Saturday’s line-up was arguably the weakest of the three full days of the festival, with no big name appearing until Iggy Pop on the Main Stage at around 7pm. However, this did give us the chance to explore the smaller stages and tents once again, in order to check out some lesser known, up-and-coming acts.
My day started where I had begun the festival experience on Thursday at the Jack Rocks tent, for London four-piece, Judas. The running order was slightly behind schedule, so the quartet didn’t take to the stage until gone one o’clock, despite a scheduled time of 12:40. This delay didn’t seem to phase them however, as they jumped straight into a very professional and complete performance that showcased the ability to secure a big break at some point in the near future. Not only was the music impressive, but the image of the band was on point too; all four members were dressed fully in black and looked liked they belonged together – too often do young bands not synchronise their look, but it’s these little things that’ll get you noticed and recognised. I have no doubt that if Judas continue in this way that you’ll be hearing them on mainstream radio stations in the very near future.
I then took the short walk over to the Big Top in order to catch Bang Bang Romeo; an indie rock, female-fronted four-piece from Sheffield. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bear to stay for too long – a track and a half at most – as I came to realise that whoever described this group as “a hard-edged Fleetwood Mac” probably had a screw loose… The vocalist didn’t seem to offer anything more than glorified shouting down the microphone, which just became unbearable. Maybe I caught them at the wrong time during their set, but I was quick to leave and headed towards the Hipshaker Lounge for some upbeat fun.
I got there just in time to catch the tail-end of a 40s-inspired set by The Three Belles. The trio met at the University of Portsmouth and started the group following their mutual love of The Andrews Sisters. Having previously performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Royal Albert Hall, The Savoy and The Ritz to name but a few, their experience showed as they put on a joyful and accomplished set. The tent was pretty packed with those at the older end of the age demographic, but they were all loving life, dancing along to some old classics.
I then ventured back to the Jack Rocks stage in order to catch Fronteers. The quartet from Kingston-upon-Hull are perhaps one of the most exciting young and unsigned bands out there at the moment. This showed with how many turned out to see them, with the tent overflowing with people bopping their heads and tapping their feet. But what perhaps showed off their popularity the most was the fact that other bands had come especially to watch them, including Costellos who opened the stage on Thursday and The Sherlocks, who have recently made huge strides in the industry. With a quadruple A-side EP coming out next month, you can be sure to see more of Fronteers in the future.
The Hard Rock Cafe Stage was my next destination, where St Albans native Laura Jeanne delighted the small crowd with a short, but sweet acoustic set. Unfortunately the positioning of the stage so close to the Main Stage meant that during breakdowns or between songs, you could hear whatever was being blasted through the much larger speakers some 200 metres away. Jeanne didn’t let this phase her however, as she treated those in attendance to a couple of covers sprinkled amongst her own originals. Her latest single ‘English Rose’ stood out as her best work, giving the fashionista a chance to show off her impressive vocal range.
The BT Sport Field of Dreams then unfortunately took precedence for many festival-goers, including myself I’m ashamed to admit, in order to catch the day’s matches occurring in France for Euro 2016. A sea of red shirts flooded the grassed area to watch Wales open their campaign against Slovakia. If the line-up on the day had been slightly better then perhaps not as many people would have migrated to the area to watch football instead of watching musical acts. I did manage to pull myself away from the big screen in order to catch Iggy Pop before the England-Russia game, however.
Don’t get me wrong, Pop does look in great shape for a 69-year old who has experienced the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle for the past 50-or-so years; but I can’t help but feel it won’t be too long until he decides to wear a shirt of some sort to cover himself up again. His set started off very promisingly with arguably two of his most successful singles, ‘The Passenger’ and ‘Lust For Life’. These two tracks made the crowd almost as lively as Pop himself, jumping and dancing around whilst chanting along to the choruses. However the joy was short lived as he delved into the rest of his back catalogue, which regretfully made him sound like a drunk uncle performing karaoke at a family wedding. The couple of The Stooges tracks he played towards the end of the set helped to lift spirits once more with ‘1969’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, but I ultimately came away with the overriding opinion that Pop should perhaps be kept away from Main Stage slots in the future…
The BT Sport Field of Dreams was then once again rammed for England’s opening game of the European Championships (I felt a bit sorry for Richard Ashcroft, who probably had to deal with a much smaller audience at the Main Stage as a result). But following on from the disappointment of a Russian equaliser in injury time, everyone made their way to the Main Stage to see the headliners, The Who.
The iconic group treated festival-goers to a 22-track set, filled with all-time greats. As much as I can appreciate the band for their cult status and their career’s work, just as I can appreciate that thousands of people probably attended Isle Of Wight this year specifically to see them, I found myself not enjoying the set as much as I thought I would. Maybe that’s because The Who aren’t from my generation (get it?! Sorry…), or because I only knew a handful of the songs so couldn’t get too into it, but I ultimately couldn’t help but think that this set was coming ten years too late. Father time finally seemed to be catching up with them as their energy and charisma just wasn’t at the level you’d expect of a major festival headliner, no matter how old they are. Obviously many came away expressing how great they thought The Who were, but I feel it was the nostalgia that perhaps was great, as opposed to the actual performance.
That aside though, there were a few enjoyable moments; ‘Who Are You?’ was a great choice of song to open, enabling the crowd and fans to really get into it from the off. Similarly ‘My Generation’, ‘Pinball Wizard’ and ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ got everyone singing along at the top of their voices. The final pair of tracks, ‘Baba O’Riley’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ were also a fitting choice to close with. Those half a dozen songs provided the personal highlights of the set, whilst the rest, I’m sad to say, seemed to drag slightly. But that’s just my opinion!