Sunday, September 24, 2006

Summer Endings

Yesterday's Cohesion Live festival in Platt Fields was a qualified success. The weather was glorious and Platt Fields is always a great location. However, there were the longest beer queues I've seen for a number of years, and you have to wonder how we still can't get these simple things right? Musical highlight were an awesomely full-powered Elbow, getting better with every year, almost unbelievably. The rest of the main stage line-up was less stellar, pleasant rather than worth the admission fee, though each artist, from Graham Coxon to I Am Kloot, had its own following. I'd never seen Badly Brawn Boy, who drew things to a close, and he did all the things that had put me off seeing him before. His band were like a second-rate pick-up band who'd only been phoned-in the songs the day before, and he spent most of the stop-start set berating them. His streeturchin curmudgeonliness was as charmless as Robbie Williams at his arrogant best, and you got the feeling people would say, "oh, but that's Damon". His voice, never the finest of instruments was okay, but always vulnerable. I guess most disappointing were the new songs, all mid-paced, like something from a late-seventies Wings album. The best tunes of the night were those that weren't even his - Sister Sledge, Madonna and Taja Sevelle - and you realised that unlike those other riff-thieves, Oasis and White Stripes, who steal and then make it their own, Badly Drawn Boy draws attention to his postmodern stealings, and leaves you...well, with not a lot really. With a good band, inventive production and better songs, his first 3 albums were all excellent, but since he's neither Elton John or the Scissor Sisters live, a little more grace would be nice. The audience seemed to like it though by this stage it was mostly born again Christian music students with their soporific boyfriends, swaying to the slow bits. Put me down as ex-fan, I'm afraid. It was hard to get away from the main stage (and the beer queue) so I missed the Longcut, but earlier caught the KBC who were very good in a Franz Ferdinand/Kasabian/something of their own sort of way, and Stubbsy aka Stubbs the Band who had the best voice of the day, outside of Guy Garvey. The Cohesion event goes to creating a Manchester Peace Park in Kosovo, a reminder, in the week of the Labour Party Conference, that military intervention can be justified, and that the effects of war - civil or otherwise - don't go away when the journalists move on.

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