Sunday 27th August 2006 saw the day that I would finally see Pete Doherty in concert. Despite him being my idle for near enough the last 2 years I had never got round to going to see him but this was my chance, not only that but to see a whole load of other good bands at this great mini festival.
Me and my sister got to Clapham common tube station by about 11ish and followed the crowds down to the area where the gig was to be held. Of course the whole area was surrounded by 8ft high fences to ensure no free loaders could get in. We had to wait there until about 12 before the gates opened and we walked inside. Woo we had just waited the best part of an hour to get into a field. It was no ordinary field though it was a field.. of dreams.
For the first half an hour or so we scouted round the field to see where everything was and we also made a plan of who we really wanted to see and who we could live without seeing. Also we managed to pick up as many freebies as possible. From the 3 phone company van we managed to blag a sun hat, a draw string bag and two boxes of jellybeans, we got some free hair gel and some other stuff that I cant remember. So that was that and then we moved onto the acts.
The first thing we went to see was a set put on by the comedy store in the guilty pleasures tent, it was reasonably funny, there was 2 acts and a compare who were all quite good but could have been better. Nevertheless it was quite an easy start to the day.
We then made our way to the second stage as it was so cleverly called to see the 'grindie' star that is lethal bizzle. Of course I have been floolwing 'da bizzle' for many a year now.. ok so i'm not his biggest fan but I liked that one song of his that I knew where he did a rap remix of a rakes song. And despite it basically being a set of rap music I quite enjoyed it, very lively and lots of crowd participation shouting things like OI, brilliant.
We stayed in the Second Stage tent for the next act. Yes Kid Harpoon wooo, one of the must see acts of the day, he was amazing. Despite just being a man with a guitar he has a real stage presence and is brilliant. I definately recommend people listen to his stuff.
We then moved out to the main stage to see Lily Allen, my sister hates Lily Allen with a vengence but I decided that she had to be seen, she maybe a complete chav but her songs are quite good. The chav persona wasnt helped by her coming out on stage wearing a hood and huge loopy gold earrings but she still managed to put on a good set which I thoroughly enjoyed, and to you who are familiar with her work, she has a song called Alfie about her little brother and when singing it she dragged him onto the stage.. he was worse then her, he was about 12, wearing a hood and smoking. He looked like a right wanker. Also during this set some stoner and a drunk woman were having a great time in front of me pouring alcohol over each other whcih provided quite an interesting spectical.
Back to the second stage tent we went to listen to the pipettes who too were great and out of all the bands we saw the nicest to look at, for those who dont know the pipettes their lead singers are 3 women who wear 60s clothes and dance around looking nice and they actually have pretty decent songs aswell.
Now we came to a part of the day where there was nothing much good on.. we had a choice between some shitty emo band or Bez.. so yes we sat down and had some lunch/dinner type thing. It was horribly overpriced and not particularly tasty but we were quite hungry and needed a sit down after standing for the last 4 or so hours.
The next thing we saw was the young knives and we only went to see them because we had nothing else to see, I still believe that they are pretty rubbish, apart from one song which is alright they are a boring band.. but we used this opportunity to start making our way as close to the front of the crowd as possible.. also we managed to bag ourselves a get loaded beach ball which was nice.
Then there was a quick DJ set as there was between all the acts on the main stage and it was during this me and my sister decided that we would sacrifice going to see British Sea Power and the Guillemots in order to get as close as possible for Babyshambles. And so we did.
Buzzcocks were the next act to come on and already by this point the crowd was getting quite rowdy at least as much as the milburn gig and I knew that this was only going to get worse as the night progressed yet I stayed there and tried to enjoy the 30 yr old punk sound brought to us by very middle-aged looking performers.
Another DJ set followed before Graham Coxon came on stage with his band, by this time I couldn't actually move at all, I was just one with the crowd and despite the elbows being locked into my side and the sweat pouring off my whole body i was still quite enjoying the show. I would have preffered Graham Coxon to have been on earlier for me to really enjoyed it properly.
As you can see with the last couple of Acts I have mentioned more about the crowd then the music, this is unfortunately because this is how i remember it, by the time Pete and Babyshambles came on the crowd was one big mush of people, if people jumped in front of you, you jumped too because you were so tightly pressed against them, this is ok if your pushed up against some gorgeous girl (some of the time) but not so much when your pushed up against some sweaty ginger bloke (the rest of the time). For a short time I was really able to embrace the fact that Pete was singing less than 10 meters away from me but then I soon remembered again that I couldnt actually breathe properly, I was in a lot of pain and within 5 minutes or so of the set starting I was on the floor with a huge crowd of raging fans peering over me. I dont think I am exagerating when I say that was one of the scariest moments of my life.. the thought did cross my mind that I was about to be trampled to death by a large crowd. I managed to haul myself up to my great relief but I didnt want to stay there any longer.. So i tried my hardest to push through the crowd grab my sister and bring us back to the less crowded areas. My sister will probably never forgive me for doing that but I really dont care, I was shitting myself in that crowd and so had to get out. I had had my time up close to pete but I knew I wouldnt really be able to enjoy the music whilst in that crowd.
We left soon after the Babyshambles set was finished and made our way home by 10:30ish
The moral of this story is I have realised that I have a fear of being trampled to death by large crowds.. until the next time bye bye