by / July 10th, 2010 /

Oxegen 2010: Plan B, Republic Of Loose, The Capitals and more

It must be a daunting experience opening the main stage at a major festival at the best of times, yet throw in the occasion of the release of your debut album and the fact that the weather is verging on the biblical and it would be understandable if Eliza Doolittle had merely come and gone without much fuss. As it is, the very factors that could have so gone against her actually work in her favour. The crowd huddled in front of the main stage are clearly in need of a boost and fortunately get just that. She’s clearly being groomed to fill a space if Lilly Allen does decide to give up music and is some way off filling those particular shoes, yet her bright and breezy pop is a cut above most.

With the IMRO Stage gone this year there is no real concentration of Irish talent, with the bands that are here dotted around the site at largely unsocial hours. The Brilliant Things open proceedings on the Vodafone Stage and are largely awful, a throw back to the bad old days of Irish indie music. They throw in a Blondie cover early on but all it does is make their own shortcomings all the more obvious. They are followed by Fox Avenue, who seem to be on a mission to become our very own Jonas Brothers. The three piece aren’t bad in their own way (the piano is quite nice) but we do wonder why we need a junior Scouting For Girls today when the frightful real thing is soon to be upon us.

The early part of our day, however, is completely made by our discovery of The Capitals . The youngest band ever to play the festival, they are here with far more intent than just to make up the numbers. The Red Bull Stage (this year in far more accessible position) is not packed by any means but those that are there are having the time of their lives. The music is basic enough guitar rock but they do it with a conviction beyond their years and, in Evan Dempsey, they have a lead vocalist with a classic raw rock n roll voice. One band we will most definitely be exploring more in the near future.

Republic Of Loose are a long way further down the road, yet still find themselves with a mid-afternoon slot – albeit on the Vodafone Stage. Quite where they’re at as a band we’re not too sure, and the initial moments of the set seem to portray a band who have lost their edge and we start to feel that this is a band who promised much but just never got their just deserts. We should have had more faith, however, as things start to click. The presence of a range of musicians and vocalists on stage adds to the party atmosphere, with some of the weight being taken off Mick Pyro’s shoulders and countering his posturing with a welcome female edge. The crowd respond and soon the pit is a steaming mass of jumping bodies. They play some new material and the usual old favourites and we depart in the knowledge that it might not be over for the Loose just yet.

The transformation of Plan B from angry young man to angry young soul man in a suit has been one the year’s most surprising turns. It’s obviously struck a chord, though, with commercial success and a massive welcome today. He cuts an imposing figure, backed by his be-suited band, and is unquestionably brilliant. The tracks from the new album work far more well than they have a right to, at times sounding like Rage Against The Machine playing Northern Soul. However unexpected, Ben Drew has found a way of getting to the hear of the music that has influenced him and created his own, totally authentic, version. He leaves to an absolute ovation and deserves every last second of it.

  • Leanne

    here, do not start saying crap about fox avenue. i’ll have you know that both jonas brothers and scouting for girls are famous and successful. That is soon to be fox avenue too. they are super nice, good looking, talented guys. They make great music and love keeping in touch with their fans.

  • Kathy

    A junior Scouting For Girls? Fox Avenue were picked for Oxegen for a reason, because they are a really good band who have worked their asses off to be where they are today.. they out so much effort into their songs AND shows.. They aren’t trying to be anything. If you ever review a show of theirs you should pay more attention before writing a review like this..

  • Shannen

    Fox Avenue have barely been around a year and already they have played the 02, toured Ireland and now they’ve just played Oxegen. That band “who seem to be on a mission to become our very own Jonas Brothers.” have a HUGE fan base and have played these shows for a reason.

  • Rebeckie

    Fox Avenue, a junior Scouting For Girls? Well, both Fox Avenue and Scouting for Girls are amazing, lovely guys, great live. Oh, and as for the Jo Bros bit, they are another great band. Fox Avenue deserved to play Oxegen, they work hard at what they do and are not trying to be like anyone. They are themselves, and they’re fans love them for this.

  • Fiona

    Fox Avenue can not be compared to either the Jonas Brothers or Scouting for Girls! Their music is way different and tbh, better in my opinion! Fox Avenue are amazing guys who have achieved so much this year and worked very hard for it and I’m sure they entertained the crowd at Oxegen much better than Scouting for Girls could have!

  • Ashley

    Fox Avenue are NOTHING like you have just described! If you had actually taken the time to do a bit of research on them instead of just throwing out a couple of random names of three piece bands of all boys that are nothing like fox avenue you would realize they are getting huge! Don’t be jealous of the boys. They are talented, genuine, good-looking guys with a real future in music and when they are playing stages all over the world you’ll be kicking yourself for putting down such amazing home grown raw talent. And at the end of the day they’re the ones people came to see, they’re the ones on stage and they’re the ones selling out shows and going so far when you’re just the one behind the pen writing really inaccurate reviews about them!

  • Lauren

    Fox Avenue are a great band who fully deserve the success they’re getting. they’ve worked so hard for the last year and they’re so good to the people who listen to their music. they put so much into their live shows and are original, not like a lot of musicians lately.

  • Lisa

    ARE YOU CRAZY….i watched both fox avenue and the brilliant things, and both bands far surpassed my expectations ,and was blown away by both performances….This is one thing that really p**sses me off , Phil Udell ,your opinions and taste do not reflect those of your readers…… seem so out of touch with reality and judging by this above review ….i am convinced you truly dont know what you are talking about …. thank god you don’t get to voice your opinions much, and on the very rare occasion that someone is stupid enough to publish you, its clear you are an idiot ..

  • Mark

    i loved the brilliant things.they were one of the highlights of the day for me.

  • Aine

    by saying fox avenue are like both the jonas brothers and scouting for girls you’re implying that both these bands are also similar.

    Scouting for girls sound NOTHING like the Jonas brothers who in turn, sound NOthing like Fox Avenue.

    Fox Avenue are ONE year old, and supported the massive 30 Seconds to mars in the o2 ARENA, did an Irish tour with the ever-successful Scouting for Girls, and SOLD OUT their FIRST EVER headline show in the acadamy in dublin.

    above all, they got BILLED FOR OXEGEN. they’re not even a signed band yet, and have done all these things.

    EVERY COMMENT bar one up til now has told you how stupid they feel this opinion is., I reccomend finding some new reporters who DON’T just google random bands to find out their history and try to link them to music which sounds NOTHING like them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find the author of this review spent his time (a) Drunk or (b) sitting sadly and bitterly in a tent pondering the unfairness of his life and taking it out on Fox Avenue while the show goes on.


  • Niamh

    Dearest Phil Udell,

  • Niamh

    Dearest Phil Udell,
    You suck. That is all.

    Niamh. πŸ™‚

  • Machaela

    Dear blatantly wrong journalist,
    As the above comments clearly show, your opinion on Fox Avenue isn’t very popular. I would appreciate it if you actually wrote the truth & took the time to actually RESEARCH the acts you attmept to write about. Do not compare Fox Avenue to Scouting For Girls simply because they supported them. You clearly have no real knowledge of the band and it seems to me that you have just googled the information you provided on them.

    Yours Faithfully,

    P.S. Idiot, you suck. πŸ™‚

  • Niamh <– here is what you have considered to be good music.


    That is all. Enjoy.

  • Lola

    s’cuse me, but your website says

    ”Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.”

    you have stuck to all these guidelines except the first. BE NICE.?!?!?!?!?!? you didnt, so I wont.

    It’s as if you went to see your favorite bands and wrote awesome reviews of them.
    Then threw in a couple of nasty nasty nasty remarks about ALL the other bands playing.

    WHY? that’s what i would like to know…

    all we can assume is that you are a sad ignorant bitter angry little man. not that we should be commenting on your personality, but thats all we can gather….

  • Phil Udell

    Dear Editor.
    I’d advise sacking your “reporter”.
    Just saying πŸ™‚

  • Jenny


    I must say that I agree with the above comments regarding The Brilliant Things and Fox Avenue. I saw both bands a few months ago supporting Carolina Liar in The Academy – both bands impressed me then and made an even bigger impression on me yesterday afternoon.

    I got word of The Brilliant Things plan to do the first guitar solo on an iphone at a European Festival so made sure I was going to see them, at 3pm there was no one else worthwhile seeing. I really enjoyed their sound and fair play to them for getting up there at 3pm – it can’t have been easy. I’ve just bought their EP and it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to hear more from them. Did you stay for the full set??

    Fox Avenue really knew how to get the crowd going. To refer to them as seeming to “be on a mission to become our very own Jonas Brothers” – if they can get to that height of success,why not? They’re certainly appreciated and loved by their fans.

    You said that there was no real concentration of Irish talent without the IMRO stage, why don’t you help and encourage the upcoming talent instead of slating them? They were chosen to play at Oxegen, obviously MCD know that people want to see them.

  • Sally

    Oh how wrong you are , the brilliant things were great , we stood in the rain loving every minute , i think i may have seen you there PHIL , you were the dry S**t in the middle standing still while the crowd around you were going mental… i missed fox avenue , but i do have to say if i could have seen them i would

  • James

    I must have been at another gig ….
    The Brilliant things were Epic
    in fairness not a huge audience but it was lashing and they were first on

  • Leanne

  • tune

    Hi Phil,
    I feel sorry for you in this position have a job and not knowing what to do, and very sad, and sadder still and know that in these times of recession so many people without jobs and you so incompetent with this work, changes of profession you are completely lost I feel sorry for you Phil.
    good luck.

  • phoney

    …and people wonder why Arcade Fire got such a low turn out!

  • FYI folks… “Phil Udell”, Lola, Niamh, Machaela, Aine, et al appear to be one and the same person suffering from an itchy set of typing fingers (and, more worryingly, a split personality).

    We suggest they take two spoonfuls of Calpol and consult the dictionary for the word “objectivity.”

  • Chillax folks, i’m sure Fox Avenue are more than able to deal with a bad review. In fact, i’m almost certain that they will hold the viewpoint that people should really be allowed to think what they like about their music and that instantly falling in love with their sound shouldn’t be a requirement.

    And Patrick, not too sure that objectivity can really come into something like music…the whole point of a review is to give your feelings on the event/band/release in question. What do you want the author to say? The author didn’t like Fox Avenue…big deal.

    I don’t like em either…but sure as hell wouldn’t expect everyone in the comments to like what i like, or speak ill of them for not doing so.

  • Hannah

    Fox Avenue fans need to chill.. This is a review that Phil Udell wrote, if he didn’t think Fox Avenue were great then it’s his job to write about it! Criticism is necessary. He’s hardly going to lie just so the fangirls will be satisfied. It’s a review written by Phil Udell, therefore it is Phil Udell’s opinion. “P.S. Idiot, you suck.”
    These comments are ridiculous and unbelievably immature. Grow up.

  • @Shatterfreak, when I was talking about objectivity I meant that the writer of those comments should take themselves out of fanboy/girl mode and look at the bigger picture.

  • @ Patrick, my apologies mate, completely misread your post.

  • No worries!

  • Interestingly, by clicking on the Retweet link at the top of the page I’ve just found the Twitter accounts of two of the commenters above. They were dumb enough to leave a trail of tweets detailing their little conspiracy.

    “we should leave a fake one now ‘OMFG i cant belief yhu said da abouu daragh quiltys band omg der brill loike'”

    Kids, eh? I blame the parents. And the teachers for that awful spelling. πŸ˜€

  • Fiona

    I’m not a kid nor a fangirl and I take offense to both those labels! Fox Avenue are an amazing band and no matter your age or gender they have a wide appeal and I’m sure were amazing at Oxegen!

    @Patrick: We aren’t kids and most of us can probably spell better than you.

  • Ha, thanks for proving my point! πŸ˜‰

  • What a predictable review.

    Bitch about small Irish bands (Brilliant Things), be vaguely optimistic about old standards (Republic of Loose) and glorify this years hot thing (Plan B).

    This being my 8th time at Oxegen/Witness, let me first clarify that Brilliant Things did a great job as an opening act to such a small crowd, shame on you for clearly not even trying to give them a chance, the only song you mentioned being their cover. The fact you saw the Capitals means you clearly didn’t stay for very much of their set at all, in that case you can’t review their set, merely the first 5 minutes!

    And Plan B were perfectly ok but it wasn’t a second coming or anything close. This raving over them simply because NME and Hot Press have told you they are amazing is pathetic, a slightly above average band and nothing more.

    And no mention of Andreya Triana, the definite hidden gem of Fridays line up? The lady that all who saw her are raving about, the daring of several high-profile blogs already?

    Well done Phil Udell, truly your future as a Bin-man is secure.

  • Nic

    Hahahahaha….sorry guys, but not everyone has the same music taste as you, m’kay? That’s why there are so many bands out there. How many of you have been at a gig and thought it was great and your mate didnt like it at all?…more than one I would wager. How many of you have gone to see your favourite band more than once and they preferred one gig over another? This is why we all love music so much – its why we listen to new music and enjoy the thrill of it.

    This is too funny. Never heard either band in my life but I’ve definitely read worse reviews – this is hardly vitriolic – or at least not as vitriolic as the return comments in any case – if you all like the bands that the review likens Fox Avenue to, how could you call this a bad review? Still, its given me my daily laugh.

  • @Patrick,

    Thanks for the Retweet heads-up. That was hilarious reading!

  • haido

    haha so sad these fangirls defending quilty’s over-rated boyband who were in fact a joke on friday..I didnt see The Brilliant Things but The Capitals were definatly in a different league to that Fox Avenue bullsh*t

  • anon

    oh just eff off with your “fangirl” shit. these people are just sticking up for a band that they like. they have every right to voice their opinion.

  • haido