Mud and The Members: Isle of Wight Festival 2010

The Members, IW Festival 2010

No, not some ghastly combination on the Festival line-up this year, but the promise of glorious squelchy goo and the sounds of punk rock from 30 years ago.

Gentle rain softened the fields underfoot for my first experience of the festival campsite area. I’m not camping, but Jimjams is, so bought camping tickets. I had never realized quite how much the festival extended beyond the main arena and Strawberry Fields. It was already sticky and churned up by the time I arrived early on Thursday evening, just about in time for R U Experienced in the Big Top. I have a dim view of tribute bands, but until we all join the choir invisibule, hearing Jimi Hendrix in person isn’t an option, so the next best option other than what are now quite stale recordings is to hear someone else giving it a crack. Not a bad rendition, all things said, with some talented guitar, if not bordering on the genius of the original. Look forward to them later this year for the 40th anniversary.

On to the Kashmir Cafe, home of real beer at the festival. I only discovered this late last festival: a cash bar selling Yates’s beer from the cask, plus an alternative music set from the rest of the festival of a slightly folky or ethnic bent. So, main advantage: being able to buy decent drinkable beer without queuing for tokens that only buy quite appalling piss from Carling. Sat reading M A R Barker’s Man of Gold, drinking beer and eating liquorice from the St Valentine’s liquorice company, until Second Time Around had set up and started, Pleasant enough but ultimately I was heading for the Big Top for The Members and didn’t hang around for more than three numbers.

The Members are old. A 30-year-old punk rock band gone to greyness, baldness – anyone of a certain age who wears a hat indoors has, as it were, nothing to hide – and in one notable case fatness. Like having Danny Devito playing punk (observational credit: CJ Andrews). But fantastic. Close your eyes and the voices were the same: a magical trip back in time. Open them and it was scary old-age presence, with the threat of impending zimmer frames. Stayed for the whole set, which included International Financial Crisis (reworking of Offshore Banking Business), Working Girl (I still have the 7in vinyl single) and a memorable Sound of the Suburbs. Missed them? Well you can catch them again on the acoustic stage tonight (Friday): great blend of reggae beats and punk sound.

Squeeze, following on in the Big Top, were stale by comparison. They sounded old. Kicking off with Up the Junction was a mistake for there wasn’t much to look forward to after that, and after three numbers I drifted off back across the slightly drier fields to the trusty steed, padlocked to a farm fence, for a short ride back to base.

Torrential rain overnight will have softened the ground even more, so today (Friday) will be wellies day: the outlook for Saturday and Sunday is “scorchio”, so we’ll be caked in dry earth by the time Paul McCartney closes the show.

Festival album:


The Arcadian Kicks: three in a row

It was almost too much to hope for, but one of my favourite bands from the Isle of Wight Festival is back for a third time.  The Arcadian Kicks play on Saturday 11 June 2010 in the Big Top, having played there in 2008 and 2009. It’s a bit tricky getting over to the mainland to see them on their regular Midlands circuit, so a third festival attendance in a row is a treat.

The group have now recorded an album, which is intended to see the light of day sometime this year.

Keep an eye on them at

Festival news:

Neil Young: IW Festival 2009

I was among the droves leaving the festival four songs into Neil’s set. A great and very talented musician, completely unsuited to the time of night, with a chill wind blowing off the Medina making standing doing very little an unwelcome prospect. We needed something to get us moving, but not in the direction of the exits. Got back to base and TV to discover Young had finished early, leaving vacuous ITV2 presenters Fearne Cotton and Rufus Hound only a deserted festival ground to show instead of the intended live broadcast.

If I hadn’t been trying to co-ordinate with Jimjams about meeting after the festival to get her home, I would have gone to see the Charlatans. Instead I spent over an hour in a car park waiting for her to make what should have been a 20-minute walk back into town.


After the awful Scum I entered a blissfully chilled time caused in part by a pint of real ale at the Kashmir Cafe – the only truly drinkable beer of the festival – and exhaustion from two late nights. It was off to the main arena in time for The Script and the Pigeon Detectives, both of whom were enjoyed from a horizontal position in the baking heat of the afternoon. Alertness set in in time for Simple Minds and Pixies.

I last saw Pixies at Reading in, I think, 1990. It was long enough ago to forget the exact year, but their great album Bossanova (the only one in my collection) was a must buy as a result. The IW set seemed comparatively patchy, making Simple Minds (who preceded Pixies on stage) the high of the afternoon. It was all downhill from there.  Despite the promnsie in Sunday’s line-up, Saturday was the better day.

Scum: IW Festival 2009

Scum: IW Festival Big Top, Sunday 15 June 2009
Scum: IW Festival Big Top, Sunday 15 June 2009

I hope I’m open-minded musically, but the shutters came down for Scum. Very posy lead singer, probably a love child spawned by Peter Murphy and a new romantic, noted for dropping the microphone, dancing in his socks, and trying to electrocute himself by spraying water over the stage and himself, spending the rest of the act looking somewhat moist in the trouser department. Senseless activity of lead singer countered by the immobile keyboard duo.

Doom-laden noise. We all make mistakes, and mine was walking in to see this lot.

Poppy & The Jezebels: IW Festival 2009

Poppy & The Jezebels: IW Festival Big Top Sunday 14 June 2009
Poppy & The Jezebels: IW Festival Big Top Sunday 14 June 2009. Oooh a theremin
Poppy & The Jezebels: IW Festival Big Top Sunday 14 June 2009
Poppy & The Jezebels: IW Festival Big Top Sunday 14 June 2009

Bit static as a show – seemingly part musical group, part porcelain dolls – but enjoyable none the less. Closed with UFO (their biggest player on myspace), a number that probably uniquely at the festival used a theremin.

Hear them at