Move Festival - Old Trafford Cricket Ground - 12.7.02
Paul Weller, Ian Brown, Joe Strummer plus guests

For the first time in the three days of Move so far the gremlins get in the system and sadly much of Haven's set is a series of splats and splutters gurgling out of the speakers. It's not the best way to start of the day and when you have a band like Haven whose intricate melodies require a certain degree of delicacy to really display the best qualities. Just beneath the muddy mix of the drum and bass you can make out Nat's insistent melodies and Gary Briggs stadium sized operatics, but sadly it doesn't rescue the likes of "Say Something", "Stay Tonight" and "Beautiful Thing" from the realms of festival hell. It's a pity because what could have been a great opportunity to reach outside the insular Northern Quarter scene was squandered by a technical disaster behind the scenes.

Shed 7 do what they do best and bring on the hits, yet still suffer with the same problems as Haven. The difference being is that Rick Witter is a seasoned profession and with years of these sort of problems behind him he does what he does best and appeals to the crowd through a seasoned sing along of "Chasing Rainbows". Add in "Getting Better", "Speak Easy" and an abridged version of "Disco Down" and you have a winning combination which marks the Shed's above any of the Britpop comeback failures such as the Bluetones.

As we said last time we saw Joe Strummer and the Mescaloros - he say's more in one song than the Manic Street Preachers have said in their whole career. And unlike fellow Move performers Weller and Brown his contemporary material basques in its own other worldly genius where punk and reggae hold hands as they should rather than prancing around like Less Than Jake. With the fist in the air call to arms that is "I fought The Law", the laid back reggae of "Rudi Gonna Fail" through to a new song "Get Down Moses" which has world music written all over it yet never gets too close to Andy Kershaw to really offend. The Clash were always the thinking mans punk band and while John Lydon has just become rent-a-gob for a few shoddy award shows, Joe Strummer can sleep easy that he's still producing music more relevant than 90% of the kids today.

While the Stone Roses were icons for a generation you can't help but wish that someone would take Ian Brown out, shoot him and put us all out of our misery. Back in the Roses he had Squire, Mani and Reni backing him up and providing the musical template around what at the time in comparison seems like the voice of an angel. In 2002 he has guitar genius Aziz co-writing everything from "My Star" to "Corpses" and yet put him out there on his own with his foghorn vocals and you're left with man chasing his own shadow. Teasing us with the intro to "Fools Gold" before launching into "Love Like A Fountain" it seems like even he's coming round to the fact that the only way he regain any degree of respect is by reforming the Roses - just let's hope he does it sooner rather than later for our sakes!

As Brown passes the baton over to Paul Weller the only real hope is that he brings a bit of that punk spirit of the Jam to Manchester rather than sending us comatose with his solo material. Our hopes sadly are dashed when we realize that Weller is simply indulging his own ego by playing a set pulled almost entirely from his recent "Heavy Soul" album and all the while Ocean Colour Scene's Steve Craddock has come along for a ride to play fiddle to his musical hero. Just one run through "That's Entertainment" or "A Town Called Malice" would have rescued us, god damn even a few Style Council tunes", but instead we get to whimper along with "Wild Wood" and "Peacock Soup". When he introduces new song "A Bullet For Everyone," which with it's title could me mistaken for a slight return to form, only to dive head first into a messy dirge. Friday Nights used to be for fighting and now we've got the choice between the televisual equivalent of watching paint dry in Big Brother or the musical equivalent of paint drying with Weller - what's the world coming too!!!

All in all a day screaming out adult entertainment. But we should have known better, we knew what we were getting into and yet still despite the rest of the bill it was worth it for Strummer alone.

Alex McCann

Post your own Move Festival / Paul Weller comments on our Message Board