Some of you will have gone to V this year, or Reading. Or the Glastonbury one. A few of you might even have been to all of them. You probably had a great time. After all, what’s not to love?
You got those middle management guys staring into the middle distance nonchalantly twirling fire on a rope as if that suddenly makes them at one with the earth. You’ve got loud HR workers chewing their own mouths off in the dance tent. You might even have found yourself in the reggae area, desperately attempting to hold down a gush of puke having mixed a brewski with a marijuana joint. Festival season – it’s just brilliant.
But before you pull your dreads apart and return to civilisation with tales of how great Blur were, or how Dizzee Rascal is totally blowing your mind right now, take a deep breath and scroll through our top five list of the greatest live performers ever. Prepare to be amazed…1. Ian Brown
A humble northern gentleman, Ian Brown likes to let the music breathe. Hence, the intros to songs tend to swirl around teasingly for at least seven or eight minutes, as he strolls back and forth across the stage, counting the beats to check that he comes in at just the right moment. And when he does, the sweetness of his vocals – which sound almost exactly the same as getting told off by a tired bus driver – somehow drown out the rest of the music. It’s like being underwater, and hearing the sound of dolphins. Brain damaged, slow motion dolphins.
2. Amy Winehouse
These days, with all your Twitters and Face Face, it’s important that an artist interacts with his/her fans. They need to make these screaming maniacs feel that they’re part of the show at a live gig. Bono does this by wandering through the crowds, randomly licking people’s faces to make them feel special. But no one can quite beat the Amy Winehouse method, which simply involves a couple of deft jabs with the elbow, then a full lunge with a closed fist. Preferably into a teenage girl’s smiling happy face.
3. Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan famously angered his loyal following when he stopped playing the guitar-plus-drum-on-back-plus-symbols-on-knees instrument, instead hiring actual musicians to play the bits that he had once done himself. The upside of this was that the music bit sounded much better live. The downside was that without a one-man-band to marvel at, the audience was forced to listen to his singing voice properly for the very first time. The results of this were not good.
4. Wu Tang Clan
Rap music at its most lethal can be a thrilling experience. But, then, on other occasions, it can look like a dozen men lolloping around on stage with towels covering their faces, all grunting slightly out of time. It was a common problem for the teenage hardcore grime crew, Blazin Squad, and it even effects old timers like the Wu-Tang Clan. Thankfully in the above clip they’re performing in Paris, so no one in the audience will really understand what’s going on.
5. The Beatles
From about 1966 onwards, The Beatles became exclusively a studio band, which meant that audiences around the planet were robbed of their blistering live shows. Shows that could often include Paul McCartney half-heartedly inviting a very reluctant George Harrison to sing a song, before all groaning wearily into their individual microphones in unison. Like the Wu Tang, the above clip is totally forgivable, as they were in Japan at the time.
This was a guest blog by Josh from Interestment, and jolly good it is too.