The Pretty Reckless – Heineken Green Spheres Tent
In the odd category of non-music-based celebrity performers today, The Pretty Reckless (or The Pretty Rockness, as the Green Sphere’s tent’s line up poster lists them) is the clear winner. Sure, that’s largely because the competition if absolutely dire, but to be fair to Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen, she really can sing. At 17, fronting a heavy rock band in your underwear and what looks like a motor-racing crash barrier see-through dress takes some balls, but Momsen brings what really matters, in screeching and squealing her way through a set that feels a million miles from celebrity self-indulgence. It works, and while it might feel slightly wrong to the post-teens like ourselves in the audience to watch such an overtly sexualised performance from a woman of that age, this certainly is heartfelt and at times manically yet tunefully heavy. There’s an air of a model version of Courtney Love to Momsen, fragile yet pointedly aggressive and sure of herself in a kind of backwards, assertive way. She’s not about to break up the rock n’ roll hierarchy, but the band is very, very watchable. And yes, we do mean in the musical sense.
Eliza Doolittle – 2FM Hot Press Academy Stage
Eliza Doolittle and her four-piece backing band and two backing vocalists draw a huge crowd on the Hot Press stage, and if one things for certain, it’s that the pint-sized singer has one of the best voices on offer this weekend. At just 23, it already seems like Eliza’s been around forever, and she plays like she’s strolling down a street in a fashion commercial. Strangely, that comes across like she absolutely owns the stage, especially when shes goes tearing down the front row offering high fives, or perches briefly at her tiny piano before leaping back into action. It’s a delicate yet confident performance, one reliant on a boisterous cuteness that permeates both her lyrics and general demeanour. Of course, the entire set is a build up to closing, monster single ‘Pack Up’, but tracks like ‘Rollerblades’ and ‘Go Home’ certainly don’t let the side down, either. Based on today’s show, Eliza probably deserves a touch more attention than she gets.
Beady Eye – Main Stage
Ah, Mr. Gallagher. Beady Eye’s debut Different Gear Still Speeding might be a passable effort if you’re into the Brit-Pop throwback thing, but let’s face it, it’s hardly a dramatic change in style. Throwing in a touch of blues piano on top of the front man’s trademark gurning, crowd-abusing collection of on-stage affronts creates just one feeling: it’s like watching Oasis, except 20 years after their peak, and minus every iconic track they ever wrote. Sorry Liam, but for all the attitude in the world, Beady Eye – and your vocals in general – belong to another era. Without the classics, this just doesn’t cut it. File under ‘you never know, they might reform for the money’ and hope Noel does better, as Beady Eye –like Oasis’ less notable moments – are just dull.
The Vaccines – Heineken Green Spheres Tent
Now this is how a rock show should be done. The Vaccines are fiery, snappy to the point of abrupt and – lyrically – so inane it’s almost embarrassing. Having said that, spend a few minutes in front of their live show and you’ll see just why the odd media outlet has them tagged as the saviours of rock. We’re not sure rock needs saving, but the likes of ‘Wreckin’ Bar’, ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ and ‘If You Wanna’ cause the kind of manic front-row leaping that has even the bouncers cracking a few wry smiles. Any signs that front man Justin Young might still be struggling with those delicate vocal chords are brushed aside in a blaze of glory, with smooth, leery vocals and on-stage bounciness the band’s greatest live assets. And that’s before the even get to ‘Norgaard’, which is as good as 90 second piece of accessible rock music’s ever likely to be. Put aside the fact that most of their lyrics are genuinely, comically awful and these guys are lovable as hell, and we can’t ask for much more than that. Though Young’s exes might…
Photo by Peter Neill.