ego my pogo

thursday is day one of the festival proper and the sense of relaxation as we stroll on-site is palpable. i'm smiling without cost finally. purity ring kick off the evening dishing up a bass heavy, clashy roll of semi-ethereal avant gardism. the light up keys/kit and high mounted bass drum help offer the two-piece the opportunity to wrap themselves in their own invented world and take us along with them. that they have a couple of good tunes doesn't harm either. pleasing.

we catch a plentiful serving of baxter dury at the main stage - while he has one or two touching and sad little ballads, his cockney spoken-word gear treads dangerously derivative ground and the set degenerates into session player melodrama. fuck that.

over the way at the brilliant ray ban stage archers of loaf cheekily toss out 'wrong' as a large as you like opener and charm n' charge their way through another delightful set. i still really wish eric bachmann would sing RIGHT INTO the microphone occasionally...but fuck it, he's in crooked fingers so can do no actual wrong.

afghan whigs, hot on the heels of their incendiary set at atp ally pally heat things up once more tearing through 'i'm her slave' as im dragged, for the sake of common sense, to see lee ranaldo dish up a set of shambling but tuneful indierock to a sadly sparse crowd (the first incident of very poor booking here this weekend) and come across as just a little too self regarding for his own good. a thorough mauling of talking heads' 'somebody send me an angel' kinda mars the experience.

we land far left barrier (tradition) for the close of the whigs' set where they explode through '66' and 'miles iz dead' in ferocious style. astounding once more.

later, under the starless barcelona sky wilco are as near to perfect as one can hope. an acoustic-driven 'spiders' a subtle delight, tonight's version of 'impossible germany' one of the best i've ever seen, nels cline finger-fucking his guitar to the highest points of heaven. as they close on the ever-heart-stretching 'shot in the arm' you wonder if you've just seen one of the best festival sets they've ever played...

we catch the encore of the mighty and infamous refused and despite reservations among much of the group they are absolutely rocket-fuelled and crazed as hell. 'stay curious, stay wild, stay hungry' we're told among the post hardcore anthems. which reminds me. they have popcorn here, right?

franz ferdinand are, as ever, an offensive dip into dire brit-indie crapola (though 'matinee's alright, innit) but are more than balanced out by the wild, the beautiful, the always self-promoting and ever more springsteen sounding japandroids. psyched on red bull we front row their supercharged set and are sent to a minor level of hysteria by not only their excellent tunes but also their song intros - borrowed smartly from the likes of ac/dc and metallica. tired, tired, bed, bed.

there's nothing like a fuckton of rocknroll to make your day perfect.