With a line-up which featured the big names of the late 80’s/early 90’s indie scene and Steve Lamacq MC-ing the event and acting as resident DJ, Indie Daze 2015 was for intent and purpose, day two of Reading Festival 1989 in all but name.
Where else would you have found bands like The Primitives, The Wedding Present, Pop Will Eat Itself and The Wonderstuff, all lined up in proper crowd-pulling pecking order but that decade? While it did feel like a timewarp, the average age of the crowd (and the state of their well-worn band t-shirts) made you feel at home, indulging in a shared nostalgia for a time when these indie darlings ran the scene.
The Primitives never fail to impress live. The ageless Tracy Tracy ducks and whirls around the stage as the band cherry-pick their best moments to note perfect degree. Following on from their reunion in 2009 the band have gone from strength to strength, writing and recording new material and are no doubt proud of the fact Johnny Marr currently performs a cover of “Crash” in his set.
Pop Will Eat Itself these days are a strange beast. Vocalist Graham Crabb is the only original member and the songs in this current incarnation resemble the band’s industrial phase prior to their break-up in 1996. Undoubtedly enjoyable, Graham and co-vocalist Mary Byker doing chest-bumps and laps around the stage in a hi-energy set that covered all bases but felt the furthest removed from their original sound.
Choosing to play an album in full rather than a greatest hits set might’ve been an odd decision, but The Wedding Present in Bizarro playback mode got the job done. Being the most no-nonsense of bands, Gedge and Co. had their heads down, powering through their set with a “Brassneck” here, a “Kennedy” there, and a “My Favourite Dress” to finish. Doesn’t really get more greatest hits than that.
It’s up to The Wonderstuff to close out the evening, and it’s strange to see Miles Hunt grinning ear to ear from the outset. Out of the all the bands who’ve performed so far, the Stuffies play it like it is 1989. As loved and as loveable as ever, Hunt had the easiest of jobs. Play the songs the crowd want, win them over with logic when it comes to dishing out a new tune (“You would’ve licked my balls to hear “Cartoon Boyfriend” on the Disco King tour”), and save all the best ones for last. Smart play on a perfect day.
*Apologies to The Popinjays, Eat and Back To The Planet who performed earlier in the day.