The Streets by Robert Fisk

South Facing Festival: Supergrass and The Streets a review(ish)

Or #Livemusicisback

Going to see bands you haven’t properly listened to for years is a bit like going to a foreign country where your only attempt to learn the language has been to listen to phrases on a phone app while on the plane.

You know the odd word or two but are worried about whether you’ll be able to be understood.

Supergrass by Bunty Stokes
Supergrass played an amazing set on Friday night. Picture by Bunty Stokes
The Streets audience by Carlos Barquero
The audience for The Streets were absolutely loving it. Picture by Carlos Barquero
If I’d watched this video before Saturday night I would have learned all the lyrics for the latest track by The Streets

Eventually you realise everyone speaks better English than you do and you can relax and just enjoy your ice cream/ gelato/ glacé.

There wasn’t any ice cream on sale at South Facing Festival (well, not as far as I could see) but being amongst thousands of other people just dancing to The Streets was an absolute delight.

I don’t get excited about many things these days but it was so exciting to be amongst lots of people just out for a good time.

And frontman Mike Skinner was on top form teasing the crowd about the Crystal Palace and Alexandra Palace rivalry which, if he is right, goes back to the 1850s. It isn’t something I’d heard of before so if anyone from Crystal Palace can let me know if it really does exists that would super.

The Streets 2 by Trevor Ellis-Jones
Mike Skinner from The Streets made a lot about the rivalry between Crystal Palace and Alexandra Palace but I’m not convinced it exists these days. Picture by Trevor Ellis-Jones
The Streets by Robert Fisk
The moon rising over the temporary stage in front of the ‘Rusty Laptop’ stage made a nice sight when The Streets were on the stage. Picture by Robert Fisk
Everyone loved it when this track was played in Crystal Palace

One day bands will play on the “Rusty Laptop” stage behind where – as Skinner reminded everyone in a mini history lesson – Bob Marley had played his last UK gig back in June 1980.

For now though the South Facing action is on a temporary stage just in front where only a bit of the water is visible for people on the front row. Water that if Mike Skinner is to be believed contains a lot of Irish sea moss.

And yes I only knew three or four of the songs but I danced my way through the set as best as I could.

The previous night (Friday) it was the turn of a band I never thought I’d see live: Supergrass.

The Streets by Trevor Ellis-Jones
The Streets added a Sunday night date because the Saturday at South Facing festival sold out. Picture by Trevor Ellis-Jones
Supergrass by Daisy Hayden 2
Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes still has his famous sideburns. Picture by Daisy Hayden
Supergrass’s Caught by the Fuzz is 27 years old this year

They are also a band I wonder why I’d never seen live before (I think I might have seen a secret gig with a couple of them at Glastonbury but it is a blur so I’m not sure if it happened).

I remember their first single Caught by the Fuzz and then the media frenzy when Alright came out. I was at an age where I could have seen them live so don’t know why it didn’t happen.

I also wonder why I didn’t – as far as I know – have any of the singles or the early albums.

I say early albums because I’ve only just learned they have six studio albums and I think I can only name the first two, and vaguely recognise the cover of the third one.

Supergrass by Pearl Ouija Hodgson West
It was so good to see Supergrass after many years of wondering if I had ever seen the band. Picture by Pearl Ouija Hodgson West
Toilets by Kate Coolbeans
Look at the artistic shot of one of the Crystal Palace masts amidst a sea of toilets. Picture by Kate Coolbeans
Dry Your Eyes Mate – it’s hard to believe this week’s episode of Fiskal Policy is almost over

Anyhoo, that doesn’t matter now because the sideburn-sporting ‘Grass treated the crowd to a rip-roaring trip through all their hits from throughout their long history as a band.

They clearly were loving their time on the stage and the crowd was loving being there too with everyone singing as much as they could (I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know all the songs).

It was great to see them live after 26 years and I hope to not have to wait 26 years to see them again (they are on at Victorious Festival next weekend so I might catch them there too).

I’m sad that the first band I saw this year was The Cribs on Friday night. But other than that disappointment it was great to be at South Facing Festival.

Thank you to everyone who let me use photos for this episode of Fiskal Policy.

Stay safe for another week!

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