The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Review of Day Two of Oxegen 2009

Review Snapshot: Day Two of Oxegen 2009 was all about rain, rock and roll.  Despite the weather, or maybe because of it, the majority of acts seemed to up their game and reward their audiences with performances that defied the best efforts of the elements to ruin everyone's day.

The Cluas Verdict? 9 out of 10
Full Review:

The Blizzards live at Oxegen 2009Red Light Company (The O2 Stage)
They might be more than a little obsessed with Broken Social Scene but Red Light Company appear to have perfected the art of daytime festival performance.  Think Feeder.  Considering the impending weather the crowd were in good spirits and were rewarded with rousing renditions of Scheme Eugene (name check Broken Social Scene) and Arts & Crafts (Broken Social Scene Label).  Perhaps a little too sameish for my liking but still, not a bad start to day two.


General Fiasco (IMRO New Sound Stage)
Having arrived in the IMRO New Sound Stage to see Angel Pier, I was told that they had swapped slots with Northern Irish band, General Fiasco.  Initially, I was disappointed as Angel Pier had been one of the bands I really wanted to see.  However, General Fiasco soon proved themselves to be more than capable replacements.  Any band that can manage to sound as melodic as Vampire Weekend and as edgy as Therapy? are going to do well.  Definitely a band I will be checking out again.

Eagles of Death Metal (The O2 Stage)
While it might not be full on cock rock, Eagles of Death Metal come close.  There are some good tunes in there (Cherry Cola being my particular favourite) but EODM appear to be a band that are more intent on entertaining than on showcasing their own songs.  A cover of Stuck in the Middle with You had the audience dancing in the rain.  Jesse Hughes is a charismatic frontman and constantly thanked the audience for braving the rain just for them.  I'm not sure why but I was expecting Spinal Tap, turns out Eagles of Death Metal offer so much more.

Regina Spektor (Heineken Green Spheres)
And now for something completely different.  I'm very much a casual follower of Regina Spektor's career, indeed it was my wife that suggested we watch the Russian born American.  Not for the first time, she made the right call.  There was a lot of fun in this performance and, despite the awful ground conditions in the tent, Spektor had the majority of the audience dancing to her melodic brand of anti-folk.  Eet, On The Radio and Us going down particularly well. 

TV on the Radio (Heineken Green Spheres)
After a brief foray into the backstage area to interview C O D E S for their Oxegen diary, I made my way back to the Heineken Green Spheres tent to catch what appeared to be everybody's 'must see band' of the weekend.  This meant there was a good mixture of fan boys and casual observers in the tent when the band launched into Golden Age.  Musically, the performance was well above par but as energetic and vibrant as it was, it would have been so much better if I had been able to hear anything other than muffled vocals.  Sometimes soundmen have a lot to answer for.

Director (IMRO New Sound Stage)
By the time I got in to the IMRO tent the ground was as muddy inside as out.  This led to the security guys having to restrict the amount of people who could enter.  The folks outside mightn't think so, but this was certainly the right decision.  As for the gig itself, Director were excellent.  Diving head first into Play Pretend the band got better and better as the gig went on, culminating in a brilliant version of Reconnect.  The first of my trilogy of Irish bands had gotten off to a great start.

C O D E S (IMRO New Sound Stage)
Fresh from penning a deal with EMI, C O D E S managed to draw a great crowd, despite the fact they were clashing with The Pet Shop Boys.  Previewing tracks from their forthcoming debut record; This is Goodbye, Cities and the sing-along Algebra were my favourites.  I've written before that this band have a sound that are destined for greatness and, once more, they've proven themselves more than capable of living up to those lofty ambitions.

And So I Watch You From Afar (IMRO New Sound Stage)
I have a feeling that the quality of music coming from north of the border will play a huge part in my overview of Oxegen 2009 (to be published on Wednesday July 15). And So I Watch You From Afar will almost certainly feature.  This was one of my favourite performances ever, not just this weekend.  It's my job to try and put into words what I see and hear before me but with ASIWYFA that is easier said than done.  It is heavy instrumental rock, well that's what it says on the label.  It is so much more than that though.  There is melody here that simultaneously makes your hair stand on end and punches you in the face.  If it ain't broke, break it and The Voiceless (dedicated to 'the quiet one in The Pet Shop Boys) were my favourites but only because they were the only tracks I knew beforehand.  However, I have a feeling I'm about to become a lot more familiar with the rest of And So I Watch You From Afar's catalogue.

Steve O'Rourke

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Nuggets from our archive

2005Michael Jackson: demon or demonised? Or both?, written by Aidan Curran. Four years on this is still a great read, especially in the light of his recent death. Indeed the day after Michael Jackson died the CLUAS website saw an immediate surge of traffic as thousands visited to read this very article.