Posted by Lauren Strain.
Reviewed on 8th September 2006.
Live at Leeds Festival 2006 on Saturday, 26th August 2006
Guillemots' Fyfe Dangerfield strolls onto the stage behind an abundance of chocolate brown facial hair, plonks himself down at the raised piano and warbles, wails, whimpers, whilst the piercing cries of seagulls reverberate from speakers the size of cliffs and the sound of a thousand glass bowls tumbling down a flight of mountains crashes into our eyes. Creating a clamorous, trembling uproar of surging soundwaves, overlapping and wobbling, mirage-like, Guillemots burst into immeasurably swooping scores of song, from the desperate, unhinged patterns and gobbledegook of 'Go Away' to the heartwrenching leap of the line "Sometimes I could cry for miles..." from 'São Paulo', where the entire gathering knocks their heads back and calls it back to him, hands raised.
Saying goodbye to one inspirational figurehead and hello - sorry, "RARRRRRRRGH" - to another, we welcome the towerblock-sized muscly whippet of a man that is Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz into the Radio One tent. He has dinnerplate-shaped, shocking blue eyes. They dilate above a Brillo pad handlebar moustache made of wire and spit. Length of limb stretching to length of limb, he cocks a leg up, positions a foot on a monitor, leans forward, taut-bodied, leering his stilted English into the petrified microphone that's smashed up to his blood-boiling face by perspiring arms; tough, veined and polished as mahogany bark, pulsating with vitriol, anger and volcanic Ukrainian energy.
The music's even better: a furore of panicked arteries kicks forth, as fiddles of flame and frankly enormous drums weave unbridled mad-folk melodies above hysterical waggledances. Girls with painted faces and burnt umber bodies writhe and stamp in outfits strung together by patchwork pieces, dancing and back-flipping on the lip of the stage, acting out myths. One of them keels over, spine in a curve, caught in limbo, before collapsing onto the massive knees of Hutz, screaming red massacre into the mic he's jamming into her mouth. This is jubilant, psychotic music of revenge; a roaring inferno of body parts, pain and vivid nature that sounds like a tribal rave in a rainforest, a wild wake on a pirate island; a thirsty, hungry rampage through the last seconds on earth. Survivor-punk from the depths of the caves and peat pits, infused with tradition, ignited by vertigo and beaten out on the back of fire buckets.
In comparison, O Fracas are slightly less mental but equally as frenetic, with chunky building blox of song - 'Forfeit' sounds like an earthquake on a steel ship - and a human-meets-grizzly-bear with his head nearly falling off running about in front of the barrier, tossing maracas into the fray.
Elsewhere, Craig Nicholls appears to be pretty stable these days and, as a result, The Vines are Boring; Yeah Yeah Yeahs are understated and spellbinding as the daubs of blue glitter pasted across Karen O's cheeks and Nick Zinner's lean, spidery guitar lines conjure magic and drop to a whisper for 'Maps'; Kaiser Chiefs show off some chiefing enormous lights and Bedouin Soundclash have absolutely no voicebox left at all so spend their entire set apologising for this fact.