My Isle of Wight Festival 2018 Roundup

A week on, what are the bands I rated – and saw – at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival?

As with previous years, we’ve camped, which means we also get in on the Thursday. Opening things up in the Kashmir Cafe, operated by the local Quay Arts Centre, staffed by volunteers, and running the best bar on the site, were local reggae favourites The Ohms kicking off the positivity that lasted through the weekend:

They’ve got a new album out which we picked up on the day – well worth a listen…

A couple of of bands later were Rews doing a White Stripes sort of thing. It would be great to see them playing the local Strings venue, which had its first birthday yesterday…

Friday saw the main stage open up, although I tend to avoid many of the acts there preferring to seeing the smaller bands. I was however surprised to be impressed by Rita Ora, not being really sure what a Rita Ora is…

Erm… anyway… That was actually on the way to see Southampton favourites The Novatones on the Hard Rock Stage:

Walking on from there, I was tipped off to 77:78, made up of a couple of ex-Bees, playing in the Kashmir. Psychedelia through a warm pass filter, with the positivity turned up to 11. Absolutely bloody gorgeous…

A couple of bands on, and Rusty Shackle made a welcome return to the Island:

Saturday started with a quick visit to the main stage to see Slydigs, a band who reminded me muchly of the Stereophonics with a dash of added Jet, fast songs and slow songs alike, albeit with a Merseyside accent:

A bit of a break then until another returning band who I saw a couple of times last year as Germein Sisters, and who came back this year as Germein:

They’re just about to tour as support to Little Mix, whatever a Little Mix is. Erm…

Next up, Blossoms, who seem to have got to early evening main stage really quickly. As a band, you see them for the songs, not the banal, characterless performance (shut your eyes and dance along)…

On the other hand, Sisteray in the This Feeling tent were engaging both musically and performance wise; punk rock politics in the style of Green Day, with a political attitude relevant to the internet age. Not sure I’ve ever heard a song with algorithm in the title before… Toptastic.

A quick diversion on the Kashmir Cafe for another pint of Yachtsman’s Ale, where I caught the end of island bluesmiths Confred Fred teamed up with Jojo and the Woods; powerful blues guitar and one hell of a voice from female vocalist Jojo (I presume…).

Then the rockin’ continued with Liam Gallagher on the main stage. At one point he apologised to folk griping he was playing Oasis songs. Erm. The only reason I was there was for a bit of a singalong to Oasis songs, which was fun enough. But it rather reminded me a bit of a covers band; who had no real ownership of the songs or how to get the original feeling out of them. So no video prize there…

After hanging around for the start of Depeche Mode – yawn, the sound was of its time and I wasn’t prepeared to wait an hour to be reminded of the songs I played on vinyl repeatedly over 30 years ago – I caught the always awful Bullybones (get p****d, make a racket in the way I think they imagined The Stooges used to) and then a band I caught the end of at Beautiful Days Festival last year – Noble Jacks:

Sunday started with an idle listen to Sheryl Crow

…cut short in favour of seeing festival regular Suzanne Vega:

Then a break and a rest under the trees by Cirque De La Quirk before regular island visitors Tankus the Henge did the liveliest set of the weekend with perfectly in keeping added circus performers, lasers and confetti cannons:

And finally, a three way clash between The Correspondents, Ska’d For Life and Travis. In the end I opted to see the start of Travis, but stayed to the end… The singalong was incredible and Fran Healy is just the nicest front man, wrapping up the weekend with wry observations and a lot of positivity… And the best singalong…

One band I missed several times was Reminders but I hope to catch them at Rhythm Tree Festival in a couple of weeks along with The Ohmz, 77:78 and Tankus the Henge… I’m pretty sure The Correspondents are there too, so I’ll get to see a bit more of what I missed at the Isle of Wight Festival…

PS early bird tickets for the Isle of Wight Festival 2019 are already on sale…

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