ISP-ing about and Rock im Park/Latitude review(ish) 29/07/2008
The biggest news in the music industry recently is the announcement that 6 ISPs have agreed to help the good old music industry (and movie industry) in their ongoing, ever fruitless battle against piracy by agreeing to monitor continual offenders and issue them with strongly worded letters telling them that they “must stop it immediately, it’s quite naughty you know”.
Regular readers will have seen my previous post about this when they first toyed with the idea back in March. I must admit that I never thought the idea would ever be realised as it seemed too much of an invasion of privacy in my eyes. But alas, it’s now seem the light of day welcomed by an overall feeling of “meh” by the great British public.
Billy Bragg’s chucked in his two cents worth (who’d have thought eh?) over at the Guardian saying that he thinks it’s a waste of time, and I’m yet to read anyone other than representatives from the big four/ISP’s say anything positive about the news.
I can see their thinking behind it, but it just doesn’t seem like the answer to me. Am I being short sighted? Is there something I’m missing? The industry was appearing to get better with its forward thinking (getting rid of DRM, embracing new models like We7 etc) but then they still revert to ideas like this which just seem a bit backwards.
“Let’s cut them off at the source”.
Brilliant. What next? The BPI announces they’re cutting the electricity to the homes of the seemingly hard of hearing folk who illegally downloaded the new Hard-Fi record? (It had been a good few posts since I gave Hard-Fi a cheeky dig so it was about time I reminded you all of my stance towards them).
Anyhow, click here to read this post from March for some background info on all the goings on.
The second part of this blog is going to be reflective of the festivals I’ve attended so far this summer; Rock im Park and Latitude. I won’t go into too much detail about all the music I saw as these are artists that have been reviewed thousands of times before by people far more competent in their lexiphanicism than I but I will tell you about my personal favourites.
Nuremburg was to be the home of my first ever foreign festival as I jetted off to Rock im Park to stand alongside fifty odd thousand drunken German metal fans and watch them sing their little hearts out. The RiP festival is actually held in the Reichsparteitagsgelände, which for those not on top of their Germanic geographical language is the Nazi Rally ground where Mr. Hitler gave his charismatic speeches to the adoring onlookers. Just the setting to see Rage Against The Machine spout their anti-capitalist ditties then…
Friday’s proceedings brought well performed sets by The Futureheads and Jimmy Eat World, a couple of hit and miss shows from Pendulum and the Lost Prophets and an unsurprisingly fantastic display from Queens of the Stone Age.
Another personal highlight from Friday; handing a young German teenagers arse to him as we dueled on ‘Guitar Hero’ with my rendition of Muse’s ‘Knights of Cydonia’ simply pummeling his to oblivion. I must stress that after this event there was no animosity, far from it actually; we embraced. We hugged. A language that knows no barriers. This is how all international conflicts should be resolved in the future; imagine Gordon Brown and Robert Mugabe struggling their way through ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ with Brown edging to victory as he knows the song back to front from his much un-publicised hair metal phase of the late 80’s/early 90’s. A hug would ensue and Bobby M would stop killing his own people. And they call me an optimist…
Apart from the afternoon thunderstorm, Saturday was a perfect festival day with three cracking sets from Coheed and Cambria, Incubus and the highlight of the weekend, nay, week, nay, month; Rage Against The Machine.
Having been a mixture of both too young and naive the first time around; the prospect of seeing RATM had me rather excited and thankfully my expectations were more than met. The drums, the bass, the voice and the riffs that are potentially the most recognisable of our generation all amalgamated into a mélange of anthemic rock. I can honestly say watching a field packed full of drunk Germans all jumping in unison whilst shouting “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” is an image that has been well and truly etched into my brain.
Sunday came and along with it more thunderstorms. Not those refreshing ones when it clears up straight away afterwards so you dry out and continue on your merry way, but one of those storms where it stays relentlessly cold afterwards and you find yourself sat drinking an overpriced lager watching Alterbridge and thinking “Is this is?”
I’ve always had my suspicions that the people who hail from the countries collectively known as ‘The British Isles’ have something written in their genes which allows them to spot a fellow islander in a foreign land from several hundred feet away. As the third day was pretty Blighty-focused it soon became apparent that we were hardly in a minority at all as the Queen’s finest (and you Ireland) came in their droves to watch a ‘we-know-it’s-raining-but-we’ll-do-our-best-to-make-you-dance-anyway’ set from Hot Chip (they succeeded fantastically by the way) a simply awful and massively disappointing performance from Kate Nash (who I’d been looking forward to see for quite a while beforehand) and a couple of tight-as-you-like sets from the Welsh combo of the Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers (the latter of which was my first experience of their live show and I was well and truly impressed).
Then it was bed time as a flight at silly o’clock was calling ahead of a day’s worth of travelling. Here’s a cheeky tip: spend the extra £100 to fly from your Northern city’s airport rather than spending an extra 10 hours travelling to London Stansted (which is barely even in fecking London – I might sue for false advertising) just because you can get a cheaper flight. It ain’t worth it.
After some well deserved recovery time I was off again; this time to the beautiful Latitude festival in Suffolk. A festival that’s catered as much for children as adults bizarrely enough as there were hundreds of the little buggers everywhere you looked. The setting itself is by far the best I’ve witnessed for a festival with everything being a short enough walk away from each other that you don’t have to create an S.A.S style plan with a minimum of an hour’s transportation time between stages (including toilet and tipple breaks of course) to navigate your way around.
Friday saw an enjoyable set from the fantastic Grammatics which although was unfortunately marred by frequent technical difficulties, still entertained those fresh enough to get to the main stage for midday and if this country has any sense then they should be much higher up the bill this time next year. Gravenhurst sounded like the soundtrack to teenage suicide note (which isn’t a bad thing per se; but the weather was far too beautiful and my spirits were way too high for me to fully appreciate his sullen works). Sandwiched in-between my musical adventures I managed to squeeze in a bit of comedy from the fantastically random Ross Noble and the utterly brilliant Russell Howard. I’ve been a fan of Russell Howard after seeing him on various TV shows throughout the past year or two and I’ve seen him live a couple of times since. I can honestly say he’s genuinely one of the best stand ups I’ve seen in my comedy attending career and I furiously recommend you all go and see him on his October tour. The man is brilliant.
The day finished off with a couple of enjoyable performances from Crystal Castles and Franz Ferdinand but the main highlight was the fish and chip stall giving me two bits of fish instead of one by accident. Unmitigated victory considering the fact that these fish must have been able to walk, talk and potentially solve basic equations if their cost was anything to go by.
I briefly mentioned the kids previously and I’m genuinely not lying when I say there were thousands there. It was a bit strange to get one’s head around at the beginning but it soon became apparent that the parents had accepted the fact that their kids were going to see a couple of unsightly visions during the course of the three days and probably put it down to “fantastic modern parenting” in their heads. All this said though, there was hardly any wrong-doing all throughout the festival. After performing no specific scientific research I can state that more crimes are (probably) committed per hour at your average Reading and Leeds festivals per hour than throughout the whole Latitude festival (all data for this non-existent research was provided by the “Consortium For Sweeping Generalisations”).
On Saturday I witnessed Wave Machines impress the new music seekers liaising around the BBC Introducing Stage, The Golden Silvers perform that one good track they’ve got, Team Waterpolo bounce around the stage in a fantastically energetic performance, Fan Farlo confuse everyone by replacing Ida Maria’s slot on the main stage but then impressing everyone more then she probably would have done anyway, The Coral put in the second best performance of the weekend with their mis-leadingly titled ‘acoustic set’ and then Elbow took the stage for what was my highlight of the festival.
Music is a wonderful thing. I may have mentioned this previously but it’s examples like this that reinforce that fact for me: I used to hate Elbow. I’m fully aware that hate is a strong word but I actually used to go out of my way to mention to people that I disliked them. I believe this initial dislike spurred from when they inexplicably toured as support for Muse on their 2003 tour where the only thing the two bands have in common is a song title. I was ready for a night of shouting, pogo-ing and sweating and Elbow simply were not the band who were going to warm me up for such verbs. After said gig I was happy to never hear from them ever again, to live in co-existent worlds in which never the two shall entwine, but then, five years later, I find myself washing the pots and listening to Radio 1 when Vernon Kay announces “here is the new Elbow track, ‘Grounds For Divorce’”. I realised I had no choice but to listen; although I’ve previously never wanted to listen to the latest UK urban music on 1extra so much in my life, my hands were awashed with suds and breaking the Freeveiw controller would have cast a shadow over myself and my housemates relationship causing an awful “flatmosphere”. But alas! It was bloody good! Brilliant in fact! Despite this audible ecstasy I still counted it as a one off and continued not to tell anyone that I was impressed by the Mancunians. Then I read five star review after five star review after five star review and I realised I had to cave in and get the album.
Never have a band changed my opinion of them so much as Elbow have with ‘The Seldom Seen Kid’. Just a simply fantastic album that is extremely worthy of its recent Mercury nomination and I thoroughly hope they win. There. I’ve said it. Happy now? I’M AN ELBOW FAN!
Apologies for digressing there, back to the festival.
Elbow’s set was utterly fantastic with Guy Garvey’s beautifully delicate voice accentuating his profound, clever and moving lyrics to a crowd who were left thinking “top that Sigur” after the set’s awesome finale of “One Day Like This”. Top bloody notch.
Just a quick mention of the one called “Milly” who came and sat with us to “borrow some heat” from our fire as the sun was arising that night/morning. She had a voice so plummy that is sounded like a parody of a parody of a posh person. Amazing scenes.
Sunday was a relatively chilled affair as the three days previous of “socialising” were beginning to well and truly catch up with us all. Frankie Boyle was crude, Grinderman was sinister and Blondie were pop-o-riffic and a rather lovely way to cap off a lovely, and thoroughly recommended, festival.
Two down, two to go. Bring on V and Leeds!
What I’m listening to this week: Sound Of Guns (especially ‘Alcatraz’ and ‘Architects’) and Abba. Also check out my updated Muxtape.
What I’m reading this week: For One More Day by Mitch Albom