Monday 24 August 2009

Cheese Fest 2009

As I'm on a rest week I thought I'd review the "80's Rewind Festival". In theory, a celebration of 80's music, but from where I was sitting, a celebration of badly dressed drunken slappers wearing day-glo t-shirts that might have been baggy in 1985 ago but now barely cover twenty five years worth of accumulated chicken nugget grease.

Firstly, the stage.

Note the clearish sky, bright sunshine. Remember the tendency for British people to strip to the minimum and toast themselves to a crisp at the slightest hint of UVA? Recall the growing obesity crisis driven by lack of nutritional and culinary education, easy access to cheap calories and a national obsession for slumping in front of the TV instead of moving around a bit?

I'm sure you can put two and two together and get a king size chunkyburger meal with extra mayo wrapped in not very much at all. With cheese.

Anyway, enough of the visuals. The music.

First, Chas and Dave, cockney superstars. Without Dave. A good ol' knees up (or should that be knee up?).

The Blockheads with Phil Jupitus, who showed the crowd how to behave by keeping his clothing on, along with a jaunty hat. Well done that man, a fine example. They had more songs than I thought they did that I knew, if you get my drift. Three songs.

Then, um, The Christians. Not the religionists, the stage wasn't that big. In fact, I think there may have been some confusion as to the number of people that the stage could take, as once again there was only one Christian. He did bring along a couple of friends, and they could sing and play and were jolly in a kind of "I can't believe we're being paid for this!" way.

Was Nik Kershaw next? I must confess to having a bit of a soft spot for Nik, not just because I had a couple of his records (round black flat things, for the youth) but because of his excellent work with Chesney Hawkes, a vastly underated monohitist. Nik even treated us to his version of Chesney's song.

Midge Ure (pronounced Ma-jure) did a mix of his minor hits, Visage's Fade to Grey (which he claimed to have written) and Vienna. Ah, Vienna. It lost a bit in the transition from record to stage so was more of a Vienetta.

Howards Jones can be summarised in three words. Good but pompous. Mate, you were moderately successful a couple of decades ago, you are not Prince. You don't need an 11 piece band to play five songs.

(At this point I went to get food, so thankfully missed Carol "I used to be in T'Pau you know" Decker proving that even the the 80's they could fix poor singing in production)

Paul Young. Poor Paul Young. Can someone put him out of our misery? I felt sorry for him, used to have a good voice, must have destroyed it through overuse. I'm being kind.

Go West. I really enjoyed them, knew how to whack out a singalong chorus, can still whack out a singalong chorus. Paul, take note. Go West bloke can still sing. You used to be able to sing. The other one from Go West went on a charity trek to South America with Martin Fry from ABC and Tony Hadley from Spandau Ballet a few years ago. It's like a Viz cartoon strip - 80s Pop Star Explorers.

On the subject of Martin Fry from ABC, he was up next. And... well.... brilliant. Great songs, fantastic performance, nice bloke. You could imagine schlepping up the Amazon with him. If you get a chance, go see. Appearing round a campfire at an Inca temple near you.

At this point I wanted to leave. Yes, I know Sister Sledge and Gloria Gaynor are icons of the bland 70s disco scene, but that's not a scene I've ever felt comfortable with. Yes, they were very slick, great singing and dancing, but I just don't get them. Apparently Sister Sledge are in the middle of making a reality show at the moment - they should have a word with Martin and Tony - that would be a great episode.

So, that was it. 80's cheesefest 09. I survived.

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