One Big Weekend in Sunderland
What next from the band?
Local boys shine at Sunderland's Big Weekend
Whilst the hordes headed for the big, big top, site user David B checked out some home-grown talent on Stage 2 at Radio 1's Big Weekend Sunday show.
Well, after weeks of excitement, it’s finally all over… and frankly, it didn't disappoint! Thousands of people flocked to Wearside to enjoy what was arguably a better line-up than anything on offer at the summer festivals this year, including a fair amount of local talent too. One Big Weekend will go down in Sunderland's history as a rip-roaring success.
Although the biggest names congregated at the main stage, the highlight of the weekend for many people will no doubt have been Sunday afternoon’s indie rock extravaganza at Stage 2, culminating in an electrifying set by local heroes The Futureheads. However, aside from the great excitement and anticipation surrounding the ‘Heads return, the waiting crowds certainly had plenty more to enjoy first.
Opening on Stage 2 were The Subways, a young garage-rock trio from the Home Counties. Glamorous bass player Charlotte stomped, hopped and danced around the stage (when will she tire of being singled out?) and the audience responded enthusiastically. It was a good start to the day, and a lively act to follow.
Maximo Park - North East talent
But who exactly could follow the raw energy of the Subways? Only the stunning Maximo Park, a local band destined to be as big fellow North Easterners the Futureheads. They succeeded in raising the energy levels by several notches at ease.
Singles ‘Apply Some Pressure’ and ‘Graffiti’ had the audience singing blissfully in union, while lead singer Paul Smith responded with his now customary robot-like theatrics. Smith is like a cross between Vic Reeves and Johnny Rotten – intense, eccentric, almost in a world of his own – and is proving himself to be one of the best new frontmen in British pop.
Local talent aside, another highlight for the masses was the arrival of the mighty Interpol (“all the way from New York, just to be here in Sunderland!” according to Zane Lowe).
Playing a rare UK date, they were probably the only band in Sunderland that day who looked every inch like true rock stars should: wearing cool black suits and dour demeanours, and occasionally stopping to light cigarettes during songs; they looked more like the Mafia, or a gang of hardened undertakers, than a band.
To those not familiar with the morose, melancholy, understated genius of Interpol, their performance may have seemed baffling, but for those of us who know the drill, their sheer appearance (no matter how sombre) was a gift to behold.
The return of the Futureheads
And then, finally, the waiting was over. The Futureheads made a glorious return to Wearside after two long years away. While Zane Lowe introduced the band (as if they needed it), whipping the crowd even further into a frenzy, backstage the boys were visibly excited.
Once out there, the mutual sense of delight shared by band and audience only intensified. Much banter was had, and every song resulted in pandemonium. “Look how far we've come. This is so different from playing from the Royalty…” commented Ross Millard. “In what way?” Barry Hynde quipped.
Inevitably, it was ‘Hounds of Love’ that brought the house down, a great opportunity for band and audience to share vocal duties and engage in some beautiful Mackem harmonising. What more could you ask for?
It epitomised the spirit of the day. Big names, local talent and magic moments, all for free. God bless the BBC.
last updated: 09/05/2008 at 17:16
Have Your Say
Were you at Stage 2 on Sunday? What did you make of bands' performances?