After the excesses and inevitably rough sleep of the night before, the Alternative Stage is a welcome change of pace for the first part of Saturday. Excellent comedy sets from the improvisational Jason Byrne and the surreal one-liners of Milton Jones give energy enough for us to head out in to the breach in search of that perfect festival moment. On the way through the field Gaslight Anthem‘s Americana can be heard wafting over the arena from the Main Stage, luring punters to the set, ready for festival favourites Modest Mouse to start their tightly honed list of summery pop.
There’s time to squeeze down the front for a dose of Darwin Deez at the Festival Republic stage as they dazzle with synchronised dancing between their pop guitar and synth numbers. Across the way Frank Turner is a festival highlight as he belts out a solid hour of thigh slapping political punk folk as men punch their fists into the air and at least one woman is inspired enough to get her breasts out to great cheers. On the way towards the main arena to recharge the batteries for the epic double bill to close out the night, The Cribs (with The Smiths‘ Johnny Marr now an integral member) play what they have said is their last gig for the foreseeable future. Seems like a shame when they sound so tight and are peaking at the moment.
Cells refuelled with some hit-or-miss festival food, it’s time to head down the front of the main arena to catch Messrs Doherty and Bart either become heroes or villains in front of a packed main arena. It is fair to say it was even odds that The Libertines would head straight to an onstage meltdown but after their London gig just days before, and Leeds the previous night, but the penultimate Saturday slot is nothing short of perfection. The only hiccup is a forced encore brought on by apparent excessive crushing down the front. The crowd right itself and wait patiently for the boys in the band to finish their triumphant return in style.
With a quick dig at Guns N’ Roses’ tardy arrival of the night before, Win Butler and the significant entourage of performers that makes up Arcade Fire never seemed like they wanted to be anything but spectacularly flawless. Drawing from their first two outstanding albums as much as the well received The Suburbs, the Canadians put on a balletic performance; switching instruments, changing positions, and creating moments.