Thursday, July 18, 2002

Mark Morrison's back catalogue doesn't pay enough for this sort of lifestyle?

BUT HOW WILL WE TOSS BOTTLES OF PISS AT FRED?: Following from the success of Korn's recent experiment at throwing a gig and relaying it via satelitte to various cinemas, Limp Bizkit are planning on copying them. Nothing new with LB copying Korn, of course; and Fred is used to making appearances via a two-way link-up after his day (not) in the Australian court room. But we're not sure this is very much in a way of a great leap forward for the fan. Sure, you could argue that at big gigs now, unless you're prepared to risk having your guts squeezed into pancakes down the front, you'll wind up doing little more than watching the event on a great big screen anyway. But the thing is, of course, a cinema is not a venue, and sitting down thousands of miles away from the band will probably kill stone dead any atmosphere there might have been; meanwhile, at the gig itself, the smaller audience will wind up making what should be an Event into something more like an expensive version of Later With Jools. And while labels might be licking their lips at the prospect of getting their bands seen without any of the expensive panoply of touring - 'we can play Boise, Liverpool and Madrid - at the same time' - taking another step away from live culture, away from that pant-wetting opportunity to actually see your idols in the flesh, is just another step towards killing the interest and excitement and downright dirtyness of rock itself. Why bother with the cinema? Why not just send out a DVD with the gig on?
Fred on the screen [BBC] - at least you won't have Fred laughing at the people trying to rescue you

THOSE WHO ALSO ENTERTAIN: In our excitement at the PlayLouder singles club, we neglected to mention the rather fine epitonic site, which is like a playground full of the sorts of music you'd make your dinner out of if you had your favourite friends coming round. Thoughtfully organised by genre, and with simple leaping off points, it's all quality artists - none of yer three blokes with a tape machine here - and well worth your time. Downloads that might respark old loves, and start new ones.

AND YOUR SPECIALIST KNOWLEDGE WOULD BE?: Rumours have it that Geri is being mooted as a judge for Popstars2, which might be a deeply satirical plan designed to demonstrate how chart success is based more on image and constantly having your face drummed into people's eyes than it is on having any discernable talent. Or it could just be a desperate attempt to find something for her to do to keep her out of recording studios.
It's just like her It's raining men video [ananova] - that was rubbish, too

IT ALMOST MAKES YOU FEEL SORRY FOR THE LABELS: Record labels complaining about the provision of cover mounts, on the grounds that it doesn't really add many sales to the artists concerned, and, because it does boost the sales of the paper or magazine concerned, they end up having to pay more for the advertisements they buy in the issue as well. Or so Gary Farrow of Sony tells the FT. This comes in the wake of the Sunday Times promoting Heathen Chemistry with a free CD (and that probably says more about Oasis' audience now than anything), but then - what do you expect? Using a covermount compy as a way of mixing new artists with more established names can be a great way of enticing people to give unheard acts a chance; just cutting fat slices off an over-established band's heavily promoted album is unlikely to do much to boost sales. Did they really picture the kitchens of England resonating to the phrase "Ah - so oasis sound like that, do they?" In fact, the whole motivation seems to be an admission that the experience of purchasing Oasis albums of late has been a disappointing one - seemingly as if Sony were saying "Look, we know you've bought the last couple and found them to be pompous and overblown, but this time... see? They sound like Oasis."
Still hasn't helped move the sales marker, though.

IT HAS COME TOO LATE: An organisation dedicated to the preservation of the indie hairstyle, the bowlcut...

IT ALMOST MAKES YOU FEEL SORRY FOR THE LABELS: Record labels complaining about the provision of cover mounts, on the grounds that it doesn't really add many sales to the artists concerned, and, because it does boost the sales of the paper or magazine concerned, they end up having to pay more for the advertisements they buy in the issue as well. Or so Gary Farrow of Sony tells the FT. This comes in the wake of the Sunday Times promoting Heathen Chemistry with a free CD (and that probably says more about Oasis' audience now than anything), but then - what do you expect? Using a covermount compy as a way of mixing new artists with more established names can be a great way of enticing people to give unheard acts a chance; just cutting fat slices off an over-established band's heavily promoted album is unlikely to do much to boost sales. Did they really picture the kitchens of England resonating to the phrase "Ah - so oasis sound like that, do they?" In fact, the whole motivation seems to be an admission that the experience of purchasing Oasis albums of late has been a disappointing one - seemingly as if Sony were saying "Look, we know you've bought the last couple and found them to be pompous and overblown, but this time... see? They sound like Oasis."
Still hasn't helped move the sales marker, though.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

TORN: Poor Natalie Imrbuglia, facing thirty and forced to advertise face gloop to keep the wolf from the door - is it just us, or does she look a whole world worse in the adverts than she does in non-make-up commercials?

we're always having fun at the expense of just how far behind even GoGirl The once-fashionable Face is these days, and yet, and yet: it keeps throwing us the bait. This month? It's the Strokes, for Christ's sake. Whatever happened to our rock and roll thrills, eh? Next month: Irvine Welsh, we bet...

an apology would have been nice, but at long last, Andy Bell has expressed his regret at allowing a Hurrican Number 1 song to be used to promote The Sun. Not to the extent of giving the money he made from the paper to a worthwhile cause, or anything, but his admission in The Guardian Weekend that it was his greatest regret was welcome. Still doesn't explain how he came to allow The Sun to do it, or why he regrets that more than agreeing to become a tune-humper for the Gallagher Bros, or allowing the wonderful Ride to collapse in a pile of in-fighting and second rate prog rock...

Dionne Warwick talked to the Observer, and came up with a convincing explanation for why she was carrying cannabis when she was stopped at that airport. "Someone must have put it there. Who knows why?" she pondered. But Dionne, stop taking it in such good part - this is a disgrace. If someone could slip blow into your bag, who knows what else they might be able to hide in blameless diva's handbags - bombs, guns, Osama Bin Laden's painkillers? Why, Dionne, rather than agreeing to do community work in order to spare the authorities blushes over this apparent breach of security, we must all bond together and demand the authorities investigate this properly...

meanwhile, in the Observer's OM, Tim Burgess invited us to his favourite restaurant table - it was slightly sad to see it involved eating lobster and drinking Jack Daniels. Long way from Manchester...

Music Week hails Fischerspooner as the Campaign of the Quarter, singling out for special praise the way that, faced with the problem of the album having flopped once on an indie label and that they were basically flogging a rerelease, Best Establishment just pretended it was new anyway - in pretty much the same way that a few jaded rock hacks are happy to pretend that their image is new. "I see them as a Pet Shop Boys for the 21st century" says Blackmore, one of their plug team. We're sending a moist towelette to wipe Neil Tennant's outraged brow...

"No wonder everyone wants to shag Craig Nicholls" proclaims the NME, thinking it might be because of "celebrity fans, awesome gigs and a brilliant album" - no, nme, it's because the Vines singer looks like he's been made from rubbing Kurt Cobain and Damon Albarn's sperm closely together. Someone makes a good and successful album, you want to shake their hand. The urge to tie down, and hold his jaw open comes from a totally different part of the mind...

news: Liam reckons the Appletons' debut is fucking great. Pity, if he'd said 'best record ever', Nicole would have probably rimmed him as well; is there a conspiracy over the failure of Radio 1 to playlist the Vines? (erm, no, just that daytime Radio 1 has been getting so conservative and lo-risk over the last couple of years, it could be mistaken for EMI in a powercut); V2002 are hopeful of Travis appearing this summer, perhaps with a stand-in drummer. If only they could find stand-in singers and musicians, too...; Mike Myers might play Keith Moon - well, at least its not Jim Carrey. Though, maybe he'd make a fine Daltrey; The Mean Fiddler seem convinced that getting a licence for the Leeds Festival is just a question of positive thinking - "we will leave the court with the judgement. if it isn't, we would go to the Crown Court" - although this seems dubious - the appeal is heard on July 24th, and so if it takes a week to go to Crown Court, things are being cut very fine for "alternative venues sixty to seventy miles" away; the ash video features Meg and Jack White snogging - or at least lookalikes, which is either incest or happy married life; the nme gets round to covering the Sony/Jackson clash and George Michael v Noel and the Whole of America...

you can win the shit parka (£650 worth) Liam wore last week in a shit competition. Amusingly, the nme says that the inclusion of the word "Forza" on it is controversial because its "associated with Italian hooligans" - yes, and the ruling party of Italy, too, you twits) but doesn't break a sweat faced with an RAF Roundel - or "randall", as they have it...

on bands - haven't they already done The Datsuns (who seem to confuse being on V2 with being cutting edge) and Goldrush (Truck Festival organising Oxfordites)...

for some reason (not much happening; being for the benefit of a hack's trip to the apple) there's a guide to Brooklyn - wear Cargo pants; listen to lesbian djs; come home...

the rapture are followed round London; they sound potentially great but nowadays, coming from New York is so pages 21-22, isn't it?...

how can I, on a hot summer's afternoon, even pretend to be interested in anything New Found Glory have to say? Let's try - "We play video games"... "we're not very photogenic..." oh, just fuck off...

"Is highly evolved the greatest debut album ever?" asks the nme. It's being serious, too. The nme - who has been round here fifty years, don't forget - is making the sort of overwhelming claim that no artist can ever hope to live up to; and not in the context of an excited review, but in the features pages, where it takes on the taste of Policy, of Law, of Certainty. Of a turn-off. The album is great, the band look great. But greatest? Let's have at least a spot of distance before we start handing out the plaques and hams. Or the six page specials. How long ago was it that we were being assured by the NME that the only way to explain how great Andrew WK was was to put two front covers of him on every magazine? Lessons not learned, the nme suddenly turns into an nme originals - interviews with "eye witnesses" like The Bloke Who Did The Sound When They Supported You Am I and A Bloke Who Lost A Band Competition To Them are rolled out like some Discovery Channel history documentary; the bitter exdrummer gets to have his say; Peter Robinson gets a little over excited about Craig's slightly undone flies which "take us to the very dawn of pop itself"; Steve Sutherland hails Craig as the voice of a generation - he stays in and EATS FAST FOOD. Just like, you know, nme journalists (or at least the ones who don't get the freebie trips to New York) and so on. You get the picture. No interview; nothing much to say, but still spread as thinly as the butter in a works cafe...

It almost makes you glad to get to the live section, for its T in the Park review (Idlewild, primals good; nme clearly went to the beer tent when Morcheba was on); meanwhile, Move in Manchester manages to review No Doubt purely in terms of how much Andrew Future wants to fuck Gwen Steffani. Luckily, he sticks to Green Day's music. Bowie all demigod wonderment, Suede's return all good news. Other live - pulp in eden ("into the spiritual realm"); the bandits in liverpool ("they show their set no mercy"); beth orton in camden ("tender like a rose") and the flaming lips in edinburgh ("Lips on fire. Let them light yours.")...

albums: the coral - the coral ("the most refreshing british debut in years",9); ed case - ed's guest list ("people who buy dancew albums don't buy them for the lyrics, do they?", 7); nore - god's favourite ("what a start", 7)...

sotw is doves - pounding ("ALIVE"); not sotw - death in vegas - leather girls ("propulsive"; natalie imruglia - beauty on the fire ("so close to being a pop star, it must be excruciating"); shakira - underneath your clothes ("celine dion meets catatonia")

beth orton chooses ten tracks for an imaginary cd - randy crawford, vangelis, bobby womack and... erm, maybe we'll go back to mine, eh, beth?...

and finally: "I have a problem with strobing. My weekend TV viewing has been ruined. Bollocks to Faithless." Can anyone explain why having one artist having one song with some strobing would ruin an entire weekend's viewing? I mean, I know Choice did over-rely on plugging gaps with Faithless, but...

GARLANDS UPDATE: Although Ananova says the fire that wiped out Mixmag's club of the year, Garlands, was caused by an electrical fault, tonight's Liverpool Echo is reporting that the fire was started when barbecue fuel was poured through an air duct. (Why is it we can't even set charcoal ablaze with that stuff when someone can apparently burn down an entire nightclub?). Hmmm, a place known for being mainly gay, operating in the notoriously combustible Liverpool clubscene? It's going to take extra cops just to compile a list of suspects, isn't it?

RETURN OF THE MAC (to B Wing?): Mark Morrison sought in connection with alledged kidnapping of a young woman...

TOTALLY UN-TUBULAR: One of the things that makes our heart sing more than joy than a bitter old man. Here comes Mike Oldfield. Mike has spent the bulk of the last thirty years endlessly rehashing his masterwork, Tubular Bells, in any variety of remixes, sequel reworkings, reformattings and so on - the musical equivalent of Whistler producing "This is my mother again, but she's outside" and "Look, its mother - but she's got a lovely puppy." It's a bit unfair, then, for Mike to moan that most of current music is "rubbish and lacking any artistic value", don't you think; especially claiming that it's all the label's fault (Mike is still recording happily for Warners) and saying that "that's why I keep away from the music industry" (Mike is about to release a brand new - really brand new - record next month.)
And you can't understand what they're singing, either - mind you, doing your pre-release press in the Czech republic is a start to keeping your distance...

OTHER MUSIC BLOGS ARE AVAILABLE: As summer hits, and both sides of the Atlantic students complete their official thinking for another year, the web hums with people suddenly having time to Do Things They've Been Meaning To and returning to blogs that have sat, shivering, waiting attention. (Office workers also offroad more, but that's because the heat their moronic management expect them to work in affects their brains and sense of judgement). One blog benefitting from the end of finals is soft music for simple people. And we were delighted to see that - on the day we turn our attention to Pretty Girls Make Graves, an interesting sidebar on how a Kerouac phrase can turn up on the tshirts of a Seattle Punk Band, via Whalley Range.

OUR OTHER NEW FAVOURITE BAND FOR TODAY: The Darkness are, of course, so much already the toast of London town with their naked chests and sexrock that they've jumped the entire rest of the country and are already being smeared over parts of America with their infectious and delicious sound. For our part, all we can do is look at the pictures, eat lots of ice cream and pretend that our numb tongue is really theirs... and listen. For they're one of the bands on the Play Louder singles club. This might be the first glimpse at the next stage in the legal new music download world. Up till now, yer Get Out Theres, Vitaminics and MP3.coms have been happy to provide a massive pile of largely undistinguished and indistinguishable tracks, working on the hope that you'd come to hear your mate's technogoober and you'd stay for the Chimps With Bells disco-rock. The effect was not unlike shopping in Ikea - you'd have an idea of what you were after, but to get it you'd spend ages wandering through featureless warehouses for hours with nothing to guide you. The Singles Club addresses the feeling of isolation by doing something more than offering a genre style heading as a way to explore their delights. A first step, but even a hike to the decent toilets at Glastonbury starts with one of those.

OUR NEW FAVOURITE BAND FOR TODAY: Pretty Girls Make Graves. Who knew that there would ever be a tradpunk genre, eh? Molko-esque vocals and no debt to Slipknot. Perfect summer punk. More info and an MP3 sample over at Lookout Records site.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

IT'S WORSE THAN YOU THOUGHT, GUYS: Blue's troubles with another band sharing their name might be slightly stickier than they thought. There's actually 21 bands called Blue, according to the Band Register.

BAD TIMING: BBC1, tonight - My Worst Week, focusing on George Michael's arrest for toilet-based todger tweakings. This is a week after he appeared on Tonight With Trevor McDonald on ITV talking about being threatened and afraid to return to the US after releasing Walk The Dog, a track which has had him labelled an Al Qaeda sympathiser (hey, Bush said, we're either with him or...). Puts a spot of cottaging in the shade, don't you think?

GARLANDS BURNS: Last year's Mixmag club of the year, Garlands in Eberle Street, Liverpool has been razed to the ground in a half million pound blaze. The once gay, now fashionably confused club has pledged to continue, with the current plan to shift operations to the 051 while the building is, um, rebuilt. Not been any word yet on what caused the blaze...

ROCK MUSIC, THE SCOURGE OF OUR NATION: Why, we ask with a sigh, does any attack on the decline of culture generally always have to decry rock music? Of course its not Schoppenhauer - indeed, that's its attraction, in many ways (not to decry Shopp, of course) - but it does, sometimes, produce something shining, and transcedent. Of course, the late twentieth century seemed to be an attempt to destroy the good work done by evolution and elevation over the previous thirty-odd centuries, and the 21st has sped up the process, but it's not neccesary to dismiss an artform that articulates voices that had been silent - it even created a whole social identity in teenagers. After fifty years, the belief that loud music is a passing phase must surely be discredited? Of course, it's easy to pick holes in some parts of the rock opus - as Roger Kimball does here:
But what seems at first to be an effort to establish cultural parity turns out to be a campaign for cultural reversal. When Sir Elton John is put on the same level as Bach, the effect is not cultural equality but cultural insurrection. (If it seems farfetched to compare Elton John and Bach, recall the literary critic Richard Poirier’s remark, in Partisan Review in 1967, that “sometimes [the Beatles] are like Monteverdi and sometimes their songs are even better than Schumann’s.”) It might also be worth asking what had to happen in English society for there to be such a thing as “Sir Elton John.” What does that tell us about the survival of culture? But some subjects are too painful. Let us draw a veil …

But not all rock music is 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart' or 'Diana died, boo-hoo.' And ignoring the truly sublime rock moments, all this does is to undermine the rest of Kimball's argument - apart from anything, no artists should be accepting awards from the State; it's the duty of art to not allow itself to be co-opted; and, further, if you can't see that some pop music has the quality and feel and value of any other work of art, then how can you be judging the culture fairly? Your arguments, however well made - and in his New Criterion piece, Kimball makes many - become fatally tainted with the feeling that you are praising what you like, and decrying what you do not understand. And since when did something's cultural value reside in how pleasing it was to the greatest of the masses?

BUGS BUNNY TO WEAR BLACK, WORK ON ANGSTY SONGS: Not quite, but the cat is amongst the pigeons with the decision of Warners to rejig its indie dealings. Henceforward, the major is outsourcing its deals with the non-mainstream retail sector through indie distributor 3MV. Meanwhile, the speed with which Vivendi - beleagured daddy of the Universal Music Group - has led to an investigation into the company's accountancy practices over the past year and a half, by the French stock exchange. Nothing much in either these items, but worth keeping an eye on...

OUTRAGE? WHAT OUTRAGE?: The Argus has been poking through its Mailbag in a bid to back up its generally gloomy coverage of the Big beach Boutique event on Saturday, but seem to have been overwhelmed with people who had a great time. The main criticism seems to be that the Railways fucked up - one writer points out that one Train company was advertising the event, despite its last train leaving Brighton two minutes after the scheduled end of the set. There are a couple of letters from people who didn't think it should go ahead at all - but when they include puns like It was always going to be "Not A Night For The Faint Hearted", as one unfortunate 40-year-old man found out to his cost, you have to ask how seriously you can take their contribution?

MAYBE HE THOUGHT IT WAS A MAYA ANGELOU: Sure, it really is the silly season now, but apparently Michael Jackson didn't realise Men In Black was a comedy. Just how alien-ated (do you see what we did there?) is the man? Meanwhile, it's ghosts for Oasis, who reckon that John Entwistle's spirit has been on stage with them after his death. Guys? If JE was able to shimmer about in spirit form, why do you think he'd hang out on stage with a pair of fresh shavers like you? He'd be dancing about in Britney Spear's changing room...

MUSICLINK: bondage music - what do you think it is? That's right, a by no way comprehensive - what, no Ultra Vivid Scene? - but loving listing of pop songs that touch, in some way, on people being tied, dominated, forced to beg, teased... Is it me, or has it got hot in here?

AFTER THE REAL LIFE DAY OF THE JACKAL: It's Hear'Say, in the Hour of the Goose, as someone waves a gun at them and they flee a Motorway Service Station
Your money or your Ginsters pastie [Ananova reports] - police have yet to arrest LibertyX

THE WORLD IS TURNING ON? YEAH, RIGHT...: Interesting piece in The LA Times over the payola scandal starting to bite Clear Channel on the butt in the US. Of course, its not payola straight; the 21st century version is a little more complicated. Independent Promoters plug records to the stations. At the same time, they buy "research" from the same stations. Of course, it's all unconnected - it's not like Clear Channel's stations are going to play records from the companies buying valueless research at top prices from them, is it? Clear Channel boss Mark Mays is a man you can trust:"We didn't think this up ourselves. They came to us and said, "Hey, listen. We want to buy research from you, buy all these different things and represent you to the record companies, and we'll pay you this amount of money." We said, "Well, sure, there's nothing wrong with that. It has nothing to do with any of our playlists." As a fiduciary obligation to our shareholders, we said it's a sound business practice; we will take the money." In fact, Clear Channel would much rather it didn't keep being given tonnes and tonnes of cash - about $13million - or so Mays says: "We've encouraged the record companies not to make these payments. I told them, "Please, don't make the payments." Why they continue to make the payments, I have no idea. But you know what? If we don't take that money the way that we're taking it, it scares me to death what they're going to pay and how they're going to try to influence people. We want the record companies to stop trying to influence and make payments to independent promoters. We're going to take the money as long as they're willing to pay it." See? They're doing a public service by taking that money, to save the nasty men from doing even nastier things.
Interestingly, one of the defences May makes - We've got a massive turnover, why would someone in our position take a risk for such a small sum of money? - is identical to the defence Richard 'Killman' Hillman made on last night's Coronation Street while he was holding Norris hostage. Also like Hillman, Clear Channel has a lot of money tied up and unreachable in property, and is bumping along atop a pile of almost overwhelming debt.
Is there anything we agree with Mays on? Mmmmmmaybe: "And then they [The record labels] scream about radio consolidation. Here's a business--radio--where the top 10 companies account for 44% of radio revenue. The top five companies in the record business, 85%. They scream about consolidation. That's the pot calling the kettle black.

Monday, July 15, 2002

NOT IN MY NAME: Delighted to come across this piece by (yes, that) Janis Ian, questioning just what the RIAA means when they say their battle to stop music downloads is in her best finanical interests. Whereas we can only sit here and gesticulate at figures, Janis is able to argue with her pocketbook and accounts:
Let's take it from my personal experience. My site ( ) gets an average of 75,000 hits a year. Not bad for someone whose last hit record was in 1975. When Napster was running full-tilt, we received about 100 hits a month from people who'd downloaded Society's Child or At Seventeen for free, then decided they wanted more information. Of those 100 people (and these are only the ones who let us know how they'd found the site), 15 bought CDs. Not huge sales, right? No record company is interested in 180 extra sales a year. But… that translates into $2700, which is a lot of money in my book. And that doesn't include the ones who bought the CDs in stores, or who came to my shows.

LIFES A BEACH AND THEN YOU...: Hmmm, the estimates of the number of people who tried to get onto Brighton Beach at the weekend for Norman Q. Cook's big beat bash seem to be rising faster than Worldcom's profits, and are just as reliable - now they're claiming a quarter of a million, which is the sort of number the Pope gets for a Sunday afternoon in downtown Manilla. However, it does seem that Fatboy's put the kibosh on any future events of a fun nature in Sussex, according to this from the the (no longer Evening) Argus
After one of Britain's biggest-ever free concerts brought Brighton and Hove to the brink of disaster, emergency services united in saying: "Never again".
DJ Fatboy Slim's party on the beach attracted more than a quarter of a million people, four times more than expected, to the seafront.
Tens of thousands crammed between Brighton's two piers, jamming roads, bringing the city's public transport system to meltdown and overwhelming emergency services.
As the city woke up to a collective hangover on Sunday, and an army of cleaners began clearing more than 100 tonnes of rubbish, a sober post-mortem was being carried out by police and council bosses who accepted the concert had spiralled out of control.
Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, who spent £100,000 of his own money to stage the concert, has offered to pay even more to ensure the clean-up is completed by lunchtime today.
The scale of the event was misjudged by organisers who predicted 60,000 fans would turn up.
But a constant stream of revellers flowed into the city from early Saturday morning from all over Britain, lured to the coast by glorious sunshine.
By noon, ten-mile tailbacks stretched up the A23 towards London.
By 3pm police realised they had a major incident on their hands. Extra officers were drafted in from all over the county to cope with the gathering crowds.
When Fatboy Slim took to the stage at 9pm an unbroken sea of faces stretched from the West Pier to the Palace Pier.
The route from Brighton station to the seafront was in human gridlock. Some 25,000 people spent the evening stuck on the mile-long route to the beach.
Almost 100 people were treated for crush injuries.
One 40-year-old man died of a heart attack. A 26-year old woman was today still fighting for life after falling from the upper esplanade on to the beach. Police were trying to contact her family this morning.
Scores of people had to be plucked from the sea.
Casualties were ferried out of the crowd by lifeboat, the only escape route.
The music was switched off for several minutes as security guards coaxed down one man dangling dangerously from the top of a street lamp.
Reveller Emily Hobbs, 31, from Croydon, south London, said: "It was utter lunacy.
"We couldn't get close enough to hear, let alone see anything. People were hanging out of buildings and standing on top of cars just to try to get a look.
"You could sense something was wrong. There were just too many people.
"Ambulances were trying to get through the crowds and people were hanging off the back just to get away from the crowds.
"At the end we could not get home and all the hotels were full so we had to sleep under the pier."
Stephen Vaughan, 23, said: "We were quite near the front and from a very early stage it was absolutely crammed.
"More and more people kept coming and coming and a few people were growing concerned about crushing. It could have been another Hillsborough."
A worried-looking Norman played a restrained 90-minute set which ended with a blizzard of fake snow swirling down on the crowd.
Then the chaos really began.
Buses and trains were unable to cope. Brighton station was closed intermittently as crowds on the platform were squeezed on to the tracks.
Four extra trains were laid on and extra buses were brought in to ferry people to stations further up the line but hundreds of people still spent the night stranded in the city.
John Palfrey, 43, from Worthing, tried to catch a train home at 10.30pm at Brighton station but was forced to walk to Hove.
He said: "I came across the most fearsome number of people outside although they were all very well-behaved.
"I did manage to get on to the platform but the train was rammed and there was no way I was ever going to get on it.
"I thought at the time it was going to be another Hillsborough as people were so close to being pushed on to the tracks.
"I've never gone to a public event and seen such abysmal organisation."
Staff at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton treated 100 people.
Hospital spokesman Ian Keeber said: "It was an absolute nightmare. Staff were working flat out. Many carried on after their shift while others came in to help.
"We were a hair's breadth away from declaring a major incident.
"As far as we are concerned we don't want this event happening again.
"We had patients with various problems including crush injuries, lacerations and twisted ankles.
"There may have been no problems with violence but as far as we were concerned it was a very difficult night.
"It was completely unexpected. Hardly anybody had come to see us for treatment last year and we had no idea this was going to happen.
"We knew it was probably going to be a bit busier than normal but we really did not think it would be on this scale."
Taxi driver Brian Ralfe said: "It was absolute chaos around the station and throughout Brighton and Hove. Everywhere was gridlocked.
"I took some people from the Bear Road and Lewes Road area down to St Peter's Church.
"It took them about an hour and a quarter and cost them £22 but they were happy to pay it because they didn't want to get out of the cab."
Despite the enormous scale of the event, police made only six arrests and said the clubbers were generally in good spirits.
The arrests were mainly for assaults and drunkenness.
And the concert provided a much-needed shot in the arm for the city's economy, hit by the miserable weather through June and July.
Hotels were all booked and pubs, off-licences, restaurants and shops were doing a roaring trade throughout the weekend.
Council leader Ken Bodfish said he thought the event had been a success. He said: "There were many more people than expected. The fact there was such unexpected good weather also helped to attract many others.
"I think the event has probably got as a big as it could possibly be and we will need to look at that in the future.
"We always have a post-mortem with the police and other emergency services after events like this and we will be doing it again this time. All the preparations were put in place based on information from last year's event. There were many more people than we expected but they were on the whole well-behaved."
Roger French, managing director of Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company, apologised to people who were kept waiting before they could get home.
Mr French, who watched the concert live on TV, said: "While an event like this shows the undoubted popularity of Brighton and Hove the city simply doesn't have the infrastructure to cope."
A spokesman for rail company Thameslink said: "We were completely overwhelmed. We had catered for between 50,000 and 60,000 people.
"It was so crowded people were almost on the track.
"We had to lay on buses because we had an order by Railtrack who were doing engineering works so we were bussing people out to Haywards Heath and letting them catch trains from there.
"There is a debrief meeting today and clearly the point we will be making to the council is our services cannot cope with that number."
A Solent Coastguard spokesman said about 20 people were taken to the marina, two miles east of the Palace Pier, where an ambulance was stationed.
At least six people were spotted in difficulties in the water and had to be rescued.
Steve Tilling, a senior control centre manager for Sussex Ambulance Service, said: "With hindsight, it would be easy to say it should never have happened.
"But we are lucky to have places for such events and I think generally they should go ahead. But I think we need to look at limiting numbers."
A council spokesman said: "It was an exceptional night, much bigger than anticipated and there were undoubtedly a number of headaches.
"There have been some problems. We will examine whether a similar event could ever happen again."
But a statement released by the organisers said: "Although the numbers were huge, the emergency services and local authority across the city responded superbly to this extraordinary event.
"Big Beach Boutique was a party that took place in very good spirits with no more arrests than any other Saturday night.
"Saturdays in Brighton can often attract 100,000 under normal conditions and the city is well placed to deal with events of this kind.
"The contingency plan to clean up the beach and the streets is swinging into action. Norman Cook is spending extra funds on the clean-up and it will be completed by Monday afternoon.
"Within ten hours of the end, 60 tonnes of rubbish had been cleansed and it proceeds in earnest."
Norman Cook said: "This was without doubt the biggest gig of my career.
"I would like to thank the emergency services on the night and everyone involved in the clean-up operation."
A police spokesman said today: "It was a difficult evening. The resources of the emergency services were stretched and Brighton was packed.
"There were particular problems, especially at the station, in getting people away from Brighton and many slept on the beach or in parks overnight.
"Extra officers were brought in from across Sussex to assist the safety operation, and some Met officers also provided further support.
"There is routinely a meeting of the agencies involved after such events. We will be meeting with our partner agencies, including the event organisers, the city council and the train operators, to see what lessons can be learned from what happened."

Of course, delightful to see the phrase 'another Hillsborough' bandied about - it seems to be a strange Brightonian reaction to wail "It's another Hillsborough" as soon as three people get together in public. Putting in an eyeglass, you have to ask: where exactly is the horror here? One hundred people in Accident & Emergency enough to start to declare a major emergency? Jesus, Gordon had better get that extra money to the NHS right away. And in all this confusion, this mass of bodies, there were six arrests, one accident, and a heart attack. In that respect, how far different from a normal summer saturday in the city would this be? Clearly, what's happened here is that systems were stretched, but worked incredibly well - apart from the fuckwits at Railtrack blithely forgetting to check what was happening in Brighton before cancelling trains, of course. A large number of people went to the seaside, had fun, a spot of overcrowding, and then went home. If this is how Brighton reacts to a busy night out, what will the place do if ever something nasty happens in the town?

BONO - THE BALD FACTS: A couple of weeks ago, Bono denied he wanted to be a politician. Now, just like Gerhard Schroeder, he's been dragged into a row over his hair. Admittedly, it's only with Chris Martin from Coldplay, which is hardly a great mind on great mind debate, and it's over the not unreasonable proposition that Bono has more hair than he has a right to, but still... the battle of Bono's bonce has got to be more interesting than a supposed spat between Starsailor and Oasis.

TRULY, MADLY, BUT WHERE'S MEG?: Jack White to write soundtrack for new Anthony Minghella film, apparently, or so ananova is reporting. He's also going to have a small part in the movie, which is something about a bloke wandering about trying to get home or something - you know what Minghella flicks are like.

XRRF GOES QVC: This week's releases, then. Propaganda have a long-deserved best of (Outside World) debut, featuring remixes of most of their best cherished tracks; Sound of the Baskervilles is an attempt to freeze in time a 1995 gig from Thee Headcoats and Thee Headcoatees, the band who famously stole Th'Faith Healers extra 'e'; while from the big indie hitters, bothIdlewild's The Remote Part and The Flaming Lip's Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots battle it out for masterpiece of the week. The reaction to preview hearings of XRRF's nominal mentors Sleater-Kinney's new collection One Beat have been mixed, which is perhaps why the album hasn't yet appeared on available lists despite being scheduled for today - we'd recommend holding out for the Bonus Track version anyway. The acceptable face of rock is, this week, offered by Wilt with My Medicine. Moving back to reactivated material, Fall completists can top up their collection of mumbles and grumbles from Mark E Smith with the release of the Rough Trade singles box set, while those who prefer their miserabilst brow-beating to have a scouse flavour can get their kicks with the reactivated Comedy by Black, probably out again to fund Colin Vernacombe's n plus fifth attempt at a comeback. Though if he wants new shoes, he might hope that Cadburys bring back Strollers and the Wonderful Life themed ad. Visage by Visage and Suicidal Tendencies' Suicidal Tendencies make it a good week for self-titled returns, but the back catalogue gem this week is Let The Breeze Open Our Hearts, a gathering of 14 Iced Bears tracks. Brighton based and Sarah signed, 14 Iced Bears are the unacknowledged start of a lineage that today flows through the Tindersticks and Arab Strap. A must-have, really.

Singles see darlings of The New The scene go head to head, as the delayed Coral single Goodbye finally gets to say hello on the same day as The Crescent turn roundTest of Time. If you're picking up the Flaming Lips album, chances are you'll also slip Little Rhymes by Mercury Rev into your basket. Moodswings marks the start of the return of My Vitriol, bastard children of JJ72 and Muse, and the battle of the female soloists was supposed to pitch Beth Orton and Concrete Sky against Shakira's Underneath Your Clothes. Despite an almost inexpicable amount of support from the Guardian Media Group (covers of Weekend and the Observer Magazine?), Shakira backed down when her saucy tune had to face down Beth's breezy instant classic, complete with new Coke-ad style naked lady cover. Shakira is holding her fire until next week.

MAYBE VINCE SHOULD INVITE THE QUEEN?: Interesting that the Yorkshire Post was one of those who attacked the plans to hold the Leeds leg of what we must call The Carling Weekender (i.e. The Reading Festival with economies of scale) in Temple Newsham Park in Leeds. The idea of rock bands tramping round the grade II listed park with their hordes of fans and loud music was anathema. Surprising, then, to see the same Yorkshire Post proudly reporting on the Queen's recent visit to Leeds, which was crowned with, erm, a rock concert in Temple Newsham...

THIS BRINGS YOU OFF HERE: Amongst the slug trails left by recent visitors to XRRF are a surprising number of people looking for information on Jeremy Vine (presumably Jimmy Young's core audience worried about the new boy), "Eminem fucks Kirsten Dunst", the frankly scary prospect of "Dave Grohl porn naked" and the ever-popular "Alpinestars."

SPAMBANDS WEEKEND WORLD: Almost Famous? Not even close, lads - and as the behaviour of digital street teams gets worse and worse, they've actually included a link to join their spam army in the spam trying to recruit fans as well. Meanwhile, the frankly perplexing crossover of am porn and mp3 that is College Dorm Life better stop tugging at our coat-tails, or we'll have something to say. College Dorm mp3s? Music to wet tshirts by?