Festival Frolics: Briefest of Isle of Wight Festival Lowdowns.

What with a jaunt on the Isle of Wight equivalent to a time shift back to decades past and lost, coincidentally around the time of the Isle of Wight Festival's first stint that saw an approximated 600,000 revelers wind up on the Isle to catch The Who and Jimi Hendrix (both oft referenced, revered and covered this weekend), Dots & Dashes attempts to save a little of your precious time by chewing, digesting and regurgitating broken shards of memory in as concise a format as possible...

Jay-Z: Lacking in RiRi, redeemed in Kanye who darts about the festival's gargantuan Main Stage to Run This Town for approximately 36 seconds, Shawn Carter replicates his hip hop blueprints with panache, if little style. Strutting on in black cargo shorts, side-of-stage Beyoncé really ought to be dressing him up like her own little Jay-Z doll... Empire State Of Mind sounds bigger than Manhattan, Hudson belting out Forever Young in a leather waistcoat looks about as out of his depth as Kerry Katona on GMTV, Run This Town still sounds dire and 99 Problems is the masochistic anthem to the heinous piles of dejected Philippa Holes and Bo Peep outfits incurred by the seemingly incessant stag dos ravaging the island over the weekend. He appreciates each and every one of us, and the sentiment's predominantly mutual.

Crystal Fighters: Aptly playing confusedly cacophonous revolutionary tribal dance tracks in a Strongbow-sponsored stronghold, London's Crystal Fighters may not have extracted quite as much melancholic insecurity as Florence & the Machine over on the Main Stage, although many a tear of elation sprints down sweating cheek bones. At Home sounds infinitely more triumphant than Lightning Seeds man Ian Broudie drawling Three Lions the following afternoon, Swallow envelopes every lost stumbler in a slurred, salivating mist and Xtatic Truth with its repetitive clamours of euphoria brings a couple of entranced individuals to their earth-stained jean knees. Forthcoming single In The Summer bewilderingly absent.

The Strokes: In the live setting, Julian Casablancas and his dashing band of whippersnappers are known either to blow minds, or hopes and expectations into the wind like Damon Gough taking a leak in the bushes. Tonight's one of the dud nights, Casablancas visibly swaying uncontrollably in a studded leather jacket stupour, as blonde hair extensions flutter about disconcertingly in the easing breezes of Saturday night. You Only Live Once is still the best Bond title track never to make the soundtrack, Is This It sounds as lethargically invigorating as ever and now-traditional closer Take It Or Leave It's tighter than Justin Hawkins' booze belly squeezing into one of those spangly catsuits from seven years ago. Yet as The Strokes' oily cogs turn routinely, there's a hint of reunion disinterest in every treble-drenched Strat stab that emanates from Albert Hammond Jr.'s nimble fingers, every Fraiture bass thud, every frenetic snare bash from Moretti's corner. Take It Or Leave It? Maybe best to Leave It this time round...

DOWNLOAD: The Strokes, Take It Or Leave It (Live, Isle Of Wight Festival 2010).

Blondie: Debbie Harry, once pinup and underground icon tonight resembles a mum of four killing time whilst smiley face potato chips singe in the AGA. Playing before a graffiti tag of the once-quintet's timeless moniker, Harry struts and swivels on her heels to that bloody exhilarating guitar solo from One Way Or Another, swoons impeccably to Heart Of Glass and screeches adolescently to Call Me. God alone can explain the inclusion of a mundane Taio Cruz cover, and Harry shatters infantile illusions by leaving the stage to the phrase: "Don't do anything I wouldn't do..." Not entirely sure as to what that entails exactly...

N-Dubz: For an Ibiza-approved mainstream rap collective regaling tales of contraception misdemeanours, Facebook troubles and relationship frailties ripened primarily by Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Dappy, Tulisa and Fazer have surpassed most expectations given their NW endz' musical outpourings of post-Libertines landfill likely lads. Yet Say It's Over unites every last dropping jaw and aloft arm under a Big Top packed to the rafters. Costume changes, pillow fights and woozy guitar solos punctuate an underdog set infinitely supreme to the sleazy R'n'B currently pumping out of America like slurried oil slick.

Biffy Clyro: With Download contemporarily churning up Castle Donnington's green, green grass, thoughts dash to the conspicuously bizarre booking of Simon Neil's Biffy Clyro for Absolute Radio's Isle Of Wight Festival in place of the Midlands' primary metal plated mosh hole. Beyond That Golden Rule, Justboy and Glitter and Trauma however, Neil and brothers Johnston exacerbate adeptly their reputation as a stadium-devouring rock act sailing defiantly down the mainstream. With around three times as many festival frolickers witnessing Robert Green fumbling about on South African soil, Machines is the single tear-wrenching moment of their bloated A-list hits set, with Bubbles floating loftily, disingenuously, whilst Born On A Horse showcases itself as their most contrived three minutes thus far. 'Mon the Biffy, you're drifting precariously towards entire irrelevance.

Devendra Banhart: Devendra looks as perplexed as any as to what he's actually doing in the blistering heat of a sparse Big Top. Local native and The Bees' frontman Paul Butler provides slightly superfluous tambourine backing on a tumultuous rendition of 16th and Valencia Roxy Music and a ramshackle bluster through Foolin', taking time to slot in a rather superb lo-fi cover of one hit (not-such-a) wonder Taylor Dayne's Tell It To My Heart. Shirts, ties and preppy blazers ought to become the order of the day.

Paloma Faith: With all the brassy sass of Tina Turner, the husked voice of Winehouse without the broken bottles and syringe scars, and more sex appeal than Duffy, Adele, Little Boots and La Roux combined, the Hackney gal done good. Smoke & Mirrors, set highlight and stage show inspiration sets Faith apart as Britain's bestest drivetime crooner, whilst Romance Is Dead reignites that old Girl Power advocacy, and New York, equipped with Panic! At The Disco schmaltzy Broadway intro flourishes into a bolshy, brash couple of minutes. The truth or something beautiful? Something this beautiful will just have to do.

Paul McCartney: It's not every other festival you get to witness, as James Corden puts it during his rather sycophantic placard-based intro, 'a living legend'. But then there's only two Beatles still roaming the furrows of this earth. And one of those two won't reply to your fanmail these days... Fortunately, the other, Sir Paul McCartney dresses a little like a dapper Libertine and plays greatest hit slots encompassing Beatles, Wings and solo stuff. And seemingly thrives on every second he's up there; from the tender vulnerability of tearjerker Blackbird, to the unashamed bravado of Live and Let Die, endearingly wittering tales of Jimi Hendrix sixties shows and the jubilant exaltation of All My Loving McCartney provides the most pleasurable two hours we could possibly hope to spend with a 67 year old. 68 this week, happy birthday Paul.

DOWNLOAD: Paul McCartney, Hey Jude (Live, Isle Of Wight Festival 2010).

P!nk: Warming up for Macca and getting any reminiscence to remain over the following hours, days and perhaps years may be a feat bordering on the implausible. Yet it's a feat that P!nk practically achieves, despite drawing heavily from besotted fifth LP Funhouse and dragging songwriter and "drinking buddy" Butch Walker out for a dross bumble through a My Generation/ Basket Case miscalculated mash-up and a lethargic Roxanne cover. Dropping 100ft on a bungee means she's in need of her own personal crane. That's fine, even if it's used for little more than a minute, such is her level of undisputed stellardom. She then rolls about on the flailing limbs of her infatuated crowd, thieving Wayne Coyne's thunder before performing zip wire acrobatics overhead to closer So What. She's not really the "rock star" she claims to be, but she's a showstopping centrepiece nonetheless.

Spandau Ballet: Comprised of Tony Hadley, that one off of Eastenders, that overtly enthusiastic saxophonist and the others, the recently reformed faux-elegance of Spandau Ballet pertains to an air of supergroup exultance, albeit the most mundane supergroup since Freebass... Communication still sounds as sordid as a spot of forested rough and tumble in Grand Theft Auto's Vice City, I'll Fly For You as dated and dusty as the plethora of Bonnie Tyler 12 inches presumably clogging up attics the length of Wales and Gold could do with a spruce up, but True illustrates quite how it made the shoddiest of Charlie's Angels remakes a little more engaging than a couple of soaked, slippery wetsuits ever could.

Not so much the shape of things to come, this year's Isle Of Wight Festival pertains to precisely where we stand with mainstream counter culture. And pop culture/music/desecration could find itself in a deeper ditch... Is This It? Seems that way, yes.