Less eclectic than Glastonbury, less indie than Leeds or Reading, and not as poppy as V, the Isle of Wight festival doesn't neglect the dad-rock demographic. This year's vintage attractions included T'Pau, Ian Hunter, Blondie, Bonnie Raitt, Cockney Rebel and, in a low-key Thursday night headline slot, Happy Mondays, for whom Bez inexplicably only danced three songs.

Friday afternoon found Palma Violets throwing stylish, Libertines-indebted shapes, but failing to dispel the notion that they are all sound and fury, signifying nothing. Everything Everything's art-rock veered from staccato to sumptuous, while Jake Bugg's recycled Dylanisms were obvious but admittedly dextrous, and attracted a huge crowd.

The effervescent Emeli Sandé is a rare talent, but needs to stop milking her ubiquitous debut album, while Paul Weller delivered powerpop, cosmic blues and psychedelic soul shot through with serrated intensity. Ian Brown, a man whose pitch frequently varies from waterlogged to unplayable, held his vocals together during the Stone Roses' powerfully nostalgic headline set.

Saturday afternoon brought Laura Mvula, sounding like an amiable, Brummie Nina Simone, but Little Mix's aerobic set hinted that they may lack the tunes and sass to fill the Girls Aloud-shaped hole in the pop world. After mesmerisingly dull singer-songwriter Ben Howard, the Maccabees' lustrous, jittery art-pop and Bloc Party's twitchy indie were welcome, but both paled before a class act in the Killers. Consummate festival headliners with hooks as sharp as Brandon Flowers' cheekbones, they covered Shadowplay by the Joy Division and I Think We're Alone Now with equal elan.

Sunday's bill had a disturbingly Radio 2 bent, starting with wearyingly winsome, trustafarian folkie Newton Faulkner, and Irish pretenders Kodaline's sub-Snow Patrol epic guff. Fronting the Boomtown Rats's first gig in 27 years, a snakeskin-suit-clad Bob Geldof was, as ever, a tremendously entertaining mouthpiece for a decidedly middling band, while the endearingly personable Paloma Faith sadly bore too close a resemblance to a foghorn to be a truly captivating torch singer. The Script's saccharine soft-rock proved so anaemic that singer Danny O'Donoghue is probably edgier in his side-job as a judge on The Voice. After his band's blandishments, even the cartoon-outlaw shtick of closing-night headliners and dad-rock icons Bon Jovi began to appear bizarrely authentic. It was probably time to leave the island.

• What have you been to see lately? Tell us about it on Twitter using #GdnGig


Ian Gittins

The GuardianTramp

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