The first thing that must be said about Slane '98 is that the set-up
exuded quality. The venue is a natural amphitheatre and the
sound-system filled the area with perfect sound, that could probably
be heard for miles. Added to the digital screens, Slane '98 had the
potential to be the champagne and caviar of music festivals.
Unfortunately, as the line-up had been unveiled over the previous
couple of months, this writers expectations were not high. As such, I
was not disappointed.
Junkster kicked it all off at midday with a very tasty heavy techno
influenced sound. A barrage of beats and bass matched with guitar
distortion and topped with a nice melodic vocal style. Junkster owe
quite a debt to Curve and Garbage, but pull it off with style. The
one low point was the horribly Cranberries-esque "The Only One" which
broke the flow and was completely out of place. Thankfully, they
picked it up afterwards and turned out to be surprisingly good for the
token Irish band.
James, the Seahorses and Finley Quaye trundled on through the
afternoon. Tim Booth's voice annoys me, so I payed little attention.
Sit Down? Fuck off!
The Seahorses were harmless - guitar-heavy indie-pop, but barely even
Finley, on the other hand, seemed like the perfect thing for a sunny
Saturday afternoon. His eclectic mix of mellow grooves started out
like what was needed to chill out on the grass. But, after 5 minutes
he began to irritate and, by the end of the set, he was intolerable.
Robbie Williams hit the stage flying, the boy-toy turned rock-god,
belting out "Let Me Entertain You" and splitting his pants in the
process. Pure showmanship, but a sign of very bad planning. That
track is brilliant live and an absolute bugger to follow. He tried
valiantly, "Millenium", the Las' "There She Goes", a short sing-a-long
bit of "Hey Jude" and even a heavy metal version of the Take That
'classic' "I Want You Back" (with the new line "Satan Loves You"
added). But, none of them had the same impact of the opener.
Entertaining? Definitely, but the set-list in reverse would have done
the job better.
The Manics appeared with what could be their last ever 'second on the
bill' appearance, as chart success was, at that point, just over the
horizon. It just goes to prove that popularity and quality do not
necessarily go together. The Manics are not the same without Richie,
no matter what anyone says, in fact, they're not even that good
anymore. The set focused far too much on their last album, the Richie
era barely featured. "La Tristessa Durera" and the perennial
favourites "Motorcycle Emptiness" and "You Love Us" were pretty much
it. The classic "Holy Bible" album didn't even get a look in. The
new tracks aired reeked of desperation, the slight techno additions
just sounded tired. Even when a fan through a Sartre book on to the
stage (a slight reminder of the old days) even the band seemed bored.
A pathetic site of a once great band on the downslide, despite their
Finally, the Verve. I still can't see how this band became popular
enough to head-line festivals like this. It's not that they're bad,
they're just not amazing either. They played the hits, other "Urban
Hymns" stuff and a couple of old tracks. All very psychadelic and
nice, especially the early Pink Floyd-esque "Come On", and the
stage-show was very cool, but it was all far too downbeat for a
headline act. The most interesting thing during their set was when
people all through the crowd started setting fire to Coke cups. The
sight of hundreds, maybe thousands, of blazing torches stretching
through the dark, was amazing.
All in all, an unsurprisingly disappointing affair, this really was
not a quality festival line-up. I remember the days when things were
better, I remember ... (shut up you sad twat - editor) Hang on, I am
the editor (shut up anyway, this review's over - ed) OK.
by Donnacha DeLong.