The headline act on the main stage tonight was Echo and the Bunnymen. They were supposed to appear last year but the festival was cancelled due to the wet weather. That was a shame because I wanted to see them since I missed them at the Leeds Festival a few years ago (it was a choice between them and Iron Maiden), so this year after 3 attempts, I finally managed to see them live.
I knew 3 of the songs in their act: Seven Seas, Under a Killing Moon (which McCulloch introduced as the best song ever written) and The Cutter.
The Coventry Christmas Lights were switched on this evening. The entertainment started mid-afternoon but we got there around 5pm, in time to watch the lights being switched on and to catch the headline act, The Hoosiers. They played about 6 songs, including favourites from their first album (including Goodbye Mr A), and a few songs from their new album.
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The annual Godiva Festival started tonight. We spent most of the evening watching the comedy acts but we caught some of Go West on the main stage. As we were leaving we heard them perform their 2 big hits: We Close our Eyes and King of Wishful Thinking.
...who thinks that the start of the new AC/DC single 'Rock N Roll Train' sounds a bit like Tina Turner's song 'Nutbush City Limits'.
We're back from the Leeds Festival now. Unfortunately a lot of the bands suffered from poor sound quality, especially on the main stage where the sound was sometimes muffled or microphones weren't working so vocals were inaudible.
- Tenacious D put on a good show.
- The Plain White Ts, who were blessed with a rare moment of good sound quality.
- A singer/comedian called Stephen Lynch in the Alternative Tent. We had never heard of him but the tent had filled up with many fans who sang along with him.
- The Manic Street Preachers, who headlined the NME tent on the Sunday. Their set consisted almost entirely of Greatest Hits and old favourites, which is what you want at a festival.
This years festival was muddier than any Leeds I've been to before. I've ended up with a 'welly tan', where my legs have only tanned in a band around my knees.
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Written 27/08/08 but backdated to when it happened
The Leeds Festival site has a supermarket which sells a lot of packaged convenience food. Sunday is the last day of the festival so the shop usually has all food items as buy one get one free.
When we went to the shop on Sunday evening we noticed a slight anomaly with some prices. Cakes which used to cost £1.00 for a pack of 2 suddenly cost £1.80 per pack. Packs of 4 of cookies for £1.50 had somehow turned into packs of 2 cookies for £1.50 each. Cheeky ****ers.
I have never had a positive experience with DRM (Digital Rights Management). I can appreciate why content producers use it, to restrict unlimited copying of their copyrighted materials, but in my experience it just doesn't work.
Part of the problem is that it relies on proprietary (and possibly untrustworthy) software which often demands a specific computer setup. The original version of the BBC iPlayer insisted on Windows XP and the latest version of Media Player. Pretty much the same configuration was specified for Channel 4's 4OD system. Despite my computer complying with all of the requirements, neither system would work on it. I never managed to work out why. I eventually managed to get iPlayer to work on my new laptop.
At least the BBC now let you watch episodes on-line, using Flash and streaming, but XP/Media Player are still required if you want to download episodes. Downloading or streaming is usually only available for a week after broadcast, but downloading has the edge because you then get 28 days to watch the episode, which is handy if you don't have time to watch an episode straight away.
My main gripe with DRM is the complete lack of control I get. I cannot copy episodes to a portable media player, so I can only watch them on my laptop pc (which I can't connect to my TV) rather than on my Creative Zen (which I can).
I have had TV episodes 'expire' and refuse to play, despite the download library claiming I had several days left on the 'licence'. The worst experience was with music I downloaded from the '3 Music Store'. All of the music files were infested with DRM and somehow the licence files managed to get corrupted. All the files I had downloaded during the last year or so suddenly refused to play. The backup licence also failed to work. One good thing about the 3 Music Store is that it allows you to re-download the files at a later date. This only worked if I downloaded the files on my other computer, but at least I managed to get the files working again.
I will never consider buying any music or video which contains DRM (the '3' files were downloaded as part of the monthly allowance with my phone contract). There is no way I'll pay for music where somebody has the ability to deny me access to it. I'd rather buy a CD or DVD which should work on different machines, won't force me to upgrade my computer before playing and would be less likely to suddenly stop working.
We found out earlier today that a friend of ours was in a band. They were playing live at the Beer Engine pub. As that is only on Far Gosford Street, not far from here, we decided to go along and see what they were like.
Their opening song was a solo piece featuring their vocalist/guitarist, and reminded me of a Badly Drawn Boy song, which isn't a bad thing. The band is a 5-piece: vocalist/lead guitar, keyboards, saxophone, bass guitar, drums.
They were pretty good. Worth going to see if they're playing nearby. They'll be performing at a local Battle of the Bands and I wish them the best of luck.
They have a page on myspace but there doesn't seem to be much there at the moment.
We got back from the Leeds Festival last night. I'll post some photos and comments when I get time - probably back-dated to when things actually happened.
Comments and photos now uploaded.
Here is a selection of photographs from this years Leeds Festival.
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- Smashing Pumpkins playing an acoustic version of 1979
- Nine Inch Nails ending their set with a version of Hurt which borrowed from both their own and the Johnny Cash version.
- Simon Amstell and Ed Byrne at the Alternative Tent
- The weather - brilliantly sunny most days with no rain!
- The milkshake stalls in the main arena - the chocolate hobnob milkshake was great
- After we'd packed our tent away on the monday, finding a couple of abandoned unopened cases of beer nearby
- Being allowed campfires - they were banned last time I went, in 2005. It was good to sit around the fire at night, chatting with our neighbours and enjoying a beer or two
- Gogol Bordello on the main stage. Described as Gypsy Punk, they were good festival material
- The start of the Red Hot Chili Peppers act when it looked like they were going to be good
- The end of the Chilis when the singer walked off and the rest of the band jammed an instrumental for ages before leaving. There was no big finale, the concert just fizzled out, leaving people feeling disappointed with a sense of anticlimax.
- The cost of drink in the main arena - no way were we going to pay £3.20 for a tasteless pint of Carling. Thankfully the 'Wine Bar' had 500ml bottles for £6.50, which wasn't cheap but was more acceptable.
- The Enemy coming on stage to the tune of Too Much Too Young, pretending they are the new Specials, but the lead singer came across as some sort of moron knob-head who insists on using f**k as every other word.
There were also the now obligatory trouble-makers on the sunday night. Thankfully there was little violence and no actual rioting, but a lot of peoples tents got burned. We acquired a few refugees as neighbours, who managed to salvage a couple of their tents and carried them halfway across the site to safety.
We went tonight to watch some of the live music. There was a huge crowd around the tent where local band The Enemy were performing so we wandered off to the Cider tent for a pint before going back and squeezing our way through the crowd.
The band seem to be the latest in a line of above average bands to be hyped above their level of competence. They're not bad but don't seem to be much better than a lot of other bands around. Towards the end of their set, they started playing one song and I thought it was a cover of Going Underground by The Jam. As the song continued I thought it was still a cover but they had changed the words. Then I realised it was the song their album (We'll live and die in These Towns) gets its title from.
There was a big gap before the next band came on so we had a walk around the festival site. In the coin arcade, a load of 10p coins fell out of one of the 'waterfall' machines as we walked past, no-one was touching it so they must have been precariously balanced. I did the honest thing and use the change machines to turn them into 2ps and fed them back into various other games.
The headline act were the Super Furry Animals. We'd seen them before at the Leeds Festival and they were good on both occasions.
I was listening to the radio, moving through the stations trying to find something I wanted to listen to. I had to turn it off after hearing the Billy Joel song River of Dreams twice on different staions. I hadn't heard the song for ages - I don't dislike it but I think once per half hour is enough for me.
I mentioned this to 'Jack' on MSN messenger and she had the song stuck in her head for ages afterwards.
Europe seems to have suffered a collective sense of humour failure tonight. The contest was won by Serbia with a fairly dreary ballad, whereas the Ukraine deserved better but only came second.
Apart from the Ukraine (who benefited from the Eastern Bloc policy of voting for friends and neighbours), no other novelty act scored well. France should have scored better than they did - the singer jogging around the stage with a toy cat around his neck had to be worth something. Scooch did surprisingly badly - we would have been better with Pif Paf Pof.
The swedish song sounded very familiar but I can't work out what it reminded me of.
There must have been one very embarrassed person listening to the Birmingham Philharmonic. During a short silence in the middle of a piece of music (possibly Gershwin's American in Paris) the familiar beeps of the Nokia 'SMS' ringtone could be clearly heard.