Get Loaded Festival, Clapham Common, London <!-- none onestar twostar fourstar fivestar -->

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The proliferation of festivals this Glastonburyless summer led to this: a south Londoners' Sunday in the sun, more like a local fair than a corporate festival. It finished with a face-off between two iconic modern British songwriters.

The crowd's mood was caught by the excellent De La Soul, and their raucous, positive hip-hop. They were followed by three largely female acts, with Northern Ireland's The Chalets' playful punk-pop the pick. Their bratty energy wasn't quite matched by the Pipettes, whose simulation of Spector girl groups was more impressive than their songs. And though Lily Allen's "Smile" is the song of the moment, her laughing demeanour here undermined its urban-underside lyrics.

The Young Knives' were equally chirpy, their musical resemblance to The Futureheads somewhat redeemed by their comics attitude. But the lack of any pretence at threat, unimaginable at a rock festival pre-Coldplay, continued with punk veterans Buzzcocks. Greeted with a few flying beercans they might have been, but the grateful dancing to "Ever Fallen in Love" showed the cosy oldies act they've now become.

Graham Coxon's fresh-minted Buzzcocks-esque riff "Freakin' Out" nodded to their influence a little later, in a punk-minded, confident if anonymous set. But it was left to Sussex mavericks British Sea Power to play provocative music, building from birdsong to an overwhelming fanfare.

Badly Drawn Boy, aka Damon Gough, was trapped in the second stage tent as Pete Doherty's Baby Shambles played the main stage. Gough was evidently incensed at Doherty's notoriety, and the reasons for it, as he began his new single, "Born in the UK". It's an ambiguous, epic statement about our nation, sung with fire.

Doherty was singing his own national anthem, "Albion". He looks a fragile sort to have such a storm of expectation placed on him, and his voice and songs are similarly wispy. But he let that music state his case, especially with the Clash-reggae clatter of "What Katy Did Next". "No one's been shot yet," he noted, before falling to the floor for "Fuck Forever".

Though Babyshambles weren't brilliant, it was a necessary statement of professionalism. Between them, Doherty and Gough also reminded an amiable festival that rock'n'roll involves rage and risk.

Comments