The finest of performances from the legends had to wait until close to the end of Sunday night, when Jonathan Richman marched onto the Far Out Stage with an engaging grin, charismatic drummer in tow, and delivered his brilliantly honed combination of lyrics that veer between the profound and the brilliantly ridiculous, guitar work that wobbles between the virtuoso and the audaciously untuned, and a performance that, after years of blurring brilliantly the barriers between humour and madness, still manages to do so in a manner that no one else would be wise even to attempt. Richman remains a unique performer and a veritable human treasure.
Sometimes, of course, you find such brilliance in more understated forms. Cass McCombs and his band reminded me - pleasingly, because I'm prone to forget - that a standard rock guitar four-piece can produce a subtle deftness of touch and create its own very singular kind of magic. And The Wave Pictures, excellent in 2010, managed to crank it up a stage further this time, their intelligent lyricism and well-placed hooks bringing this year's fantastic 'Long Black Cars' album to evocative life on stage. Errors, I would dare to suggest, managed to trump even their mentors Mogwai while new recruits to the Rock Action roster, Remember Remember, weren't far behind. And a mention too for Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks whose hook-filled Mountain Stage extravaganza managed to improve even on their headlining performance of a few years back.