With Blur, Fleetwood Mac + First Aid Kit in the rain and shine
Alexandra Pollard
15:55 17th June 2015

We were worried, as the torrential downpour entered its seventh hour on Friday, that the weather at Isle Of Wight was going to be something of a pathetic fallacy. It's not that we dislike soaking through the one sensible outfit we had packed and then attempting to sleep with wet hair and muddy socks... it's that we absolutely hate it.

Thank God and Jimi Hendrix then, that things brightened up by Saturday. It wasn't all smooth sailing (the collective noun for crows is a murder, which is exactly what Counting Crows did to Jackson C Frank's 'Blues Run The Game') but for the most part, the acts that we saw, some of which were in the blazing sun and others in the heavy rain, made the tedious ferry trip more than worthwhile.

1. Blur joined by Phil Daniels
Granted, Phil Daniels hasn't had a great deal on his plate since his Eastenders character died in a car crash (RIP) - aside from his weekly podcast dedicated to Chelsea Football Club obviously - but it was still a pleasant surprise when he lumbered onstage to re-create his verses for 'Parklife'. It provided a bit of light relief too, from watching Damon Albarn prowl up and down the stage with a murderous look on his face, sweating profusely. We should add, by way of a disclaimer, that Blur's performance was actually very good - despite Albarn's scowl making us think we must have done something terrible.

2. Pharrell Williams
Sure, it was a bit crass when Pharrell brought out a young boy with cerebral palsy and sang 'Happy' at him, and it was borderline unbearable when he made us all point at the sky while singing the American national anthem (to which none of us knew the words of course) in tribute to Jimi Hendrix. "Point to Jimi! HE CAN HEAR US" he shouted, and it sounded more aggressive than he perhaps intended.

Aside from that though, Pharrell's performance was insistently, infectiously energetic - and, while hearing his N.E.R.D. songs sandwiched between Despicable Me fare was a little discombobulating, the set still somehow felt coherent. His dancers too, some dressed in T-shirts and leggings, others in jogging bottoms, were there to do just that. It was a joyfully refreshing sight to behold.

3. Fleetwood Mac
It feels churlish, to say the least, to criticise Fleetwood Mac for being too popular. Sadly though, the exceedingly busy crowd (probably the size of the previous nights' crowds put together) meant that, at times, it was a struggle to hear much more than John McVie's growling bass notes. After several attempts to change crowd positions to improve matters ended unsuccessfully, we were forced to accept, and even enjoy, the sound of 50,000 tuneless fans singing loudly over what sounded like someone's Fleetwood Mac ringtone.

The gentle nuance and rich gravel of Stevie Nicks' voice in songs like 'Landslide' became a muffled sludge, but they set off a heap of fireworks during 'Don't Stop' as the set neared its end, and for a moment, nothing had ever felt more special.

4. First Aid Kit
The rich, textured Americana with which First Aid Kit graced the crowd, drawing mostly from their third album Stay Gold, felt like a euphoric, musical manifestation of the sun that had just broken triumphantly through the crowds. As the pair's harmonies bounced over and under each other with their usual ease, the sense of occasion was palpable.

It was a shame to see their beautiful cover of Simon & Garfunkel's 'America' sacrificed in favour of an Emmylou Harris cover that didn't quite have the bite of their own material, but for the most part, these two can do very little wrong.

5. Kid Wave
They were fighting a losing battle competing with Paolo Nutini for an audience, and thus the crowd at the Jack Rocks stage for Kid Wave's set was a little meagre - but this didn't stop them from giving it all they possible could - with rich pockets of air and space lurking underneath the vast, garage rock instrumentals.

6. Dios Mio
If you do a festival right, you should discover at least one hidden gem alongside the list of acts you'd already listened to religiously in the build-up. For those who managed to drag themselves out of their tent and over to the Jack Rocks stage by midday on Sunday (and that, sadly, was not very many people) Dios Mio may very well have been that band. With the grunge-pop guitar styling sliced through by Helena Coan's cleanly ethereal vocals, Dios Mio (which means My God in Spanish - though the band are from London) are headed to bigger things.

7. The Prodigy
You generally know what you're getting with a set from The Prodigy. Thankfully, that's a good thing. Though the white noise effect they put on the video screen felt like it belonged in an MTV video from 2002, there's very little that can dampen the aggressive, elastic energy of the band's inimitable back-catalogue. Even a peppering of their underwhelming new material didn't do the set any harm, and the deluge of rain with which they competed did nothing to dissuade the crowd's enthusiasm.

8. Jessie Ware
"So I've got to do a little chat now. Sorry about that, my chat is awful" beamed Jessie Ware as she finished a haunting rendition of 'Tough Love'. "Are you on a hen do? Not YOU, you're about five." It was with this strange mix of witty quips, primary school teacher enthusiasm ("That was VERY good!" she said earlier on when the crowd sang along) and, above all, a deeply affecting musical presence, that the set continued.

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Photo: WENN, Daniel Quesada