The Phoenix Festival 1996!

Despite the noticeable absence of Glastonbury this year, Britain still managed to host a good selection on the festival front. I (+a few mates!) waddled along to the Phoenix , which has previously been second-rated to it's older and more established siblings (ie. Glasto and Reading) This is what we thought of the UK's only four day fest:

The Bands!

The Top Five Phoenix Performances!

NO.1- Skunk Anansie

Skunk Anansie proved to be the best of the weekend, by simply exploding onto the stage and creating a massive mosh despite the unbearable heat of the early afternoon. The Skunks performed many hits from their excellent debut album "Paranoid And Sunburnt" including "Charity" and "Weak" in a style that can only be described as a heart-wrenching mix of emotions. The lead singer Skin may have a vicious exterior, but her expressive voice reveals the softer side to her personality. Skunk Anansie point to a new light at the end of the tunnel for British rock, which deviates from the conformity of Britpop and shows a new rebellion reminiscent of the 70's punk era, but without the political warble!

Official Skunk Anansie Homepage

NO.2- Beck

Until this summer New Yorker Beck seemed (from a British point of view) to be merely a one hit wonder due to the abrupt success of the rap single "Loser". However... two years later Beck returns with a new album "Odelay" which greatly compliments his excellent debut one (which, if you don't know, is "Mellow Gold") Phoenix got to hear many of the old favorites including "Truck Drivin' Neighbours Downstairs", "Pay no Mind" and "Nitemare Hippy Girl". We also got a taster of the new album, with the new single "Devils haircut" which is presently storming up the charts. Beck made a change from the run of the mill kangeroo ritual gig as thousands chilled out and sang along to the ingenius lyrics, coming to a crescendo with "Loser" which promises to be Beck's folk "Teen Spirit".

NO.3- Baby Chaos

Baby Chaos have already achieved quite a following in their short career through touring with the likes of the Wildhearts, Terrorvision & Die Toten Hosen... and this was shown by the amount of people that crammed into the Guardian2 tent! The four Scottish lads never fail to please but this time they gave it their all, clearly enjoying themselves on Davy Greenwood's (drummer) last gig (boo hoo!) Baby Chaos blasted out the old favorites (from their debut "Safe Sex, Designer Drugs And the Death Of Rock And Roll") such as "Go To Hell"and "Superpowered" and finishing with "Sperm"- the song that noone can understand the words to but "la's" along to anyway! Look out for their new album "Love Your Self Abuse"

Official Baby Chaos homepage

No.4- The prodigy

Having recently admitted that raves have become a tad "unchallenging" to perform to, the Prodigy have hit the festival scene by storm, because, as Liam puts it "they're not your typical nutted rave crowd where you can chuck any sound at them and they're buzzing". Yes! the Prodigy played TWICE at Phoenix, and both performances were equally amazing! However!, I reckon the second performance, which was inside the megadog dance tent ,was the best despite the fact that I spent most of the gig trying to push my way into the packed tent! People were literally hanging off the tent poles to get a glimpse! The atmosphere was excellent and reached a crescendo as "Firestarter", their recent contraversial no.1 hit , rounded off the show.

NO.5 The Foo Fighters

Having heard the Foo Fighters debut album I was pretty impressed, especially because Dave Grohl had created some excellent songs and ideas which are original in their own right and have successfully shaken off the Nirvana image. Due to this I was eager to see the band play at Phoenix, and they fulfilled all my expectations and perhaps took them even further than I could imagine. The sheer energy and enthusiasm of the band struck me and not only did they play favourites such as "For All the Cows" and "This Is A Call", but also dished out plenty of new numbers which promise to be even heavier, stronger and catchy than the others. My only complaint was that it was too hot for me to stay very long in the mosh!

Other good gigs that we saw were:


Before Phoenix I had heard little of this new band. Nevertheless we were pretty impressed at the antics of Soda who prove that punk is not dead! Watch out for them.



NO I couldn't write about Phoenix without mentioning the Pistols, because they are what most people went for! To be completely honest I was quite sceptical throughout the gig because seeing Johnny "Rotten" Lydon "fat and forty" was quite a shock since the only pictures i've ever seen of him were when he was in his element in 1977 (which just happens to be the year I was born!). The band seem to have lost that feel of pure rebellion, and instead seem to have been mocking their past. Or is it just that over the last 18 years people have become more open-minded to the outrage that the Pistols once used to shock the media? Nevertheless the gig was a good laugh, and Lydon dished out plenty of one-liners which kept the audience on their toes. All the old favourites were played including "God Save The Queen", "Pretty Vacant" and "Anarchy". It was also a good opportunity to admire mohicans, the best being a bloke with the colours of the Union Jack painted into his locks


We wandered into this gig not knowing who the band were and had a pleasant surprise. Like Baby Chaos this band have a promising future in the world of the new Britrock and I found that I already knew many of the tunes from listening to the radio. My brother also informs me that they were spectacular at the Chelmsford festival last weekend.

Coming Soon!

MY review of

live at Portsmouth on 30th September!

AHREF= "">Official Levellers Homepage

Links to Other Bands At phoenix 1996

Official Bjork Page

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