© Kate Goodacre, 2009

Bestival 2009 Clockwatch: Saturday, September 12th (Part 2)

© Kate Goodacre, 2009

© Kate Goodacre, 2009


17.00: My highlight of the weekend turns out to be Lily Allen. She struts around in a fabulous Barbarella outfit (without a doubt my fantasy fancy dress outfit of choice), and bravely battles several moments where the sound cuts out to deliver a proper festival set of sing-a-longs, BNP-baiting and inspired covers, ending with a gleefully filthy rendition of Not Fair. RW

17.35: Hip-hop karaoke? Wow! The Motel lack the (Dutch) courage to take part, but the first girl we hear is surprisingly good, prompting a shout of "JEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYSUS CHRRRRRRRRIST!" at 120dB from an apparently impressed compere. KG

17.45: During what could prove to be her last ever UK performance in light of her recently proclaimed retirement from music, Lily Allen is clearly in fine spirits (which may include vodka, gin and rum).

She plays her own hits LDN, Smile and The Fear alongside renditions of Kaiser Chiefs' Oh My God and Dub Be Good To Me by Beats International, somehow avoids an epic wardrobe malfunction in her minuscule silver backless dress, bitchily dedicates He Wasn't There to her father Keith (“who, strangely enough, isn't here!”, she announces), and plays on without a care in the word when the sound fails totally on three separate occasions. BT

17.50: This is probably the only occasion I will ever see a founding (male, and unnamed to spare any blushes) Motel contributor in leggings purchased from the (womens') section of a well-known high street clothing emporium. With a matching silver face. KG

Jack Penate © Kate Goodacre, 2009

Jack Penate © Kate Goodacre, 2009


18.15: Congregating for Jack Penate outside the Big Top's stars, it feels just like the old days. There are familiar faces aplenty, and even those who are unfamilar are warm and welcoming.

Jack's midnight show here in 2007 was good - not amazing by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid, danceable set. Since then, he's got a new live band, experimented with wider influences and dialled down the at-times contrived cheeky mockney chap act of Matinee.

During a relentless 45 minutes (save for a beautiful version of My Yvonne), Jack and company set the scene perfectly for a great evening. He may not be a trendy name, but his live band sure as hell know what they're doing. They could shift stacks of Jack's second album Everything Is New on their euphoric performance of Tonight's Today alone. Plus it's always great to see a band in which every member looks to be enjoying themselves just as much as the loyal aficionados in the front four rows.KG

19.00: The biography of Seasick Steve is a truly unbelievable narrative: A teenage runaway who learned the guitar, befriended Kurt Cobain, produced albums by Modest Mouse and won fame and acclaim as a solo artist in the UK, he has now won the ultimate accolade of a slot on the Bestival main stage after a sterling Bandstand performance in 2007.

Armed with an impressive arsenal of homemade guitars, none of which has more than three strings, he plays the rawest and most primitive blues. Brief respite comes only as he takes a heartfelt moment to serenade a swooning young lady chosen from the front row to sit in his dungaree-clad lap. And whilst the competition is strong, the prize for most surreal moment of the weekend is awarded towards the end of this performance, when a member of the audience crowdsurfs towards the stage on an actual surfboard. BT

19.30: Dodgy Curry = Seasick Rowan. Oops. Craft Work you say? La Roux-who? RW (🙁 - FM Ed)

20.30: The white noise onslaught of Baddies, who follow The Hives and The White Stripes in an illustrious lineage of uniformed rock bands, has all but emptied the Red Bull tent. Those that remain, including yours truly as well as Our Hedonistic Friend and one Scroobius Pip, are subjected to an assault on the eardrums in which only the most masochist of music lovers could hear merit. BT

© Kate Goodacre, 2009

© Kate Goodacre, 2009


20.45: OK. Make yourselves comfortable, it's time for the biggest Fugitive Motel about-face in our short and chequered history. At Glastonbury 2007, Klaxons were truly woeful. I think a certain FM editor may have even employed the words "about as tight as your average philanthropist" in ripping them to shreds.

Well, tonight I'm hanging my head in shame and, much like any vote-grabbing frontbench politician, it's time to take all of that back. Opening with a commanding version of Atlantis to Interzone that rattles the listeners' eardrums, they get heads nodding, feet moving, arms aloft... oh, and and turn any frowns through 180 degrees. Without the need for any drugs.

Klaxons really are brilliant from start to finish tonight. The Main Stage sound is spot-on for the first time all weekend, the band actually look and sound like they know how to play instruments and keep time, unlike at Glasto '07, and a posse of about 20 people all dressed as Freddie Mercury to our right are going absolutely mental. Whether it's their last show or not, they're still playing it as though it was. Simon even dedicates their now infamous cover of It's Not Over Yet to his mother, watching from the wings.KG

22.45: Witnessing the Vorsprung Durch Electropop of Kraftwerk ranks without a hint of hyperbole amongst the highlights of my year, decade, and, quite possibly, life to date.

What's more, it seems they have remedied the faulty soundsystem with a dash of Teutonic efficiency, allowing Trans-Europe Express, The Man Machine, Autobahn, Tour De France, The Model and Computer Love (as famously sampled by Coldplay on Talk) to be heard with all the clarity, detail and volume they deserve.

That these songs still sound futuristic over thirty years after their release is testament to their almost psychically avant-garde vision, and ongoing influence upon all forms of electronic music. And it is virtually incomprehensible how four men stood paralysed and anonymous behind laptops can generate such an overwhelming sense of communal intimacy, an atmosphere in which for the duration of their presence on stage, we are all the robots. BT

23.35: As a quartet of monochrome, anthromorphic creatures replace Kraftwerk for a sterling rendition of We Are The Robots, I'm dwelling on a wonderful performance in which the whole history of electronic music, pop and a myriad of dance sub-genres since the early 1980s suddenly makes perfect sense.

Kraftwerk's ambient beats still sound relevant now, and not only do I feel very privileged to have seen them, a whole litany of bands including Justice, The Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk would probably be in a very different place without their musical footprints. What a moment to savour. KG

words: Kate Goodacre and Rowan Woods
additional reporting: Benjamin Thomas
pictures: Kate Goodacre

www.bestival.net