'The most powerful rock group in the world'

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 15 06:58:55 CDT 2004

>From The Guardian at:

Isle of Wight festival 
3 stars out of 5
Seaclose Park, Newport 

Betty Clarke
Tuesday June 15, 2004
The Guardian 

Too gentle for the decadence of Glastonbury, the Isle
of Wight festival gives parents a chance to point at
wizened heroes and justifiably declare that music was
better when they were young.

With just one stage, only the biggest hitters survive.
Snotty upstarts die in their denims and one-time chart
heroes realise a greatest hits album isn't enough to
secure iconic status. Legends aren't made here -
they're dug up. 

Not that it bothers the Stereophonics, content to
trawl through their back catalogue. Snow Patrol seem
grateful just to play. The Manic Street Preachers,
however, won't rest on their laurels. "If it sounds
shit, it's because it's new," James Dean Bradfield
says by way of introducing Empty Souls. A gorgeous
gothic stomp, it sits easily among gems like Little
Baby Nothing and From Despair to Where. 

But the casualties come thick and fast. Jet stride on
stage with AC/DC riffs and glam-rock rhythms tucked
into their skinny belts - but it's not enough. The
Stands also fall victim to the crowd's fear of the
unknown, their fragile pop musings failing to compete
with the barracking over the price of burgers. 

With the Libertines having to pull out of the festival
thanks to Peter Doherty's enforced holiday at a rehab
centre in Thailand (bandmate Carl Barat hijacks the
Charlatans' set to offer an apology), it is left to
the Ordinary Boys to cause a sensation. The band grabs
the opportunity by the throat. Frontman Preston tears
into each hymn to dissatisfaction, his face contorting
with teenage angst. 

It is 40 years since Pete Townshend went through his
rebellious stage, but you'd never know it. With a
windmill thrust of his arm, he propels the Who through
the sour bubblegum of Substitute, the menace of
Quadrophenia and the prog-rock of Tommy. For two
hours, the Who prove why they remain the most powerful
rock group in the world. 

David Bowie is more artful about his history. Dressed
in an expensive coat of rags, he looks like a sculpted
Fagin as he nimbly cherry-picks past glories and
intersperses them with songs from his last album,
Reality. He kicks off with Rebel Rebel from 1974, yet
refuses to be anything other than contemporary with a
steely cover of the Pixies' Cactus. The Man Who Sold
the World is still otherworldly; All the Young Dudes
remains anthemic, Bowie smirking at the competition
and commanding the stage with just a flick of his

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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