The Rubberbandits, Main Stage
What’s a Sunday morning without a good strong dose o’ mass? As the campers crawl out from under their hangovers to face day three of the gauntlet and mingle with the very fresh-looking day trippers arriving in their droves off the buses, The Rubberbandits are in their element on the Main Stage providing revellers with their own unique brand of religious experience. Backed by a team of gyrating altar-boys and a supporting cast including Judas Iscariot and God himself, Blindboy Boat Club & Mr. Chrome put on an extremely well worked out show which proves the perfect way to start the day. Please repeat the responsorial psalm – “I’ve a horse outside”.
The Saturdays, Heineken Green Spheres Stage
By day three if anyone is still struggling with the notion that pop reigns supreme at Oxegen, a quick trip to the Heineken Green Spheres Stage would’ve proved a point – mainly because they wouldn’t have gotten in. The Saturdays quite literally packed the place out – it’s all sexy outfits and synchronised struts but these girls can sing, and the reaction to chart hits such as ‘Ego’, ‘Higher’, and the super-fun take on ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ cover is rapturous. It’s a hero’s welcome home for our very own Una Healy, and she responds accordingly by encouraging deafening chants of ‘Olé Olé Olé’. Sure it’s cheesy, but also rather endearing. The Saturdays are no Girls Aloud and probably never will be – but they certainly ain’t no Wonderland, either.
Fight Like Apes, Vodafone Stage
Success inevitably brings promotion up the bill at festivals – and Oxegen 2011 sees Fight Like Apes set free from the confines of a tent and into the great wide open. It’s no small challenge considering they’re up against the might of major pop draws The Saturdays and Ke$ha, but fresh from a series of UK festival slots including an acclaimed performance on the prestigious John Peel Stage at Glastonbury, the Apes more than rise to the occasion. It’s a colourful affair – the boys clad in neon morph suits which leave little to the imagination, and painted mannequins dotted around the band’s stage setup. Fight Like Apes’ festival set-list is spot on – the only brief respite from the hyperactivity is ‘Thirsty’, which goes down a treat. ‘Digifucker’ proves the highlight, heralded by MayKay and Jamie scaling the side of the stage to bash their beloved scaffolding poles together (with their new mannequin friends very soon afterwards feel the wrath of said scaffolding poles). If there’s one downside to Fight Like Apes in the great outdoors, it’s the limitations on the traditional venture into the crowd for ‘Jake Summers’ – restricted by the lack of cordless mic and a rather large gap between the stage and the front row of the crowd, stage diving antics just ain’t feasible. But where there’s a will there’s a way – and kudos to Security Guy #2011 who seemed completely unfazed as the leading lady clambered atop his shoulders and hitched a ride to greet her adoring fans in the front row. A wholly entertaining performance from Fight Like Apes. The main stage beckons.
Photo by Peter Neill.