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Shannon COTTON
11:00 16th June 2019

Day two at Isle of Wight Festival 2019 has a lot to live up to. After being forced to pull out both Cage The Elephant and Sam Fender have been replaced by Friendly Fires and Yungblud respectively, and as we arrive on site we hear that The Snuts are no longer able to perform too. Never one to let that, or the looming grey rain cloud, dampen our spirits, it’s time to get stuck into the second day of the action.

Opening with ‘Illusions’, Sundara Karma are the first port of call on the Main Stage for us. The track’s dreamy soundscape paired with vocalist and guitarist Oscar Pollock’s tranquil falsetto is the perfect way to start the day for any of those nursing a headache post-Noel Gallagher. Their set is heavy with tracks from their recent second album Ulfilas’ Alphabet - a collection of eclectic and innovative tracks that sound right at home when booming out of the Main Stage speakers. 

A change of pace is thrust upon us as we head over to the Big Top to catch Yungblud. The singer makes the Duracell Bunny look like a lazy bastard as he jumps around on stage with a high kick here and a pogo there. “I was supposed to be in the States but my passport got nicked” he shouts to the crowd, but it seems America’s loss is our gain as he rattles through his ever-growing back catalogue. Introducing ‘Polygraph Eyes’ he enlightens us, “this track means so fucking much to me, it’s about an issue that needs to stay at the forefront of our minds,” before singing the lyrics, “too many blokes are getting heavy when a girl looks unsteady,” and “leave her alone mate, she doesn’t want to go home with you.” The show is an attack on every sense.

Sticking around at the Big Top, Miles Kane is on top form as he plays to one of the most enthusiastic crowds we’ve seen all weekend so far. Opening with ‘Inhaler’ the singer wastes no time in jumping straight into his set, full throttle. Recent cut ‘LA Five Four (309)’ takes The Cramps style vocals that began to creep in on latest album Coup De Grace and runs with it. Inflects of this vocal also appear on older tracks that have been slightly reworked for a fresher sound. From the chats of “Miles fucking Kane’ between songs to the sheer energy exuded during the likes of ‘Rearrange’ and ‘Give Up’, the singer is a puppet master with the crowd in the palm of his hand. Chuck in a cover of Donna Summer’s ‘Hot Stuff’ for good measure and you can’t go wrong. 

As Miles Kane finishes, the pace is changed again as George Ezra takes to the Main Stage. Flanked by his homely stage set up, his performance this evening is even more mellow as he has to sit on a chair throughout after sustaining an ankle injury after going for his “annual run”. Tracks like ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Pretty Shining People’ are perfect for the family atmosphere synonymous with the festival, but feel a little lacklustre after the exhilarating shows we’ve seen prior to this in the Big Top. 

So back to the Big Top it is for Friendly Fires. As they walk on stage singer Ed MacFarlane addresses the crowd immediately. “Hello, we’re not Cage The Elephant, we are Friendly Fires. Are you ready to dance?” Before bursting into ‘Lovesick’. Ed’s signature dance moves have gone nowhere in the time the band have been away and neither has their crisp percussion. Taking a cowbell down to the crowd during their second song, it appears this level of energy is just the band warming up, as they execute so many indie anthems as their set goes on. It’s Saturday night done right. 

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Photo: Katie Willoughby