a short site about The Divine Comedy

V Stage, Saturday, Chelmsford, Part 1

Eddie Smack endures Athlete and Pink

Big Brovaz start the day on the V Stage. Their Outkast-gatecrashing-a-Destiny's-Child-video schtick is actually quite entertaining, bringing the first ever burst of feedback and utterance of the word 'shit' at V ever. Ironic though, that the last decent tune we will hear for the next eight hours is that of 'My Favourite Things'.

Ice-picks in poseurs and blisters on Hannons. Career-sliding arseholes all tied up with string. These are a few of NME's favourite things. "I only arrived fifteen minutes ago," Neil Hannon tells the twelve people who are interested at the opening of a so-nearly-avoided atrocity by The Divine Comedy, and a curse upon all those of you who failed to leap in front of his back-stage buggy as it raced towards the stage.

Approximately 20,000 people waiting for Athlete have to sit through a truly appalling set of watered-down brit-fop tweeness including some jazzy twaddle called 'The Happy Goth', the godawful 'National Express' and an oomp-ah version of Queen Of The Stone Age's 'No-One Knows', which single-handedly disproves the existence of God when they are not struck down by His mighty ire halfway through.

Athlete make music for people who don't really like music. It's their third year in a row playing V! Break out the Marks & Spencer apple wine, Gwendolyne!. Unfortunately Athlete are a poor man's Elbow, who are a poor man's Doves, who are a poor man's Spiritualized. Which makes a lot of poor men you've got to go through before 'El Salvador' starts to sound like anything other than dreary-arsed chav-folk for people who know not the meaning of 'rock'.

But hang on! The giant spikey turnstile inflatables are unfurled, the trousers are set to 'pubic' and heeeeeere's PINK! Let's get the party started! Or, actually, let's not. Let's cover 4 Non Blonde's 'What's Going On'. No really. If God was a DJ, he'd have cleared the entire fucking club and He'd be frantically rummaging through his record bag for 'Hey Ya'.

Swiftly losing the will to live, this correspondent here happily admits to reviewing FAITHLESS' 3,725th V appearance from under a table in the backstage NME portacabin. And, strangely, they sound great, their ten-years-out-of-date house honkery vastly improved by the chatter of backstage liggers, a heavy closed door and Nottingham Forest vs Leeds United on digital radio.

Eddie Smack
Strongbow rooms, NME.COM