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    Welsh band lover on The worst band ever! – N…

Wickerman Day 1

Given that Scotland has had a very dismal July, the summer sun gives the crowd and performers a boost. Little Comets get things going on the main stage. It’s interesting to watch the evolution of guitar music over the last decade. The angular, post-punk style is still in evidence, but the influence of Vampire Weekend is apparent in the loping rhythms and gorgeous melodies on display here. They are very engaging, despite a technical hitch which threatens the sound desk before a ball is kicked.
Little Comets

Slowly building up their set with each track more memorable than the last, it’s exactly what a mid-afternoon band should do; take the interest levels and raise it. Little Comets leave with more fans than they started.

I Blame Coco are fronted by Sting’s daughter, which is usually mentioned in every piece about them. And this one, now I come to think about it. They sound, thankfully, nothing like the bearded lyre enthusiast, more closely resembling another golden haired early 80s pop icon. Yes, the spirit of Debbie Harry is alive and well in the music, electronic pop fronted by Miss Sumner. To say she fails to radiate the same star quality of the Blondie frontwoman is not a criticism, merely a fact. However, the band have a winning way with a solid hook and there is a lot to like here.

I Blame Coco

Next up is Goldie Looking Chain, who you either find funny or you don’t. It’s neither big nor clever, but people seem fond of the tracksuited Welsh loons. For those of us who don’t neccesarily see the attraction of lots of chavvy blokes rapping ironically over Daft Punk samples, it’s not the most entertaining set you’ll ever see. But kids seem to like the swearwords, and it’s difficult to wish any ill on them. Difficult, but not impossible. There’s something a bit too calculated these days about them. The initial joke has given way to a career now. Flogging a dead horse? Positively stripping the meat from its carcass.

Tony Christie comes next, and is possibly a slight scheduling error. It’s basically two arch comedy acts back-to-back. He did what he did for Maria, and he walks like a panther and all that other stuff. It’s a club singer in a field! Laugh at the funny old man! He’s a game old bastard, you have to give him that. Possibly recalling his days in Phoenix Club oblivion, he’s on the main stage and he’s making it count. His voice, though, is something to hear these days; he sounds like a booming explosion in a cat torturing facility. The audience bassically want him to do ‘Amarillo’ and fuck off, which he does after 40 minutes. Cue lots of walking and lots of congas. Everyone is having a good time, even though he’s sweating like a fat lad after a strenuous work-out.

To proper music again with the Futureheads. They have very quietly amassed an excellent back catalogue over the last six years, and blast through early favourites ‘Decent Days and Nights’ and ‘Meantime’ before showcasing songs from their very decent last album The Chaos.

The Futureheads

The band are endearingly energetic and, most obviously, at home on the stage; there is a comfortable professionalism to what they do, as though they belong up there. ‘The Beginning of the Twist’ and ‘Heartbeat Song’ prove once again that they are a terrific singles band, always a great thing to be when compiling a set-list.

The Futureheads

It’s a punchy, effevescent set which radiates warmth and simply makes you want to pogo. They are one of the most underrated bands on the scene right now.

You want to talk underrated, you need look no further than Teenage Fanclub. If there was any justice in the world, they’d be megastars, testing cars on Top Gear and spending £6m on a video shoot. But it wouldn’t really suit them. The Fannies are, of course, wonderful. How could they not be when they can call on songs like ‘Sparky’s Dream’, ‘About You’ and corking new single ‘Baby Lee’?

Teenage Fanclub

They make everything they do look effortless when, of course, it isn’t. It’s an hour of shimmering pop majesty, quicksilver guitars and melodies which would make Todd Rundgren jealous.

Teenage Fanclub

And now in their forties, the band have settled into their roles with aplomb; Raymond the slightly disgruntled science teacher, Gerry the lost descendant of Gene Clark and Norman the big brother everyone wishes they had.

Teenage Fanclub

They end, as the always end, with ‘Everything Flows’, and, as it always does at the end of their gigs, a sense of slight melancholia descends in amongst the joy. When something is this good, you simply feel a bit sad that it will be a while till you get to experience it again. A truly wonderful band.

And then come the Charlatans.

Tim Burgess

Twenty years since Some Friendly. Imagine that. It doesn’t seem that way as ‘Weirdo’ slinks its way through your synapses, before we get a singalaonga Charlies set which shows that they really do have some great tunes. ‘Jesus Hairdo’ and ‘Can’t Get Out Of Bed’ may well be Charlatans standards, but you can’t deny they get the old dancing feet moving. New single ‘Love is Ending’ is a lot rockier, and actually benefits by actually appearing to be three songs in one. Tim Burgess still looks about nine, and still looks like he’s allowed a drunk hairdresser to do his barnet.

Tim Burgess

What makes the Charlatans longevity so impressive is that the bands they were meant to be behind in the slipstream, such as the Roses and the Mondays, imploded gracelessly while they kept going and, mostly, producing. The Charlatans deserve their status as indie godfathers. They are far better than many would give them credit for.

Tim Burgess, The Charlatans

So, an eclectic day, but a very good one. The sun sets on the site and braver people than the ELM posse head towards the dance tent. The reggae tent looks and smells interesting, while the old punks pogo to the classics in the smaller tent. It’s very much a ‘something for everyone’ atmosphere.

All Photographs Copyright © CJ Osborne 2010


One Response

  1. Was at Wickerman. I’m a big TFC fan but was disappointed by them on the day. Walking onstage and going “this is a couple of songs off our new album” to a festival crowd is always going to mean an exodus to the bar. Bombskare were the band of the weekend for me, but Futureheads were a big surprise. Really enjoyed them, and the Fannies could learn a few lessons there…….

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