Festival's fans prove hungry like the wolf for Duran Duran

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Festival's fans prove hungry like the wolf for Duran Duran

John Mangan
April 6, 2008

ON THE train to the Showgrounds, men glossed their nail polish, women adjusted their mohawks, and youths skateboarded from the carriage to the box office.

We were drawn in our thousands to Richard Branson's latest brainchild — a nation-sweeping music festival aiming to help raise consciousness of mobile phones — with V Fest offering something for everybody, from the edgiest young cosmic disco fan to the lover of retro-futurist French synth pop.

While Billy Corgan's Smashing Pumpkins topped the bill, it was women of a certain age who were generating the most anticipation as Duran Duran, the band credited with inventing metrosexuality, launched into a set of old favourites, fleshing out their act with tracks off their new album, Red Carpet Massacre.

Even before they began, fans had been jockeying for prime positions near the stage for the appearance of the Countdown-era favourites Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and the two Taylors, John and Roger.

The band opened in an explosion of red and orange lights before an energetic Le Bon launched into a crowd-pleasing rendition of Hungry Like the Wolf. Reminding fans of an era long before Al Gore's inconvenient truths and Earth Hour, their early New Wave hit Planet Earth was another celebration of a time when hairspray dominated the charts.

They were playing on the stage quirkily dubbed "That Stage", where Melbourne indie electro-pop act Cut Copy had earlier been celebrating the fact that their second album, In Ghost Colours, had debuted on the national charts at No. 1.

Meanwhile, over on "This Stage" Modest Mouse cut loose, followed by the Scottish wall-of-sound experts Jesus and Mary Chain, who were as powerful, if not as angry, as two decades earlier.

The French band Air stirred up a warm, mellow vibe with their soothing beats and a wash of old-school analog synths.

The vocoder got a solid workout during the band's hit Kelly Watch the Stars, apparently inspired by Charlie's Angels, but the highlight of the set was the moody instrumental La Femme d'Argent, from the album Moon Safari.

Courtesy The Age