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V Festival, Weston Park – Saturday 16th August

(By Neil Crud)

V Festival - very hardcore, as someone so eloquently put it on my message board. S'pose the idea of a festival is to take as many drugs as possible, wallow in others people's shit and piss, have your tent slashed open & ransacked, & not remember a fuckin' thing about the whole weekend. Which is probably why we always opt for the safer bet of a corporate sponsored event like this rather than the unsafer bet of a corporate sponsored Glastonbury full of drug pushers & drug takers. Yes it is the same here if you go looking for it but I made do by freebasing Strongbow (very hardcore).
Being dab hands at this our 3rd visit to V (see other reviews), Mr & Mrs Fatman & myself were well prepared & knew the drill; get there early Friday afternoon, get Fatman's brother to save a pitch, bring ice cold alcohol, get wasted on Friday night. A simple but effective formula. We met up with the Fatman entourage (all 14 or so of them) by breaking into the adjoining campervan site & funked out into the night.

The Zutons had the honour of opening proceedings on the NME stage & you could tell immediately where they were from by their musical style - that Liverpool scene style; very funky guitar stuff with a saxophone. It must be a good buzz to be the opening band as you can spend the rest of the day getting wrecked & abusing your Access All Areas privilege. I've always been wary of bands with saxophonists, it always put me off Spear of Destiny until Kirk ditched the brass section. The Zutons however do it well & the song Pressure was pretty damn good. It was a very short set, probably only 20mins & normally as a band you'd be disappointed, but this is way beyond playing at the Zanzibar.

Next up The Stands, is this a Scouse Festival? The number of Liverpool bands on this year is tantamount to just how strong the scouse scene is these days, even if every band is called 'The' something. The Stands are very Cast-u-like in their style & vocal sound & the 10mins of free-form did lose the crowd's attention on the fringes but from my vantage point it was excellent chill out stuff.
This year it is the festival of t-shirts, & an early front-runner for t-shirt of the year was 'I Fucked Debbie Harry' - what a great slogan (if only it was true). I also clocked a stall selling '4Q' t-shirts which did piss me off enough to buy one & complain about copyright infringements.

We saw James a couple of years ago at this festival & it was like seeing an old friend, the next time we saw Happy Mondays, which was alright for a laugh & like seeing an old drug-taking partner. This year it was the turn of the Inspiral Carpets but it was like seeing your mate's fat dad making a twat of himself on the stage. What inspires [sic] bands to encourage the audience to wave & clap at festivals? The Inspirals were awful & I really like their stuff.
Morcheeba chilled out the afternoon with a cool vibe from their very cute singer, they should've really played the Sunday morning 'hangover-slot' to get the full hit, but they did really kick start the festival from Fatman's point of view.
I managed to hit the hard ground at great speed while racing Fatman to the bogs, I reckon he planted a divot there to trip me up so he could win. Anyway it added a little colour to my white legs as my right knee came up a beautiful purple & while queuing for a Pataks Chicken Masala, Mrs Fatman mentioned she had earlier seen Rick Wakeman taking a piss in his psychedelic shirt.

We met up with Fairziff who had safely manoeuvred his bright orange VW camper into position, walked straight past Noel Gallagher & wife & promptly introduced us to his crazed friend Scottish Trevor & his equally deranged wife Jules.
The full on scouse phenomenon continued with The Coral, a band I had often wondered if they could pull it off live; yep, they could. I always find it a problem to write about a band who've been written about a thousand times, so I'd best leave it to the hacks & wonder what made Fairziff go & watch David Gray.
We met back up with Fairziff who wondered why he went to watch David Gray then split again as myself & the Fatman couple headed for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but it was all a little too much, far too many people to get through to get anywhere near a decent view point, so we saw them on the big screens. You could say it would've been easier to watch them at home on the telly, as we were so far away what we were seeing was out of sync with the music as the sound had so far to travel. We should've gone with Fairziff to see Underworld for this is what he had to say about them…

Underworld - V2003, Weston Park, NME Stage, Saturday 16/08/03

(by Fairziff)

So 50,000 festival goers missed a trick!!!!! Unlucky!

With a crowd of no more than 2000 watching, Underworld turned out to be the highlight of V2003!
In a world where being different no longer means following the loudest 'indie' band, Underworld sorted the men from the boys.

With the Chillis on the main stage, it was always going to be a quiet affair. But the smart, and by definition, 'alternative' people were in for a real treat!
A couple of years ago, you wouldn't have seen a band of the stature of Underworld at a festival with any less than 40,000 people in attendance, so tonight's offering would turn out to be the most intimate (and friendly) crowd to grace the prescence of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith for many a year.
The plebbian's that are the 'lager,lager,lager' generation were refreshingly absent from the NME Stage as Underworld set about their work.
It would be easy for them to sit back and revisit 1997. No such thoughts here!
Their set was as perfect as Diana Dors' clevage!

Well presented, full of passion, 100% British and totally upfront!
'The King of Snake' came as a timely reminder that Underworld still rule the analogue waves. Only eclipsed by the ultimate in festival experiences that is, and always will be, 'Born Slippy'.
As a chain smoker and an avid drinker, this set left me no option but to abstain for the duration! (only similar experience would have to be The Alarm at the Royal Court in 1986-ish)

Yes, I like a drink.

Yes, I like a smoke.

But I liked Underworld more!

I can imagine that Underworld roadies find more discarded Morphine prescriptions than any other band, such is the mesmerising experience that evolves.
The light show was incredible, and when the lasers finally exploded across the grounds, the set erupted!
Definitely a 'festival moment', but I would imagine that for a long time to come, people will be writing about similar experiences whilst in the presence of Underworld.

Other V2003 Fairziff highlights include…
Getting in a spin on the Bungee Ball with the Crudmeister himself (video to prove it - Fucking top!!!)

Hooking up with the Ambleside Posse (complete with airhorn) and of course hanging out with Trev and Jules - aka The Doddleston Massive!

Most surreal experience was..............

The rave in the T25 VW Camper - Complete with Laser Lightshow and Holographic curtains!

In Despatches............

Notable mentions go out to the 118-118 guys who were last seen (by me) at 4.00am on the Monday doing stretching exercises in the Campervan area!

V Festival – Sunday 17th August

By Steve Sync

Having only bought a Sunday ticket for this festival, it meant I had to drive down to Weston not only suffering from the aftermath of a stomach bug, but also, the previous nights whiskey abuse still lingering. Braving the journey down with me was a mate called Chris who watched in awe of my hung over driving skills, leaving him speechless for most of the journey. Once we’d arrived, Chris thanked me as I eased his fingernails out of my dashboard, and we made our way to the campervan site where we met up with Farziff (actually we woke him up), who looked a little fragile after a hard nights partying with like-minded campervan fanatics. After a surprisingly great breakfast of bacon baps cooked on the Fairziff VW stove, I started to get that festival feel, one I haven’t felt since Phoenix 94. We made our way to the incredibly laid out arena, where we met up with Crud, Mr & Mrs Fatman, and friends and family of the Fatman clan.

After a swift pint of Strongbow, it was time to take our position for Echo And The Bunnymen (a Fatman favourite) who were superb, playing a greatest hits set, and a very impressive one at that (a must see for any music fan if they tour again). After a spot of lunch (beef madras with naan bread and rice) from the curry van, washed down with a couple more pints of ‘The Bow’ we took a scenic position under some trees to watch Damian Rice who didn’t do much for me, but I was informed by the rest of our group that he suited the occasion. Next up were Athlete who I also had no affection for before this event, but was slightly converted to as my body relaxed into the festival atmosphere.

Probably the main reason for me coming to this festival under the strain of illness and alcohol abuse for this last day of the festival was Killing Joke, one of my all time favourites for many years, who have just released a superb come back album of astonishing quality, with some of the best material they’ve ever released. Crud and Fatman, also huge fans of ‘The Joke’ joined me as we eased our way through the increasing crowd to the front ready for an onslaught of pure genius. Fatman and myself got talking to another excited Joke fan, who had similar thoughts to me on their new album, and had last seen the band in 1985 on their ‘Nightime’ tour. We were rudely interrupted mid conversation by Crud lurching forward to catch a football which was being kicked and punched around by the waiting mass of KJ fans. Crud booted the ball skywards, and looking up, I noticed dark clouds forming above, this could only mean one thing… it was time!

The band took to the stage, Jaz Coleman had his black and red war paint on this afternoon and he also sported a rather fetching black over garment which had a large white spider drawn on the front, and animal (or were they human) bones dangling down the sides. The fizzy synth stab of Requiem started up, and things got underway, Paul Raven strutting around, eying the crowd with that ‘Don’t I know you’ look on his face, Geordie one of the best and most relaxed guitarists to grace the stage, creating that unique guitar sound which has become a trade mark over the years. With such a vast back catalogue from the last 25 years to choose from, they picked a superb set to cram into the 35 or so minutes they were given including new and old classics such as - Wardance, Total Invasion, Blood On Your Hands, Whiteout, The Wait, Pandemonium, and Psyche. Jaz Coleman remains one of the best rock vocalists in the business changing from soft mellow tones to blood curdling, bollock ripping wails. The band tour the UK in October, and you should make a point of seeing the masters at work.

Happy, but slightly annoyed Killing Joke didn’t play a longer set; we stumbled back to the bar for more liquid ammunition. Re-loaded, we decided to chill out in the dance tent where Goldfrapp took to the stage, and were just the job, with the angelic voice of the vocalist and the immense sounds and noises from the technical wizard behind the keyboards and computers, I lay zonked but happy at the back of the tent for most of their set. Walking from the dance tent Crud, Fairziff, and myself were watching the bungee cage ride propelling festival goers skywards, an awesome sight to watch alone, but this wasn’t enough for Crud and Fairziff as they handed over their £20 each to the booth assistant, and entered the cage to be strapped in, and catapulted (photo’s were taken, but might not make this review). With big grins from them both after they were released from their adrenaline hit for the day, we strolled back towards the NME stage taking in The Foo Fighters as we walked. Turin Brakes were in mid set in front of a huge crowd considering FF were playing the main stage, and gained more respect from a fussy music lover like me after I saw them live. We then walked back to the main stage where Coldplay (not one of my favourites) were playing to the largest crowd of the festival. Unimpressed with them, Crud, Fairziff, Chris, and myself walked to a nearby club/bar for a drink, where the DJ was entertaining the small clique of Coldplay haters with – The Undertones, Joy Division, New Order etc, quite a nice change of tone for the day. Once refreshed, we arrived back at the NME stage where Feeder were a few songs into their set. I’ve seen live footage of Feeder before and I knew they would impress me, and they ended up being the perfect headliners, with great songs (songs you’d recognise without realising they were Feeder songs) and superb musicians who are rising up to the stardom they rightly deserve. Another drink, and a stroll round the fair; it was time to meet back at the tents with the rest of our gang. We were invited to a party outside a mobile home where loud music pumped out of the vehicle until the wee hours. As I sat in a camp chair, chilling to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I had chance to reflect on what a day I’d had, and although a shock to the system at first, I realised how much I’d missed festivals such as these over the last few years.

Next year, I may book the weekend here, if my liver can handle it.

V Festival - through Fatman eyes

(by Andy Fatman)


Crud untraditionally early, the fatmans traditionally late… crud mobile used to carrying kitchen sinks… this time , it’s everything but.
The fatman festival survival kit of immodium, lager, sun cream, cider, resolve, and plenty of red wine.. Oh and water to brush teeth & wash bits with, in place, off we gooooo…
Hit over the head by the audio unslaught of the darkness played at us on the way down…..(fatman needed some con vincing, convinced he was)
Heads down , tents up (tho a remedial job on the poles of chez crud is required) the first of the weekends treats is necked…. & again, & again!
Immodium kicking in nicely the fatman party(ies) start in earnest… a trip up to the top campsite via the busted fences find the whole fatman contingent… sister & partner, stack (fatmans big, big bro) & partner, plus 15 0r so of stacks homies in converted removal vans complete with sound system, that make winnebagos look like school buses…host to almost any/everyone looking for some hop, grape or herb.
Note to driver/ editor…we never learn. We over indulge on the very first night, with no thought of own safety (fence panel on mrs fatmans head… god , she was lucky) and then suffer the consequences on one of the hottest days of the year thus far.

This is our third V festival visit, on the the first we saw James, on the second we got HappY Mondays, this year we endure the Inspirals…
James were brilliant, the Mondays were washed/smacked up , this was just embarrassing….from Madchestetr to Sadchester… next year, what? Northside?
A quick run through some of the hits, Boon trying, and nearly succeeding, to be cool , Hingley failing terribly, & The rest of the band left to pick up the pieces. I’m left hoping for a M.E. Smith guest appearance for "I Want You"… sadly, all we get is the video with some shout overs..
This must be how it feels to be lonely, and now I just feel small.

On our way between stages, I was really looking forward to this….Mrs Fatman needed to heed The Call, so being a gentleman, and having a full pint on the go, I waited with her in line, and waited, and waited… from the location of said amenities I caught most of the set, and after 15 mins of trying not to look like I was cottaging, when she returned, I said what I thought… what a fucking amazing voice, he just needs a good band/songs behind him… The Charlatans, maybe??

I make no bones about it these were one of my main reasons to come….
Dragging a slightly reluctant Crud & Sync down to the very front @ 1.00pm was a task of sorts, but to leave Fairziff, the 2nd Duke of Charmingdom alone with Mrs Fatman unaccompanied at the back, was I quite mad? It didn’t matter to me, ,cos The Mac, The Sergeant & co led us through a greatest hit set that was undoubtedly the highlight of my weekend. The confident swagger of McMulloch vs. the sheer musical genius of Will Seargent brought us "Songs To Learn & Sing" ( I suggest you do), plus the greatest comeback since Lazurus "Nothing Lasts Forever" by way of "Walk On The Wild Side"
Every song got at least the hairs on the back of the neck standing to attention as well as on the back me legs. Shut the fuck up out of the little Evertonian scallie right in front us , good job, or we’d have had to. The Mac was of to watch Liverpools’ opening game vs Chelsea, Mr Seargent was headed for better things. See you in November, boys.

The Appleton Sisters were obviously pissed off with my " playing hard to get" tactics from my last V Fest (see review) so they decide to gang up and return the favour, or was it that Mrs Fatman was with me? A gutter for Fairziff , who’s just paid a Philipino girl £20 to keep his place in the queue (better ways of spending that much, my friend, long time)

A blessed step up from the "L2 STAGE" acts that have gone before us…
They showcase most of the first album with "Pass It On " the biggest crowd pleaser
A crowd that included amongst others, a nutter, his mate & their bird who all took offence when I took out my police-style notebook whilst reviewing the set………….

Thus subjecting most of my reviews to a Strongbow/Carling/Budweiser/Seven Hills soaked haze of near memories

V Festival – Monday 18th August

By Neil Crud

I stayed at the campervan party long after the rest of them had gone to bed, until, full of Strongbow I staggered my way through the tents, pulling up guide ropes as is whittled my way back to my canvas home of 3 days. Steve Sync had earlier trotted off back to his van & got soaked in the rain having spent an hour looking for it in a field with 10,000 cars. So this morning the Fatman crew got me up and we did the bacon butties one last time with some chili sauce from the butcher's in Conwy. The site was clearing fast, a lot had gone home last night & the bulk earlier on this morning leaving Weston Park strewn with litter. As we shuffled the last bits of camping equipment to the car there was a bloke stood by a tree who was duly crowned for having the best t-shirt of V2003. It said; 'Midgets Make Me Laugh.'

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