by / July 11th, 2011 /

Oxegen 2011 – Saturday: Deadmau5, Big Country, Fox Avenue

Deadmau5 – Vodafone Stage

And so, for the second year running, it’s a dance act that headlines the second open air stage at Oxegen – another indication that the festival is moving in a very different direction to its original brief. Up against the Foo Fighters, the choice for the audience is clear and those who prefer their music a little less organic have voted with their booted feet. Like Swedish House Mafia last night though, there’s no doubting that this is a spectacular show but again you have to wonder just how much substance lies beneath the glitz. The introduction of a vocalist on ‘Sofi Needs A Ladder’ provides a welcome change of pace but ultimately we don’t think much of Deadmau5 on record and that effectively stands tonight, albeit a very bright and shiny version.

Big Country – Main Stage

We have to admit that we approached this one with slight trepidation. Much as we loved Big Country way back when, you have to fear for their chances today. While we assume that they received a hero’s welcome at T In The Park, the chances of them doing the same at the youthful Irish leg is slim. So yes, we’re not exactly having to battle our way to the front but the band aren’t faced with an empty field either. The other problem of course is that isn’t really Big Country, not as we knew them at any rate. Mike Peters of The Alarm steps into the shoes of the departed Stuart Adamson and he – plus his band members – are showing the signs of middle age. Luckily, the songs have weathered a little better and we can’t helped but feel our chests swelling to their stirring Celtic rock anthems. They even manage to instil some life into the crowd with the closing double of ‘Fields Of Fire’ and ‘In A Big Country’. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless.

Fox Avenue – Heineken Green Spheres

Ah, our old friends Fox Avenue. This time last year a fairly innocuous review created a veritable storm in a message board tea cup and here we are for a second round. Little has changed since our first encounter; it’s all hugely polished and utterly unthreatening. Every second seems pre-planned and thought out, captured by a their own onstage camera crew. Jackets are removed, girls scream and a bag of condoms are scattered amongst the audience for some reason – along with some slightly saucy comments. Ask us to remember any of their songs though and we’re stumped. But, hey, what do we know….?