Review: How We Relived The Early-Noughties With Busted And Feeder At Godiva Festival 2019

on Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Godiva Festival (5-7 July 2019, Coventry) // Words: Saam Das

Headlined by The Levellers, Feeder, and Busted, Coventry's popular music festival Godiva courted controversy this year by increasing the cost of entry. To the princely sum of £2 a day. It didn't stop over 75,000 people attending the formerly free-of-charge extravaganza in the UK's 2021 City Of Culture. And we were one of the many, many happy customers.

We missed out on day one of Godiva Festival due to work commitments, so our first taste of proceedings was ELIZA, formerly known as Eliza Doolittle. Having collaborated with Disclosure and UK garage act Wookie a few years back, her steady move away from the poppier sound of 'Skinny Genes' has been made all but complete with new album, 'A Real Romantic'.

Accompanied by a nodding DJ for her main stage set, ELIZA's sultry moves matched her more groove-based, newer material. Tracks like 'All Night' and 'Wide Eyed Fool' from the artist's latest album particularly impressed, as did her affable attitude - it's always nice to see a musician actually look like they're enjoying themselves.

ELIZA - 'Wide Eyed Fool'

We hoped to have caught some of Kele Le Roc in the Rhythm Tent but by the time we attempted to pop in, we were greeted by both general confusion and a lack of music. It later transpired that the acts had to be cancelled due to safety issues within the tent, a (thankfully rare) low point for Godiva 2019. That loss was The Twang's gain however, with the outfit demonstrating just how they weathered criticism from press and public alike at the start of their career to last fifteen years and counting.

Indeed, The Twang acknowledged their appearance at Godiva 2009, where they played alongside Toploader and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, endearingly thanking the audience for choosing to watch them. Much like ELIZA, the band seemed to be in a chipper mood, with frontman Phil Etheridge suggesting that we all "have a dance in the mud, except it's not that muddy".

The Twang - 'Everytime'

Unafraid of playing their early hits like 'Either Way' and 'Barney Rubble', new single 'Everytime' was an unexpected delight - a female-led, disco-esque effort that hints at a totally fresh direction for The Twang. Good preparation for the Silent Disco, where after a twenty odd minute wait, we made up for lost time with frenzied dancing.

For the uninitiated, a Silent Disco usually entails being handed a handset that allows you to choose between two channels of music, as opposed to having a single DJ blaring their tunes out across a venue. Godiva's version very much fitted the mould, albeit with some curious musical choices - for example, Skepta's 'Shutdown' on one channel and Nickelback's 'Rockstar' on other. Most absurdly, and yet brilliantly, one DJ transitioned Ziggy Marley's brilliant theme tune to cartoon 'Arthur' into the 'Eastenders' theme tune. Hilarious.

Skepta - 'Shutdown'

With sun starting to set, it was up to Newport's finest Feeder to conclude the evening on a high note. The core members of the band (Grant Nicholas and Taka Hirose) have been going since 1994 and with the help of a number of touring musicians at Godiva, twenty-five years on from their inception, Feeder met the challenge with ease with a set chock full of their classics.

Very much a retrospective, with the vast majority of their set taken from their relatively popular singles from the nineties and beyond, they even took the time to thank Reef (who had played Godiva earlier in the day) for giving them a support slot over twenty years ago. Mixing in quieter tracks such as 'High' from 1997 debut album 'Polythene' to hit singles like 'Buck Rogers' and 'Just A Day', this was an excellent set for both dedicated fans and casuals.

Feeder - 'High'

After a spending a day checking out the brilliant Herbert Art Gallery (we highly recommend their ongoing Wonder exhibition) and Coventry Cathedral, we returned to Godiva for the final day of its 2019 edition. Having wandered our way around the rest of Godiva, sadly missing out on a falconry display, we eagerly awaited the closing headliners, Busted.

January 14th 2005 is the day that Busted officially announced they were no more, with Charlie Simpson focussing on his Fightstar project full time. A reunion came ten years later, subsequently delivering two new albums, with a smattering of these newer tracks showcased at Godiva such as the funky 'On What You're On' and pop-punky 'Shipwrecked In Atlantis'. Understandably however, it was the older material that was most popular with the sizeable crowd, alongside a cover of Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin'.

The band were keen to distance themselves from their initial popstar mould, dropping frequent f-bombs led by Matt Willis, who was also enthusiastic in his encouragement that James Bourne remove his trousers mid-set. A quite surreal experience, but with beloved hits like 'Crashed The Wedding' and 'Thunderbirds'/'3AM' (one of the most iconic double A-sides of all time) getting a showing, we can have few complaints. Especially not for two quid!

Busted - 'Crashed The Wedding'

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