The Guardian, September 5th, 2010
© 2010 Guardian / Dave Simpson
Bingley Music Live Festival, Myrtle Park, Bradford, UK, September 4th 2010
Bingley Music Live, Myrtle Park, Bingley
by Dave Simpson
The small Yorkshire town of Bingley may be an unlikely home for a major pop festival, but the fourth Bingley Music Live has established itself as a cheaper, more family-friendly alternative to the giant Leeds. A bill stretched from Friday's free gig by the Buzzcocks to a £30 weekend seen off by Sunday headliners the Enemy and Seasick Steve. On Saturday, Frightened Rabbit upheld Scottish bands' right to rock like Travis, and rapper Example's budget Dizzee Rascal pop-rap got the first hands in the air. Reformed Reef aren't the draw they were during 1997's fling with retro rock, but vocalist Gary Stringer made the most of a lifetime opportunity to yell, "Place your hands, Bingley!"
That John Lydon's Public Image Ltd made their first UK festival appearance in decades here, and not Glastonbury or Reading, was presumably down to the fee or the ex-Sex Pistol's legendary perversity. Either way, a coup became a masterclass in pop surrealism. Wearing a suit big enough to have been handed down from Cyril Smith, Lydon was a hoot, singing, "You are a tuuuuurd" at a beer-chucker and interrupting a riotously received Rise to ask those by the foodstalls, "Can you smell the fucking onions?"
"It's all downhill after me," the triumphant frontman gleefully informed the thousands awaiting James, but the Manchester headliners remain a fearsome live band, almost a British REM. No longer fashionable and mostly bald as coots, they have seemingly traded their hair for festival-thrilling anthems. Their beautifully lit set brought arena-level showmanship to a leafy park. When glitter-suited Tim Booth allowed the front rows to caress his glistening pate, he provided what future festivalgoers may come to refer to as the Bingley Moment.
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