Monday, May 21, 2007

radio 1's big weekend - the sunday review

Hi there. I'm knackered.

That's not going to stop me jumping forth and shooting my barrel-load of hot, sticky opinions all over your faces though. Look: mini-reviews of all the bands and everything!

So we got to Moor Park in Preston just after 1pm on Sunday afternoon, and upon arriving it was straight over to the Outdoor Arena to see the DJ-off between Zane Lowe - who is as reliable a party DJ as ever - and Mark Ronson, who's forced insertions of average songs from the album he's got out grated from the off. Zane Lowe though was brilliant. Always inventive, never obvious. Perfect. And his final track, Pendulum - Blood Sugar, was hugely appreciated.

Then it was over to the Main Stage to watch most of Just Jack's set. That was surreal: just 3 months ago I saw him playing to just 150 people in Manchester Academy, and now I'm watching him at the back of a 7000 strong crowd. He carries it off though, despite his singles being the only good songs on his album.

Back to the Outdoor Arena after a short break, where Vernon Kay's influence could barely be detected in his DJ battle with Pete Tong. Anybody expecting Tong classics interspersed with Vernon's knack for old-skool cheese would have been disappointed, and it served as a reminder of how difficult it is to enjoy Tong's genre of music without the assistance of alcohol and the absence of sunlight.

First difficult stage clash of the day resulted in seeing Mika on the Main Stage instead of Dizzie Rascal on the In New Music We Trust (INMWT) stage, mainly due to a desire to see more than one act on that stage before the day was out. By all accounts, it was a mistake. Mika wasn't bad, but throughout the remainder of the day we would hear Klaxons, Bloc Party, Zane Lowe, Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley all sing the praises of Rascal's set that we missed. Besides, we left with two songs of Mika's set to go in order to ensure a good position in the crowd for Klaxons.

Kicking off two and a half hours spent in the company of the INMWT stage was Klaxons, who were as energetic as one could hope for. They're a great live band, it's just a shame the audience weren't kicking off enough to make it truly memorable.

No such dangers for Maximo Park. They've got enough singles under their belts to ensure their 45 minute set is a non-stop party. Paul Smith is as reliable a frontman as ever, ensuring they more than hold their own against the prospect of Stereophonics on the Main Stage.

Responsable for my favourite album of 2007 so far (sorry Arcade Fire), Bloc Party were always going to be the most exciting prospect of the day for me. Suffice to say, they lived up to my sky-high expectations. The crowd was clearly big fans of the band, and it was a pleasure to see them in a 2000 person tent ahead of their Arena tour when they'll be playing to venues five times the size.

Then it was a short run over to the Main Stage to see the last 10 minutes of Kaiser Chiefs set, which seemed to be doing well against a tough audience, and a final 45 minutes sitting down shattered whilst Dave Pearce closed the festival with his Dance Anthems.

Great day all round then, very well organised and that. Thanks to Radio 1 and Preston for it, and feel free to rummage through our pictures here.

Right then, role on Glastonbury!

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