Serena Maneesh were my token new band of the weekend. They hail from Norway or Sweden or somewhere. They had a kind of neo-Goth thing going.
Bands seen before who did the job included the Sun Ra Arkestra and The Horrors, both of whom managed to transcend the duff sound of the big downstairs stage. Also impressive were The Dirty Three and Sonic Youth. Warren Ellis and Jim White of The Dirty Three did a lot of seeing other bands during the festival, their full-on beards making them look like escapees from an American Civil War re-enactment society. I wonder what has made the other guy from the band remain so lacking in facial hair. It would be an astonishing coincidence if his name turned out to be Bruce Beard.
Live favourites Yo La Tengo played a slightly odd set – they more or less completely skipped out the audience interaction I tend to associate with the Tengo, and they opened with a long, driving instrumental that for a brief moment raised the prospect of their doing a repetition of that time Sonic Youth played free improv to a festival crowd; but then they launched into what was apparently a greatest hits set. It is a while since I saw them, and it was noticeable that James McNew seems a bit less like a man treading the thin line between shyness and total rock abandonment.
Primal Scream were piss poor, though they were not helped by the main stage's dire acoustics. My special friend described them as being like a parody of a rock band. Maybe they always were.