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Issue 1084

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V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire: 21/08/11 Day Two

Tinie Temph: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11
Tinie Temph: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Jessie Jay: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Plan B: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Bruno Mars: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Bruno Mars: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Bruno Mars: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Bruno Mars: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Labrinth: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Labrinth: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Chipmunk: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Chipmunk: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Chipmunk: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Whiz Kalifa: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Whiz Kalifa: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Whiz Kalifa: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Professer Green: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Professer Green: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Yasmin: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Yasmin: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Jessie Jay: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Jessie Jay: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Tinie Temph: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Plan B: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11 Maverick Sabre: V Festival, Weston Park, Staffordshire 21/08/11

So. Check my list for day two. I walked bloody miles yesterday between the four stages. Blisters on my foot, and on my hands from carrying heavy camera gear. 21 acts that B&S readers would like to read about, and see pix of from today. Here on my own. Iâll do my very best.

Fun Loving Criminals opened the main stage on Sunday. Huey and the band in suits and shades. Scooby Snacks went down well, and their whole set was as fresh as if they were new kids on the block. Good to see them back. Huey was in fine and jocular form backstage in the artist area, with various people thrusting CDs in his hand â no doubt for his BBC 6 Music show.

Ziggy Marley followed FLC. I missed him. Shame. KT Tunstall was on third. Perhaps not really B&S fodder, but for cracking music I have to credit KT for her rousing, big crowd pulling main stage set. Nice to see an acoustic guitar as lead instrument on the big stage. She is in fine voice and looking pretty fit. Another mention in dispatches must go to New York sister duo The Pierces, on the Undercover stage on Saturday. Discovered and produced by Coldplayâs Guy Berryman. They were superb. Forget genres. Itâs great music. There was quite a lot of that about over the two days.

Act four on the main stage came on a bit earlier than scheduled, and had us snappers running to the pit. Bruno Mars started as he meant to go on. While I was shooting pix of another artist backstage, I heard the sounds of sax, trombone and trumpet and an ensemble of voices, making their way across the grass to the stage. It was Bruno and his band. I loved their set and how damn funky it was. He is a great front man, with stacks of charisma, versatile voice, a lady killer smile. Soul oozing out of every pore. Lovely guitarist too.

Hot band. They found that groove and nailed it from the off. Close to capacity daytime crowd. Huge energy on that stage. At times they dug deep and it was like James Brown was back from the dead. So flippinâ funky. The biggest cheer came when they did one of the songs of the year, âThe Lazy Song." Bruno gave my personal joint fave performance of the two days (with Fitz And The Tantrums on Saturday.)

Current chart fave Aloe Blacc pulled a big crowd for the 4 Music stage early on Sunday afternoon. Teasing them with the chords from his big hit âI Need A Dollar,â early in his set. But making them wait until the very last song of a 30 minute set to hear the sing-a-long winner of the weekend, in full. A cracking performance from this like-able star.
Most at V are like a kid in a sweetshop - trying to choose who to see next and which stage to frequent. Impossible to get to see everything, and sometimes acts clash. Disappointing when you miss someone you really wanted to see. Like Wretch 32. Tucked away under the blue Arena stage marquee, early on Sunday, a few hours before it was announced he is number one in the UK chart with âDonât Go." I was elsewhere. Bugger.

But I did see this guyâ¦â¦â¦Labyrinthâs voice was superb in his set. Backed by two keyboard/synth players, a drummer and Labrinth plays keys too in some songs. Joni Mitchellâs âBig Yellow Taxiâ pops up as a sample in the first song. He tells us he is a âV fest virgin,â but this is his 10th festival. Later we get a sample of the timeless NWA track âExpress Yourself,â and he certainly did for his time on the Arena stage. Surely earning a place on a bigger stage for next year. Five stars from this writer. Same for cheeky Chipmunk on the same stage a little later. He has such an infectious smile, and grinned all the way through his set. He just knows he is good. He has some strong material and a fine voice. Perhaps failing geography, telling the crowd: âI know you like a drink up North.â Midlands mate. The Midlands. Strong set, and I look forward to catching him again real soon. If he has a map!

Wiz Khalifa blew us all away. Breathtaking performance. All the way from Pitsburgh, and weâd have all gladly chipped in for his air fare after that explosive V festival debut. Whiz, like Eminem, was at the Belgian festival on Thursday which got hit by a freak storm where people died. That was all forgotten today, when he triumphed in the UK. âBlack and Yellowâ got the biggest reception. The bomb.
No need for superlatives sometimes. Professor Green was very good. Had a big crowd on the Arena Stage and gave the fans what they wanted. He gets better.

Silliest shoes of the weekend award goes to Yasmin. Iâd bet she gets altitude sickness wearing those muthas. How the hell she lifts her feet, I do not know. Massive black platforms. Could have done with them in the pit to take photos, with the main stage so damn high. A small crowd for her set, but she delivered a low key but pleasing show for her dedicated fans.

Jessica Ellen Cornish, aged 23, or Jessie J to you and me, was was slagged off for being carried round the V festival at Chelmsford on Saturday. At Stafford, she hobbled on to the 4 Music Stage on Sunday afternoon on crutches, with left leg in a protective surgical boot. She sat for all but a few seconds of the gig, on a reproâ antique chaise lounge type padded white sofa, standing just for a few bars of one song. She told the crowd she had been in great pain that day with her leg and had cried her eyes out that morning, but refused to cancel the show and let her fans down. Then ironically, she launched into Stand Up, which she couldnât.

The two V appearances that weekend were her first shows back since scrapping a bunch of them because of her busted foot. Despite her incapacity, she gave an assured and rousing performance and was in fine voice. Some of her vocal acrobatics were world class. She has a cracking band, and young bassist Phil Simmonds was left to do the leaping about and getting on his knees in front of her. She lay down on the sofa to sing âDo It Like A Dudeâ to huge reaction from the crowd. âPrice Tagâ and âNobodyâs Perfectâ were as on the record. Sheâs bloody good you know, and not just a pop singer. Letâs have her work with some of the US star RnB producers, and then we will see what she is really made of. Her voice is good enough. B&S wish her a speedy recovery from the nasty leg injury.

Tinie Tempah was watched by Jessie J sat at the side of the stage by the monitor mixing desk. His aide poured a bottle of JD into a decanter ready for TT before the set. Dregs from the bottle dripping into the pit and one of my snapper colleagues standing underneath with mouth open to catch it! Luish. No sign of any Lucozade Sport, which TT helps advertise! Tine turned in a tremendous performance, with one of the best reactions of any artist from the crowd that weekend.

It may have helped when he told them that they were better than Chelmsfordâs V festival crowd the day before. His number one hits âPass,â and âItâs Written In The Starsâ all got an airing, as did âFrisky,â and âMiami 2 Ibiza,â âInvincibleâ and âWonderman.â He earned his place, his applause, his two Brits in February - and swigs of JD in the hot Sunday sunshine. Giant performance from a man named Tinie. Dizzie Rascal headlined the 4 Music stage on Sunday, and did the business, with one of the best tracks of the decade for me; âBonkers.â Dressed in red shiny leather jacket and white cap, he pulled a big crowd, and fine renditions of âJus A Rascalâ and a great cover of the Prodigyâs âWarrior Dance.â

Plan B, aka former UK hip hop artist turned blue-eyed soul boy Ben Drew, gave what may be his last âThe Defamation Of Strickland Banksâ set. With the CD cover of âStrickland Banksâ theatre sign backdrop on stage, the star wore a smart jacket and black tie, looking slick and smooth. The kind of respectable 25-year-old young man a girl could happily take home to meet her parents. A contrast to when I encountered him in the VIP area, and asked to take his picture. I got one moody shot, then he stuck his finger up into the camera and grabbed his crotch, to signal the end of my time! Behave you rude little sod. My son is older than you and has the same name! But this Benâs his set was classy and confident. His strong song-writing skills shone through on âWritingâs On The Wall,â âThe Recluseâ and âShe Said.â Despite his arrogance off stage, Ben earned his pay that day. Wonder if he wants to buy one of my pictures of him?

The âpapsâ were out in force seeking out the VIP celebs. I watched Colleen Rooney queue for the VIP area loos with a giant minder by her side. Michelle Keegan (Tina in Corrie) was looking very sexy, there to support her fiancé from The Wanted. They were joined by a fellow Wanted member, and his lady from the girl band The Saturdays by the pit, to watch Rhianna.

Hollyoaks girls and guys seemed well oiled on Saturday. Olympic gold star Rebecca Adlington was there. Corrieâs resident lesbian Sophie Webster, actress Brooke Vincent walked by me in the crowd, being totally ignored. There were a few Big Brother stars, and a certain Dane Bowers knocking about. Some Z listers I cannot recall right now.

Mrs Rooney could have afforded to fork out £3 for a super loo. Or even £2,600 for the weekend to hire a Podule. A posh tent with A/C, power shower, plumbed in loo, fridge, double bed, linen and towels. Or maybe a designer shed for £1,100, but sheâd have to share communal VIP showers and loo. Cannot see that happening, can you?

Crime stats were lower than last year on the site, 77 arrests in 2011, and most were for drugs or theft from tents. Also a few minor assaults and public disorder. From 85,000 people per day, that is an incredible achievement. About 1600 people were treated on site by the medics, and 40 taken to hospital, including burns from a gas stove and a man in his 30s with a heart attack.

There were two âsecretâ gigs over the weekend â Hard Fi on day one, and The Enemy on Sunday. Not for me ta.

I managed to cover about 25 acts â and many miles on foot - for words and pictures over the two days â and two interviews/photo shoots backstage. But I was very disappointed to miss a few artists. One was 21-year-old Irish lad Maverick Sabre, who myself and B&S are tipping for big things.

I did catch up with him backstage for a chat and some pix after his storming set, so watch out for that interview coming soon. Even before his debut CD is due out in October this year, they were turning people away from his set on the Undercover Stage on Sunday afternoon. The word is outâ¦..Heâs hot.

So, for a guy who usually hates huge festivals when I am working them and therefore cannot drink, I came away sad it had ended, and I am now scratching 365 days on my wall at home, until the next one. But Eminem can kiss my bony arse if he turns up and wants me to take his picture! Ask Plan B. Iâve heard, he likes camerasâ¦.

*Special mention for all the sound guys who did a brilliant on all four stages. I heard only a few seconds of feedback over the whole weekend, and no one could moan that the sound was anything other than exemplary. Not an easy job. Well done chaps.

All pictures: Simon Redley
Words SIMON REDLEY

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