The V Festival isn't, ordinarily, the most nail-biting of the summer season. But this weekend's bash, held on dual sites in the north and south of England, is proving a curious exception.
In the Verve and this week's NME cover stars Muse, the corporate-sponsored event has bagged itself and enviable pair of headliners. And though Muse were always going to be rounding off their awesome Black Holes And Revelations campaign this weekend, things are starting to look rather valedictory for the Verve as well.
Richard Ashcroft's epic rock 'n' soul outfit are already onto their third comeback, having already fallen apart twice--after their A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns albums. They were thought to be long dead, but everyone was pleased and surprised when it transpired last year that they were reforming not just for a string of festivals (the second-most-talked-about set at Glastonbury) and a new album (the awesome, imminent Forth).
But an incident over the weekend at Japan's Summer Sonic festival over the weekend is starting to make this look like one of history's shortest reunions. Nobody's expecting bandmates of 40 years to always remain best of friends, but Richard Ashcroft even recently described the band's relationship as "nothing like Mills and Boon." The band apparently had an argument while onstage, Ashcroft apparently frustrated at after a shambolic show. Guitarist Nick McCabe ended up travelling home separately from the band, and gossip site Holy Moly has been reporting a fragile mental state. Their sources reckoned "there's as much chance of them playing V as Isaac Hayes."
This morning, band's publicists rubbished the whole report, claiming that McCabe was suffering from nothing more than a cut finger, and that this weekend's shows definitely will go ahead.
So who to believe? There's surely too much riding on these shows to pull them altogether--but might the people watching this weekend might be witnessing that band's last ever performances? They could surely at least wait until the album's actually out before splitting for the third time--surely?