Stu's Hi:Fi 2006


Hi:Fi Festival Day 1
Image & Words: © 2006 Stuart Leech

As the rain sets in at the Matterley bowl, I’m turning my attention to the Live Arena. Early on are sets from Director and Kharma 45. With no introductions on the stage and no real idea of who the hell these people are, all you can do is watch and listen. All of these early bands are only playing to a handful of people but still put on an admirable show. Director have just signed to Atlantic records and you can hear why. They have a geeky look and a mature sound. There are memorable songs and decent hooks; it's very easy to relate to their music. Kharma 45 put on a competent set - but are just so easily forgettable.

The Go! Team

Up next are The Go! Team, who are now playing somewhere near full capacity in the Live Arena. They always have tons of energy and Hi:Fi is no exception. They play through most of their debut album including the hit Ladyflash. The band are good and Ninja can really sing/skit/rap over anything - but they leave you wanting much more.

Mylo’s DJ set is up next and unfortunately my indie sensibilities can’t cope with a man in a silly hat, playing some vinyl (Although I’m sure the Ed will disagree!) Mylo fucking rocked, people, don't listen to the man - Ed.


I reviewed Hard-Fi back in December and, apart from a couple of new tracks, the set seems to be exactly the same. Nothing special occurs for the band’s first festival headline slot, which is a shame. They still have some great tunes and, to me, their tracks always sound and feel better played live. They have obviously acquired more fans after their recent sell-out tour and their recent Brixton Academy residency, but they desperately need some new material.

The Bees

Day 2

A bright, sunny Sunday - a complete change to yesterday. Today I’m starting with Isle of Wight's The Bees, and what a great way to start. The 60s psychedelic rock really captures the summer mood. They have a great sound and the band are fascinating to watch as they chop and change instruments. Drummers turn into bassists, keyboard players turn into guitarists and so on. Following this cracking start, on come Brakes. Made up of half The Electric Soft Parade and half of British Sea Power, the songs couldn’t be further from either. It's acoustic-country-punky-rock and includes a rendition of Johnny Cash’s Jacksonville. Enjoyable and weird in equal measures. After basking in the sun for an hour or so, Kosheenare on and kick off their set with hit 'Hide You'. They continue through some other well known tracks and some more recent material but, unfortunately, Kosheen have been appearing early on festival stages for years - and I think that's where they're destined to stay.

Ian Brown is tonight’s headliner - clearly unable to stay away from us for too long. The set starts with 'I wanna Be Adored' and I doubt there's a better way to get an entire crowd on your side. Playing a combo of solo hits, such as 'F.E.A.R', and various Stone Roses' tracks, this really is a Greatest Hits set. Not being old enough to remember The Stone Roses at their height, I have no idea if Ian Brown could ever sing - but he definitely can’t now. Despite that, I could listen to these classic tracks all night long.

Ian Brown