Move Festival - Old Trafford Cricket Ground - 8.7.04
Madness / OCS / Jimmy Cliff plus support
Ozomatli were always going have their work cut out playing to a cold northern skyline on the brink of torrential rain, but they did their best and came out victorious. Although virtually unknown in this country the blend of brass and bass heavy funk with touches of hip hop thrown in for good measure went down a storm with an audience which comprised a plethora of feds, the slight skinhead element that always run amok at Madness gigs and a very male dominated crowd which were just there simply to have a good time.
But it wasn't until The Stranglers came on that things really started to warm up. Dressed in regulation black from head to toe they entered the stage with the cry of "Anyone for cricket" and teased us with the intro to "Golden Brown" before launching into an abridged set of what they played just a few months ago at the Manchester Academy. "Peaches", a cover of the Kinks "All Day And All The Night" and "Skin Deep". Singer Paul Roberts, who took over from Hugh Cornwell, seems to relish being in the spotlight and sneers like a muscle bound Sid Vicious. As "Golden Brown" kicks in for real he rips his shirt off, stares at a sky seemed destined to erupt with thunder at any time, points the mic upwards and in our heads he's shouting "by the power of grey skull" in a surreal slightly alcohol infused He Man flashback.
Jimmy Cliff didn't quite manage to bring the sun rays to Manchester, but the power of reggae at least managed to stop the rain for the rest of the night. From start to finish there were moments of chilled out bliss despite technical problems which engulfed one song to the point where Cliff himself was barely audible. With a red headband Cliff looked strangely like Carl Douglas of "Kung Fu Fighting" fame and despite his advancing years he managed to dance his way through a set of "People Get Together" and his signature tune "The Harder They Come". Stripping things back to a virtual accappella version of Boney M's "The River Of Babylon" he left the stage quietly and confidently that Manchester had fell into his hands as the audience had as Glastonbury a few weeks earlier.
Despite losing former member Damon Minchella Ocean Colour Scene seemed as tight as ever. They may be one of those terminally uncool bands and struggle to hit the upper aeons of the chart, but place them on stage and there are few people who can resist their unashamedly retro rock. Throwing away "The Riverboat Song" as their opener might have seemed a little foolhardy, but with a setlist which seemed more like a victorious greatest hits set than a fond farewell they kept the energy up throughout. Frontman Simon Fuller seemed suitably lubricated, guitarist Steve Craddock veers between twin-polar personalities of affable friend to condescending fool but OCS have always been more about the songs than the personalities (that terrible football song excepted). "The Circle", "Profit In Peace" and "The Day We Caught The Train" are modern classics and there's little the critics can offer to debate that.
I'll be the first to admit i'm not a fan of Madness, but what on paper looked like potentially the worst headliners of Move Festival turned out to be a revelation. The words "Welcome To The Nuttiest Sounds Around" are synomonous for anyone who's seen Madness either back in the day or on one of the numerous Christmas tours they've done over the years. Although throughout the introduction my face was cringing, by the time "One Step Beyond" kicked into full speed I was down the front with the rest of them. Madness are just simply a joyous celebration of music. "Baggy Trousers", "Our House", "It Must Be Love" brought together people of all ages dancing like it was the best night of their life's.
While the following nights at Move are about serious music from the gothic rumblings of the Cure, the indie legends the Pixies on Saturday or the melancholy of Morrissey on the final night, Madness just set about delivering pure entertainment. Nothing more or nothing less. And you know what - it was the perfect end to a day that started off as another miserably Mancunian shower!!!
Photo's by Karen McBride - www.karenmcbride.com
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Move Festival 2004
Thursday - Madness / Ocean Colour Scene / Jimmy Cliff / The Strangler - Click Here
Friday - The Cure / Elbow / Keane / Longview / The Cranes- Click Here
Saturday - The Pixies / Stereophonics / Goldfrapp / Tim Booth / The Stand / 2220s - Click Here
Sunday - Morrissey / New York Dolls / Beta Band / Ordinary Boys / James Maker - Click Here