how on earth this American sounding band came out of Southampton.
Next up was those cheeky London boys The Vaccines who opened with their longest song yet ‘No Hope’, which comes in at over 4 minutes long! Well let’s face it, they had to do something to start making their sets last longer as the whole of the debut album ‘What Did You Expect’ could probably be played in under 30 minutes. The Vaccines always give a good show, throwing out crowd pleasers such as ‘Post Break Up Sex’, ‘Nørgaard’ and ‘If You Wanna’ and today was no exception.
Without a shadow of a doubt the ultimate festival highlight for me had to be Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, in particular when he ended with 3 Oasis songs; ‘Half the World Away’, ‘Little By Little’ and the big fat cherry on the proverbial cake ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’. Wow! That really was a special moment, Isle of Wight 2012 was a festival debut for NGHFB and I was ecstatic to be a part of it. The sight of the whole crowd throwing their arms up in the air in unison to the chorus of ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ was too much for my tiny brain to handle. Everything that happened from that point on was probably insignificant anyway.
I feel like I should give a quick mention to the legendary Bruce Springsteen who gave a fabulous rendition of ‘Twist and Shout’ as the finale fireworks sprinkled down over the crowds; the Example look-a-like who kindly took the time to autograph some gullible teenager girl’s shorts; the Rowdy boys for establishing the Punk-Camping movement and Jimmy, for forever changing the significance of Wednesdays. Until next time Isle of Wight.