Despite not getting any sleep, I woke up they next morning more determined to get a more varied taste of the music on offer. With a breakfast fit for a champion, Nutri-grain bars and Devil's Bit cider, I donned my Air Max with a double helping of fresh, dry socks and ventured out of my tent. The site looked like it was recovering from a night of devastating air raids with shell shocked civilians murmuring quietly in groups sipping from tepid beverages. I also noticed that I was losing the sole of my right shoe. Leber 1 Mud 2.
With no bar open until 2:00pm, I was kicking myself (with the one sole) for not smuggling in me "Devil's Bit". Despite my earlier promises not to mention too many of the negative aspects of Oxegen, I realise I have mentioned the "mud" on quite a few occasions. It just seemed omnipresent at times curtailing your full enjoyment of some of the acts, but in this one moment as I looked around this great field with Mayo and Galway flags proudly rippling in the breeze, muck savages in Wrangler jeans wrestling each other like baby hippos in the mud and a soft rain drizzling overhead, I realised there could be no better setting than this for ... The Saw Doctors. "Bale 'em, bale 'em, hayhay!" The doctors always deliver when on call and this time was no different. Unfortunately, I don't think they played my favourite Doctor tune, "To win just once". Ye'll have to watch the Dubs getting beat as well on this clip - how bad!
One of my favourite Saw Doctors tune is the background music on this strange Russian engagement montage vid (Possibly genuine Borat soundalike at the start "It's very nice")
Next up were electro-soul-dance group, Unklejam. There were on at about 1:oopm in the New Bands tent. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, as I don't really like their admittedly catchy, main hit.
But, they were outstanding. They have 3 glammed up lead singers prancing around the stage belting out the tunes and generally getting the crowd going. All 3 displayed fantastic singing voices in unison and solo at different stages. They did a great cover of "7 nation army" and one soul song that started slow and finished in fantastic crescendo (possible cover. Anyone?).
7 Nation Army
Their attitude was fantastic on the day and my impression of them was reinforced when I read what they said about the gig on their site, "Most people at festivals are just trying to survive, so their very last priority is to make sure they look half way decent. When you arrive at the festivals it's way too easy to get sucked into this 'who gives a shit' mentality, and I for one very nearly went on stage wearing whatever the hell I'd fallen out of bed in. BUT NO, not the Jam, we braved the cold, the mud, the rain and glammed up in true UnkleJam fashion and went on that stage like we were playing the Albert Hall. Big up the Irish, you were stunning, loving, and fkin loud! and we'll be back". I certainly hope so. A cracking live band.
Sunday 14:00 - I had just procured my first beer of the day and I decided to forgo the option of drinking alfresco as it was lashing. Headed for the Dance Arena on the condition that I would leave before the hour was up. I was treated to, what I thought was, the best DJ set of the weekend. No sleep the night before, soggy runners and insufficient helpings of the cure hadn't put me in the best of moods but Cagedbaby perked me right up. Not a big fan of electronica but he played a brilliant set that was heard by an arena only 1/3 full, but had my sorry ass dancing for the full hour. http://www.myspace.com/cagedbaby
True to my word, I headed to the Pet Sounds tent with my first helping of proper(ish) food in 2 days (thai chicken noodles) and a bevy to see Miss Kate Nash. Only "discovered" her a few weeks ago but she seems to have a huge following and the tent was full. Her set was quite short but was top class. She switched a few times from piano, which she plays really well, to guitar and was just a cozy beacon of loveliness amid the swirling elements of hangovers, mud and evil that awaited us outside. "Foundations" got the biggest cheer from a crowd that seemed to be very familiar with her material (mostly young and female...cashback!). I love this tune but I think she lets herself down with the lines "You said I must eat so many lemons 'cause I am so bitter
I'd rather be with your friends mate 'cause they are much fitter" - far too Lilly Allen for my liking.
Here is the video but the live version floored me in how it managed to be bittersweet, melancholic and yet really uplifting. Leber certainly felt much the better man afterwards. Leber 2 Mud 2.
More to follow ...