Rebecca Sowray mingles with the stars…

Live from Jodrell Bank

Sunday 7th July 2013

New Order plus support

It’s like being first in the playground; we’re parked just behind a line of staff cars, on site just after the 2pm gates.  This is a landmark site at so many levels and the telescope is a line of connection from reality to fantasy.  Empty for now the stage makes a quiet temple.

For a few minutes I lie on the grass attentive, watching the Lovell telescope listening.  Today; two amazing things in the same space, science and music, both evidence of our dreaming. Two days of this year’s Transmissions make grand fuel for adventure.

Imagine music and science as non-identical twins if you will and remember that they both ask many of the same questions:

Am I alone?  What are the stars for?  Why does the sun shine?  Why are we here?

If there are other lives in space, watching as we search, pray they watch this glorious day.

We walk into the science camp – the Science Arena, and are made very welcome.  There are food and drink stalls down here and a scale model of the machine in Geneva that searches the cosmic stew.  This is the Large Hadron Collider; our attempt to search the broth of the first moments of existence.  It’s a highly technically way of breaking things to see what they are made of and it is awesome.

Amongst the many other displays there’s an exhibit of Galileo’s proof that we aren’t all that amazing; the sun does not revolve around us.

My favourite small scale display is a two centimetre square sheet of diamond reminding us that it conducts heat by cutting through ice as if it were butter.

Looking out into the stars we find wonderment; dark matter; a whimsical name for the unexplained stuff that makes space behave as it does.

We walk back to the music camp, the reason why we’re here on this particular day rather than some other.  The opening band are locals; Hot Vestry from Macclesfield.  I have masses of respect for these guys for opening but they don’t announce the songs, for the most part, which is a shame.

The opening track is closely defined, there’s a precision to both voice and instrumental and they have an amazing high energy drummer.  As the vocalist leaps to the front of stage speakers you realise his feet are the image from their publicity shot.

Their best of set is an Acid house track. Their lead puts down his guitar and gives full rein to the motion that shows in all their tracks and it really works.

As we shelter from the sun the announcer reminds us that the Sunday Transmission this time last year was cancelled, the ground thoroughly sodden after the Saturday gig.  Jake Evans should have been support to Paul Weller that day. He makes for a real contrast.  His stuff has strong melodies and showcases his large voice.  He works his way through tracks such as: This is life, Last one standing, Telephone, Glorious, and the beautiful Day 1 dedicated to his young nephew.

Nearly half way through the bands and The Whip are here to make us move, this is their talent, and they shift us from laidback to moving on fast.  I’d look these guys out again no fear.

Two bands to go before New Order and eating is an inconvenience.  There are loads of lovely food stands but I really don’t want to move from my three rows back, just to the left of the stage; a point of perfection.

Public Service Broadcasting.  I’m sorry I missed their opening and will make up for it with future worship. They are the true descendants of this place and its tribes; this is music to take your soul and surprise you with new views on the familiar.    They work through tracks titled RGOIBV, Spitfire, Everest and more.  This is dynamic accuracy with guitar lines that remember their job is to bind your heart.  The live set is played with video footage that immerses you in the imagery of the music, video faces whose lips synchronise with an electronic vocal that shocks as it dislocates you from reality.  “Hello Jodrell Bank” and “Thank you” says the voice.  These guys are living that hard that they stand higher than the telescope when they perform.

Johnny Marr is the only thing that stands before New Order now and his legions of fans are here to worship with energy. Bernard Sumner makes a brief on stage reunion for Electronic with “Getting away with it”

The excitement rises as the telescope turns to watch us as we wait.  Here is the next step in the on and off love affair that is my affection for New Order.  The parabaloid dish of the telescope makes for an amazing screen as they make a dramatic entrance.  They make their way through my favourites Regret, Isolation, Here to Stay and the set is fabulous.  I hate to admit that even after seeing them live I lack commitment.  It might be heat exhaustion but it doesn’t reach.  This is an affair that will remain a private one for days of solitude and headphones.

A musically stellar weekend.  Thank you Jodrell Bank. We’ll be back.