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Chemical Brothers Shine at V2002

Bros, Morrissette, Costello provide this year’s highlights

God Bless the Chemical Brothers. While it’s a shame that Travis
couldn’t make this year’s V2002 festival — drummer Neil Primrose’s
recent diving accident forced the outfit to cancel their main stage
headlining slot — if Chemical Brothers Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons
did not take their place, V’s seventh installment would have been
simply ordinary.

And so instead of charming young men with guitars, pink Mohawks
and songs about their personal penchant for bad weather, 60,000
revelers in Chelmsford, England, as the Brits like to say, “had it
large.” Swept up in a wave of euphoria championed earlier in the
day by heaping amounts of sunlight (a rarity in these parts), the
Chemical Brothers said farewell to their Come With Us
world tour with a hit friendly mixture. From “Star Guitar,” to
“Bloc Rockin’ Beats” to “Hey Boy, Hey Girl,” the duo left a
defining bon voyage party, leaving us with only one hope: that they
come back soon.

It wasn’t just the Chems though, who injected life into the V
vein. Alanis Morissette, Nickelback and even old fogey Elvis
Costello did their part. Earlier on Saturday, Costello performed in
his trademark specs and a suit of black, forcing audience members
young enough to be his grandchildren into joining the party. No
small feat for the Brits, whose summer music festivals are not as
participatory as, say, an American radio station summer show. Felix
Buxton of the Basement Jaxx best defined the traditional mentality
of the U.K. festival goer, saying, “It’s about going away for the
weekend with some mates, getting a tent, getting some drinks,
getting stoned, maybe doing a bit of hash cake, looking at the
pretty trees, getting a bit of music.”

But on Sunday it seemed times had changed. Kosheen, fronted by
the lovely chanteuse Sian Evans, introduced their warm, pop
friendly drum and bass, bringing out the dancer in us all and later
Elbow were profound, making us swoon with their soaring morose
rock. Liverpool teens the Coral, also proved a hearty draw, as they
played their eclectic, and at times inspired mersey-beat sound.

The weekend belonged to boys and their samplers and decks, who
disproved Buxton’s characterization of his festival-going
countrymen. Basement Jaxx kept the crowd at a high pitch, stealing
hearty numbers of patrons from the always-popular Welsh trio the
Stereophonics even without the benefit of their usual elaborate
stage set of show girls, feathers and Caribbean style dancers.

Following the event the campsite parties carried on until
morning, and thanks to decksmen, they were no doubt full of
gushings about a record year for V.

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