All entries for Wednesday 10 October 2007
October 10, 2007
Diary of a Festival Virgin
When you think of Leicester, the first things that come to mind are not big name acts, camping or sunny weather, however for three days this year Leicester became a font of talent and entertainment, or at least a very big park in the centre of Leicester did. Now this was my first festival, and seeing as when I told people I knew that I was going to the Summer Sundae I got a lot of confused looks, I was unsure what to expect. So armed with my press pass, couple of cans of cider, some basic camping gear and my good (and moderately emo friend) Luke, we ventured into the grungy depths of Leicester. We got there late but luckily the site of the festival was only a short walk from the train station, and the off licences were in good reach so that was a good start, however putting your tent up in the dark: not so cool, but pretty funny.
Saturday morning we woke up feeling a bit groggy, the campsite was pretty nice, showers, toilets and recycling were pretty much everywhere so that was a bonus. So having had a snickers and some wine for breakfast and then we went to see what was going on. It was warm and sunny, which was a relief after the summer we have had. In the day the acts were alright, but mainly filler in my opinion but this is where the cabaret tent showcasing different comic talents came in useful. In the evening there was Sophie Ellis Bexter, for my sins I think she is gorgeous, so that made the set all the much better, but her act was very good and got the crowd rared up for a good night, then came the magic numbers and they were fantastic, even if they all do look the chubby differently sexed versions of each other. The finale on the Saturday evening consisted of all the acts of the day along with blow up versions of the magic numbers, trippy but a pretty damn good finish to the day.
Sunday was all sunny again, another great day to be at a festival. We started with the pidgeon detectives who were great, lead singer was very energetic and started shouting “get your owl out” which never ceased to make him chuckle apparently. And went on to an evening of Echo and the Bunnymen, which was alright, but not my cup of tea apart from the classic killing moon (any fans of Donnie Darko will know this one).
All in all the Summer Sundae was a brilliant festival, great mixture of styles and tastes as well as unsigned artists and headliners, not to mention good comedy and a vibrant atmosphere all helped with the fortuitous sunny weather (and the Oxfam party I crashed). Its location was right in the heart of a city which made it great for getting around, and festival goers can sleep easy as this was the only festival to be carbon negative. Next summer keep this festival in mind. For more information check out www.summersundae.com
The Rumble Strips – Girls And Weather
After a somewhat unsuitably long wait, indie festival darlings The Rumble Strips have finally dished up their long awaited debut album ‘Girls and Weather’, and it is, well, not bad. The thinking man’s Ordinary Boys, the Rumble Strips’ brassy, ska infused Northern Soul is certainly fun, but is somewhat throwaway. Belting opener ‘No Soul’ and follow up ‘Alarm Clock’ more than prove that front man Charles Waller – formerly of Vincent Vincent and the Villains – is capable of conjuring up a cracking melody, but they don’t do a great deal more. Do we really need another track detailing the hardships of working life as ‘Alarm Clock’ does (Albeit with a clever metaphor)? Surely Hard-Fi laid this tiresome subject to rest long ago? Singles ‘Motorcycle,’ with its fabulous Bees-esque instrumental and ‘Girls and Boys in Love,’ are the standout tracks, and ‘Cowboy’ is certainly worth a mention, yet ultimately there is little to distinguish one track from another. Its when the band show their melancholy, vulnerable side on tracks like these and ‘Hate me (you do)’ that you can really relate to the West Country foursome, yet moments like this are few, and its far too easy to grow weary of the incessant horns that plague a record with otherwise good potential. At its worst, ‘Girls and Weather’ could be the soundtrack to a teen-flick prom, at its best, it has a great chance of reinventing an ageing genre and bringing it into the 21st century with a twist. Let’s have more of the latter please.
Turin Brakes – Dark On Fire
This album showcases an attempt at instrumental and stylistic experiment with an aim, so the press release says, to uncover the true purpose of making music. Well, the wanky preface to the record was helpful in so far as I knew straight away to expect pretentious lyrics and over-production – unfortunately that is exactly what I got. The title track “Dark On Fire” is haunting and floaty but lacks the lyrical and emotional substance to evoke even the same dramatic ethos as the album art. The instrumentation is disappointing and relies too heavily on glib, 90’s style guitar and drum patterns that are unexciting to say the least. There are, however, a couple of instances where they get it right. Track eight, “For The Fire”, will stay with you thanks to edgy rhythms and a stellar chorus and, in another vein, the sweeter sound of “Here Comes The Moon” provides a reminder of the beauty of Knights’ voice with a unique instance of perfect levels of instrumentation and chiming percussion. This album really cements Turin Brakes as the ‘lost boys’ of pop and, for the sake of their talent, I hope they find a credible sound. Soon.