Sunday, 18 June 2017

Isle Of Wight Festival 2017 Part Two - It's A Waiting Game

Friday 8th June

So the rain finally wandered off at about 2am having failed to break the IOW spirit. The acid reflux had been lansoprazoled to hell and I slept. By the time I woke the sun was giving it the full beams. I sat half in, half out my tent and reflected. I was warm and dry. I'd already seen some quality bands. OK my phone and camera were dead but my mates were arriving today. All was good.

Last year I didn't brave the showers and kidded myself that wet wipes would keep me fresh. They really don't. So showers it is. There's no pleasant way of saying this. The first cubicle I went in had a turd in it. I mean, c'mon!! The toilets can be seen from the showers, it's hardly a long walk, and failing that we're surrounded by bloody fields. Who felt the need to crap in a shower? Twat. I quickly dived in the second cubicle. All good. Thought I'd just check the flow. It went everywhere. Clothes soaked. Again. Still, at least it worked. Got in the shower properly only to find out I'd picked up my mouthwash instead of shower gel from the tent. I also found out that stood under the shower the flow did in fact go everywhere apart from on me. Managed to miss me totally. And I'm a big unit! So ten minutes of dancing around getting wet I come out smelling minty fresh. Except the showers were boiling so I came out sweating more than when I went in. Still better than wet wipes though. And the sun was shining and my mates were arriving later etc.

The plan was that two car loads of my fellow festival goers would be on the 1pm ferry while the band would be arriving in the early hours having played the inaugural NME Lock In in that London on Friday evening. I wandered into the site in search of bacon and a coffee and with the hope of bumping into Chris and Sharron. I didn't. I did bump into the Paves though which is always a pleasure. Singer Luke had managed to stay dry all Thursday night till some 6'5" idiot in a soaking wet orange poncho leapt on him. I apologised. Luke has long championed the healing properties of my hugs (it's due to the stupidly long arms) and booked one in for 5pm Saturday around the time of their Hard Rock Stage set.

I carried on my wander, found the greatest coffee ever but no Chris. Obviously I have no relevant photos now but here's one I took earlier.

There was bugger all happening musically so I loitered in my tent with beer and an unresponsive phone. It did kick in long enough for me to message Sam (driver of car 2 carrying the WAGS (Charlotte, Katrina, Holly and Alanah (technically not a WAG but, er, hang on, I've totally lost track of theses brackets now))). I think that's right. Told Sam my phone was dying and I'd meet them at the same place we camped last year. Got the message back to say they were gonna miss their ferry then my phone gave up completely.

It was still sunny but very windy so I failed to notice my legs gently sizzling on gas mark 8 as I waited. Thankfully not for long. Sarah, Patch and Robbo (3 welcome additions to last year's expedition) hadn't missed the ferry and trollied up desperate to make camp before the rest arrived. Robbo had bought his tent only the day before. I say tent. It was a blow up mansion. We could have hosted dinner parties in it. (I think it's where Bang Bang Romeo filmed the Chemical video - yeah you've not seen that yet have you. Well when you do you'll get it). The third wave finally landed at about 5pm. We battled with new tents and the wind and moved pop up tents round till we had our 'circle of love'. I nearly herniated my hernia trying to blow up an air bed. I'm 49 you know. We could hear Rag 'N' Bone Man in the distance and decided we should finally go check out some music.

Kaiser Chiefs.

Sorry for the language but for fuck's sake! 

I agreed to go, one, 'cos I wanted the company and, two, to show how awful they are. They didn't let me down. OK the sound wasn't great, the wind was taking some of it on a merry dance somewhere above The Solent and the screens weren't working but Kaiser Chiefs bravely battled against this to show what an appalling band they have become. Not sure if it's coming across but I'm not a fan.

We headed promptly back to This Feeling Jack Rocks stage where Aaron Procter kindly furnished us with back stage wristbands and we ligged between bands. Told Mint and Plastic People how awesome I thought they were, kissed one of The Blinders (Matty I think, it's already getting hazy) and generally hugged people. It would be impossible to mention every band I saw at This Feeling so sadly I'm gonna have to cherry pick a bit. Broken Witt Rebels get the award for most improved. They've gelled into a seriously tight rock 'n' roll band and easily went on my 'gotta see again soon list'. 

We headed over to the Big Top to catch the end of Alison Moyet's set, the second best singer appearing on that stage this weekend. There was a desire from some of the group to catch Run DMC on the main stage. I was never a huge fan and again a band battling against dodgy sound. They also seemed intent on alienating 98% of the crowd by dedicating every song to the 'real' Run DMC fans who had been with them since the '80s. Really wish I'd stuck to my guns and watched The Jackobins.

Back to the Big Top for The Pretenders, another of my all time favourites although I'd not seen them since 1987! They were magnificent. Chrissie Hynde has never sounded (or looked) better. Before one song she dedicated it to one of the greatest ever songwriters, a guy from Muswell Hill. 'That'll be Ray Davies then', said I. 'Ray Davies' confirmed Chrissie before going into The Kinks' Stop Your Sobbing. An elderly lady in front of me looked at me in what can only be called awe as I regaled her with the tale of Chrissie and Ray. I thought everyone knew. 

Brass In Pocket was still ringing in my ears as I hot footed it back to This Feeling to catch the end of False Heads (brilliant, slightly anarchic and wonderfully messy) and final act Trampolene. There's been a lot of hype about Trampolene and rightly so, another joyous cacophony of guitar laden gems and the greatest stage dive of the weekend. (I'm gonna see if I can nick a photo here). 

Courtesy Will Ireland Photography

So after a slow and dubious start to the day I'd seen some truly awesome bands again. I avoided the churros/hot chocolate combo and we headed back to base to await Bang Bang Romeo's arrival. 

More ligging tomorrow. 

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