The organisers of the Isle of Wight festival may not have been able to guarantee glorious sunshine throughout the whole weekend, but they made darn sure that they provided 65,000 wet, muddy and drunken revellers the chance to witness some of the most prolific live acts in the world today. As the Isle of Wight festival celebrates its 10th anniversary, there was never any doubt that the line-up would be anything but stellar.
Kings of Leon
The Kings of Leon have come under much criticism lately – they’ve been accused of selling out, becoming a stadium band with a fancy light show and a slick production, but as the heavy rain eased off on Friday evening, the Kings of Leon brought the opening day of the festival to a close with a blistering performance that heavily featured material from their first two albums. The crowd were treated to gritty performances of Molly’s Chamber, King of the Rodeo and The Bucket.
Half way through their set lead singer, Caleb Followhill, addressed the audience and declared ‘I’m trying to learn how to be a good front man. I’m terrible at it.’ – It’s obvious that the KOL prefer to just let their music do the talking for them. They’re not a gimmicky kind of band and don’t rely on flash dance moves to keep an audience captivated. The Nashville rockers then tore into a punchy rendition of Knocked Up, followed by I’m on Call, Use Somebody and crowd favourite Sex on Fire which whipped the dampened crowd into a frenzy of air punching and whoop-wooing!
Caleb expressed his humbleness and how privileged he felt to be able to do what it is he does for a living and play before such a huge crowd ‘I had a lot of jobs before this’ then joked, ‘I was a porn star for a while.’ And winning over the whole audience by announcing ‘I know how lucky I am to be where I am in front of you beautiful people.’ If they hadn’t played it already Charmer would definitely have followed.
The KOL’s set climaxed with a show of fireworks that brought the end to a perfect first day of festival fun.
Co-headliners on the Saturday night, Pulp, returned for their first UK performance in nearly ten years. Opening their set with Do You Remember the First Time?Jarvis Cocker and Co. treated a nostalgic crowd to a trip down memory lane with other notable classics such as Disco 2000, Sorted for E’s and Whizz – and joked ‘I hear this was the first song at the Royal Wedding a couple of months ago.’ – before bringing their triumphant set to a close with Common People. Pulp’s set was so simple and yet so flawless, it really is hard to comprehend why they were ever on a decade long hiatus in the first place.
Dave Grohl took to the stage on Saturday evening and promised to ‘play until they chuck us off.’ – Then the Foo’s ripped into a testosterone fuelled juggernaut set of classic track after classic track. Opening with Bridge Burning and followed up with Rope, Pretender, My Hero and Learn to Fly – the baying crowd thrashing around and thirsty for more.
If Caleb Followill was looking for any tips how to be a good front man, he need not look no further than Grohl for inspiration, who after a spellbinding rendition of Best of You asked the audience ‘How the fuck are we going to follow that up?’ – then exploded into a bone rattling version of All My Life.
The Foo Fighters ended the night on a high with the ever brilliant Everlong and bringing the curtain down on another day of pure festival brilliance.
The Isle of Wight festival saw Liam Gallagher’s new band Beady Eye make their festival debut. Dressed in a Union Jack parka, Liam was intent on making a statement of some sort. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as bright as Liam’s choice of jacket as the heavens literally opened up for the duration of their whole performance. Beady Eye opened with Four Letter Word and followed up with Beatles and Stones. Possibly, due to the weather tracks Kill for a Dream and Three Ring Circus struggled to lift the crowd and Liam snarled for everyone to ‘fucking move about.’
As Beady Eye brought their set to an end with Sons of the Stage, the band looked just as drenched as the crowd before them. Liam urged the soaked through crowd to ‘be sure to hang around for Kasabian.’
The torrential downpour that refused to ease off all day Sunday suddenly came to a halt as Kasabian took to the stage as the final headlining act of the 2011 Isle of Wight festival. Opening with Clubfoot, Kasabian managed to put a bright spin on what had been a very dark and gloomy day. Tom Meighan who ironically chose to wear sunglasses thanked the crowd for hanging around, stating ‘I take my hat off to you. Check out this rain. God bless you.’
Where Did All the Love Go? roused a sing along effort from the crowd who refused to let a little rain dampen their fun and Shoot the Runner started the crowd moshing around in a mud-bath before the main stage. Kasabian showcased two new songs from their upcoming album Velociraptor and Switchblade Smiles which are destined to be big festival favourite tunes before the summer is over.
An impromptu guest appearance from Noel Fielding during Vlad the Impaler decked out in a befitting cape himself and cosying up to front man Tom Meighan mid-chorus raised a few laughs. But the highlight of the night was the festival closing track Fire which had everyone within a half-mile-radius of the main stage bouncing around in a rabid-frenzy and singing along in unison. As the band walked off stage, Meighan continued to sing the melody into his microphone with a crowd who had braved the rain all day suddenly not wanting to go home and wanting more. Kasabian had quite literally saved the day.