Live Review

Isle Of Wight Festival 2010

We’re pleased to report that Britain’s Southern-most music fest came and went with an almighty bang.

The wellies have been cleaned, the tent’s been thrown into the loft and the rain macs have been banished to the darkest corners of our wardrobes. Yes, the Isle of Wight festival may be over, but, as they say, one door slams shut while one gingerly opens, beckoning us to skip through merrily with a traffic cone on our heads. We are, of course, saying that the end of the Isle of Wight festival signals the beginning of many more mud-caked extravaganzas and we’re pleased to report that Britain’s Southern-most music fest came and went with an almighty bang. Here are just some of our highlights.

Friday

Calvin Harris

The electro-pop wizard dazzled on the main stage, although the legendary stripey-holey sunglasses were nowhere to be seen. A blessing in disguise some might say. Bounding onstage, with a menagerie of backing singers and an almost comedically-seized keyboard awaiting him, Calvin launched into a set of 80s-meets-modern-electronica classics. Funky beats and deranged synths combined to create a stadium dance set that even the most dour of festival-goers couldn’t help but tap their feet appreciatively to.

Florence and the Machine

Ah, Flo. With her ethereal tones, crimson hair and dress reminiscent of Victorian nightwear, Florence seemed to float onto stage, creating an image of ghostly splendour. We certainly had shivers running down our spines from the outset of her performance, with an army of stringed associates allowing her gothic pop lullabies to soar to heavenly heights. From the cheery single ‘Dog Days are Over’ to the rhythmic genius of ‘Drumming Song’, Florence Welsh continued to stun as with her sonic performance.

Saturday

The Strokes

“This guy… this lead guy… he’s too cool for school!”, shouted a Red Bull-infused teenager next to us as The Strokes took to the stage on Saturday night. Yes, we agreed, although please stop shouting in my ear, you’re drowning out the band. Frantic fretwork which most of us can only dream of being able to produce and copious amounts of swagger add up to pretty much the coolest set of the entire festival. Julian’s crowd banter could do with some work, with his mumblings verging on inaudible, but, hey, they’re from New York aren’t they? That’s what all the cool kids talk like.

Vampire Weekend

Another New York city band to impress us, Vampire Weekend took to the stage to address us on all matters grammatical (‘Oxford Comma’), architectural (‘Mansard Roof’) and the odd type of English tea. With crisp Afrobeat percussion and art-disco cool in abundance, the band took us by the hand and led us through their best reggae-pop ditties, looking decidedly chic in their ray bans and checked shirts. And, unlike Friendly Fires, who played on the Sunday, not a sweat patch in sight.

Sunday

Pink

Pink knows how to put together a show-stopping performance. From being winched 100ft off the ground in a giant box, to be dropped at alarming speed onto the stage for her opening number, to zorbing through the crowd this pop-punk princess made our hearts race and our mouths drop for the entirety of her set. As if this wasn’t enough, her encore consisted of flying above the crowd dressed in a bright green leotard. You can’t say Pink doesn’t like attention!

Paul McCartney

From The Long and Winding Road to Back in the U.S.S.R. and Band on the Run, the beloved Liverpudlian out together a set that was half cult-pop classics and half en-masse karaoke. The jubilance was subdued halfway through, however, in a moving tribute to John Lennon, when McCartney sang a self-penned tribute to the dear friend he tragically lost. With numerous encores and a dazzling firework display to make the end of his set, there could have been no better way to end this Isle of Wight spectacular. Our tickets for next year are our top priority right now. Hey, there’s no harm in being prepared, is there?

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