The Isle of Wight Festival celebrated its 50th year in June, here’s out 5 favourite artists from across the weekend:
Bang Bang Romeo
Bang Bang Romeo have gone from strength to strength over the years, though the main-stage performance at the Isle of Wight Festival becomes a pivotal moment in their existence. Having traversed a whole manner of stages at the festival over the years, 2018 marks the beginning of an entirely new phase for the band, one which will no doubt propel them to the TOP!
With festival promoter John Giddings confirming that the Doncaster formed band’s crowd was the largest an opening artist had ever seen in the festivals rich 50 year history, it is no wonder that Bang Bang Romeo left the Isle on a high. The power of lead singer Anastasia Walker’s voice is seen in tracks such as ‘Invitation’ and ‘Natural Born Astronaut.’ With an improved back line and stage design to compliment their performance, it is undoubtable that the four piece will one day headline festivals in their own right.
Despite all this, the day twinned with the release of new single ‘Shame On You.’ It is spell bounding in the live setting and put many of the artists who followed on the main-stage to shame. High in production in studio and powerful in the festival field, the new single will no doubt form the soundtrack to Bang Bang Romeo’s rise to the top.
Liam Gallagher was once vocally unreliable in Beady Eye, or at times totally unpredictable in Oasis however, his consistency as a solo artist has been second to none. With a set formed of Oasis classics and hit tracks from debut solo release As You Were, it was clear that Gallagher was on top form in his most comfortable setting – the top of a festival billing.
Opening with ‘Rock ’n’ Roll Star’ and ‘Morning Glory’ as expected, the inclusion of ‘Bold’ and ‘For What It’s Worth’ quite rightly proved the credibility of the Manchester born singer’s recent releases. However, the set was Oasis heavy leading to lustful sing-alongs from the excited Isle of Wight crowd. ‘Bring It On Down’ and ‘Listen Up’ can now both be classed as rarities in the live settings, though it was ‘Live Forever’ and ‘Wonderwall,’ a double encore, which brought the set to a meaningful closure.
Tom Grennan is the next British megastar, his debut album drops this July and is already doing the promotional rounds. With his image splattered across the London Underground, it was Grennan’s turn to brace the Friday evening slot at the Big Top, the festival’s second stage.
Hits such as ‘Sober’ and ‘Praying’ are already anthemic classics. Grennan is a natural frontman none too dissimilar to those from the early 00s albeit with a far superior voice. It is this which makes his musical reach unique, as seen through the diversity of the gathered crowd. Closing with ‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ and ‘Something in the Water,’ it was clear we were witnessing the start of a MASSIVE 2018 for Tom Grennan.
James Bay may be one of the nicest guys in popular music however, his new songs incorporate aspects of lustful love affairs and lascivious encounters. All of this is done with good effect, opener ‘Pink Lemonade’ is lyrically telling in the most basic of manners. Its catchy guitar chords and effective chorus makes it an opening track worth dying for. ‘Wild Love’ and ‘Just For Tonight’ both featured from latest album Electric Light, already a clear favourite in the eyes of his adoring fans.
However, classics such as ‘Let It Go’ were met with huge cheers and Bay, who just days before supported the Rolling Stones at the Twickenham leg of their No Filter tour, was clearly enjoying an aura of confidence and natural comfort on the massive Isle of Wight main-stage. Closing with ‘Hold Back The River’
Given that Depeche Mode were the metaphorical curtain closers to a day featuring Liam Gallagher and Blossoms, it was quite right to be somewhat apprehensive about the kind of crowd who gathered to watch them end a day which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Isle of Wight Festival. However, their journey through the ages of moody 80s synth pop was spectacular.
A slow start, only rescued by ‘It’s No Good’ was dramatically forgotten with an impressive live version of ‘Personal Jesus.’ Rarities such ‘Somebody’ and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ (tour debut) were impressive.‘Enjoy The Silence’ was, however, the most powerful of all. Lyrically beautiful, rhythmically intense, it is an era defining song of world defining proportions.
They may be beyond the years of peak popularity, or perhaps even drifting out of mainstream relevance, but Depeche Mode certainly managed to keep old fans happy whilst at the same time gaining new admirers.
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Image Credits: David Rutherford, Callum Baker
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