Dragonforce: Definitely a love ’em or hate ’em band, Dragonforce nevertheless know how to put on a great live show. Low on set paraphenalia, it’s all about how they translate their studio work onto the stage, and if it’s even possible. Having seen them twice I can answer that with a resounding yes- all that fancy, twiddly guitar wanking that makes teens explode in delight, fury, and jealousy in their bedrooms, they recreate flawlessly on stage. As musicians they can’t be faulted technically, and while the nonsense lyrics about fighting dragons with your brothers while the fire burns are suitably singalong enough to make you forget the silliness of what you’re actually saying. Between songs (first time round) there was a high level of banter between the band, joking, swearing, all the expected entertaining metal stuff. Second time round they were only a support band and it was their new singer’s first show- less joking, a few vocal issues, and a shorter, less impressive show. Still good, but clearly most people have tired of the fact that they aren’t trying anything new.
The Doves: This English band never quite hit the heights that some of their peers reached, at home or State-side. I was a fan of their first two records and quite happy to watch them in early evening Glastonbury. A good set heightened by the atmosphere and some over enthusiastic fans made this a memorable moment, even better as we danced in the light rain to Catch The Sun as the day’s last light faded.
The Darkness: I saw these guys just before they hit the big time. They were already a bit of a joke and a cliche, but there was something oddly refreshing about them. Plus they good play and put a strong melody against some interesting lyrics. The best moment was their high speed version of Street Spirit, completely changing the song into something which no-one thought it could be against the scorching backdrop of a South England morning.
Def Leppard: I grew up in the 80s, I watched MTV, I was a rock/grunge/metal kid. Def Leppard were on my radar and I liked the singles from Hysteria and Pyromania but even at that young age I knew that there was something different between them and Guns and Roses, between them and Nirvana- in other words between the bands that I really loved. Something smelly. Something cheesy. So yeah, as time went on I realised that they weren’t really very good. I saw them because Alice Cooper was semi-supporting them. A lot of the tracks I didn’t know and felt very samey and had that cheesy feeling I remembered. Plus there were a lot of drunk women who seemed to absolutely adore them but chatted amongst themselves during Alice Cooper. And that, my invisible friends, is a crime punishable only by having a litre of iced coke thrown at them from 2 rows behind and kicked down the stairs. Their husbands on the other hand played with their phones throughout both. That punishment is death.