Sundae - Friday 11th August 2006
was already buzzing by the time I reached the Musician Acoustic
Stage, so I probably needed a bit of calming, and what better
way to achieve this than by listening to the beautiful dulcet tones of
Sarah Marshall and Butterflypolite?
The band were a little unfortunate initially to be competing with bands
soundchecking on the Main Stage and music from 6musics little hut
in the corner. After a brief false start, the band graced us with their
delicate understated melodies that had shades of a slightly more cheerful
All About Eve cooking supper for The Carpenters while Tori Amos pops round
for a cup of tea. A very pleasant, comfortable way to open proceedings.
Aah, this is the life. No hurry for anything at the moment, so Im
staying put in the Musician Tent for the Andy
Griffiths Band. Lie back, tap your toes and generally chill out
to the friendly, formulaic folk music on offer. There was one song in
particular one that is apparently about one of Andys heroes,
George Mallory which was easily his best one, and you can really
tell that Griff believes what he is saying.
was up next, but seeing as I reviewed his (very enjoyable) set last year,
I didnt hang around here because it clashed with the Rising Stages
curtain raiser, Formication,
a pair of Utah Saints look-alikes who churn out agreeable ambient techno
if there IS such a thing. Then it was back to the Musician
Stage again for Storm Thieves, a kind of prog folk
ensemble who come across as like a Cornish Jethro Tull, as well as occasionally
sounding like Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Alas, I must apologise to Shana
Morrison, who was the only artist whose set I missed on Friday,
on account of my search for Pedro Cortina, our other reviewer on the day,
who it turns out had been asleep all morning. Ah
there he is! From
hereon in then, those artists that clash can all be covered, but I wont
tell you who reviewed what. Hell, Im just going to take credit for
Back over in the Rising Stage, Now came across
like an electronic version of Linoleum and housing in their ranks an enthusiastic
frontwoman who moved like Chrissie Hynde and crooned her Cure like lyrics
with bucketfuls of attitude. At the same time in the Indoor Stage,
cutting the ceremonial ribbon with their uptempo feelgood Country tinged
material. The French based band showcased some KT Tunstall type backing
and their vocalist sounded rather like Pearl Jams Eddie Vedder at
Its now a quarter to five and current album chart topper James
Morrison is due on the Main Stage to really get
the party in the swing. Morrison, for those of you who didnt know,
is rather like a slightly cooler, less annoying and more talented version
of James Blunt. He certainly has the voice to win over the audience with
his Rod Stewart like compositions. The whole thing effectively sounded
like Damien Rice singing outside his living room. Perhaps it was an oversight
to stick him on first, given his recent success, but why not open with
Clashing with each other were Zil on the indoor stage
and The Buoys in the Rising Tent. The
lead singer of the former band seemed a little too over-excitable for
what his band were playing, if Im being quite frank. There seemed
to be something of a lack of depth in their songs which is quite probably
brought about by the absence of a bass player. To me they sounded like
a weaker version of Porno For Pyros, lapsing into being the equivalent
of Duran Duran playing a mundane round of golf with Tenpole Tudor and
The Buoys on the other hand made some impressive ambient noises. Oddly,
it sounds as though the decks are on fire at times and even stranger is
the fact that this is surprisingly soothing. At this point in the festival,
you begin to realise that a lot of the great, innovative music at the
moment is being made by folk in their thirties and over theres
hope for me yet!
Liam Frost and the Showdown Family were next up on the Main
Stage, and this is another pleasant artist.
Im feeling that we really need someone to shake things up a bit
here. Dont get me wrong these guys are extremely good at
what they do a hybrid of Martin Stephenson and the Daintees, Badly
Drawn Boy and Clayhill but theyre hardly setting my world
alight. Having said that, their new singles is a TOP tune.
Well, whaddya know? No sooner does the clock strike 6 than we encounter
far and away the best artist of the day to date in the Musician
Acoustic Stage. Except this band is anything BUT acoustic.
Step up Leamingtons Great
Blind Degree who perform infectious tunes that would turn Hot
Hot Heat green with envy, and convey a vibrant, youthful energy that is
rather like a harder edged Libertines. This was a much needed shot in
the arm and trust me, this band is going places.
At the same time, Stendec were playing in The Rising
Stage. The only notes I appear to have made were Fuck
thats boring. Enough said. Music that you could only possibly
enjoy if you were in a flotation tank.
A better proposition here was Baxter
Trade link), son of the late great Ian (editor; c'mon, legendary no
less!), who swaggered on stage with the confidence of a Premiership footballer
whod just scored a goal. Or scared a goat, as my partner in crime
here today thought Id written in my notebook. Vocally, Baxter is
not unlike Jake from Alabama 3, and his musically adept, relatively dark
pop songs come over remarkably well, almost in Sisters of Mercy territory,
marking him down as one of Fridays highlights.
A million miles away from his work with The Longpigs, Richard
Hawley graced the Main Stage next. Mixing fantasial dreamlike
sequences with modernised versions of fifties doo-wop is just one of the
many tricks the man has up his sleeve. Whatever else you choose to say
about Hawley, one thing is set in stone his music is ultimately
For one reason or another mainly my stomach if Im brutally
honest I missed the majority of Seth
Lakemans set, but my ears and eyes informed
me that this was like the acoustic bit of Led Zeppelin IV, and was like
a laid back Pogues in between.
I did manage to catch A
Hawk and a Hacksaw in the Rising Stage though. Despite their intriguing
moniker and I admit, I may be getting a little cynical (or even
senile) in my old age but this appeared to just be an attempt to
make as much noise as possible with a violin and an accordion. Perhaps
I should book myself in next year to play my well crafted set of me scraping
my boots down a blackboard. Anyway Im sure a tune will arrive sooner
or later but alas, I think its time to move on to another tent.
give Kingsize their dues in the Musician Acoustic tent, they undoubtedly
got the crowd going, but to me they were just a poor mans Bad Manners,
which Ill be honest, I was pleased about, as it gave me a chance
to finish stuffing my face
were probably the surprise package of the day, as I expected this band
to be quite dull live, but they were extremely entertaining and musically
very well versed. This is a band who are a billion times better live than
they are on record I wonder if thats down to the production?
Still, maybe Ill dig the album out and give it another whirl.
The irony in the light sunny pop The Delays play is that there appears
to be a set of very ominous dark clouds hanging over us that may well
be a warning for an impending thunderstorm
Back to the Rising tent, and Sofalofa
make the sort of chilled out atmospheric music that makes you feel like
youve returned momentarily to your mothers womb. Its
a nice tingly feeling and there is an omnipresent feelgood factor to be
taken from this voyage into the unknown. I feel totally relaxed
now. Cheers guys.
is up next on the Indoor Stage, and that appeared to be purely a mix of
cracking old 60s psychedelia overdubbed with some thumping bass drums.
At least that what I heard for the short while I was watching. Nice.
Back in the Musician Tent there was the absorbing proposition of Phill
Jupitus fronting the legendary Blockheads.
Somehow it works, as the rather large DJ/comedian carries the whole thing
off rather well, belting through first Sex and Drugs and Rock and
Roll then Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and a host of
other favourites to boot. The Blockheads themselves, of course, showcase
their obvious virtuoso musicianship to great effect.
Moseying on back to the Jim Beam Rising Stage, you could almost hear Plaids
tunes being used in either a major science fiction blockbuster or a World
In Action type current affairs programme. Utilising Massive Attack style
soundscapes and structuring, Plaid perform a captivating set of restrained
Space Age hallucinations. And if you know what that means, please send
your answers to the editor on the back of a postcard. Its getting
late and weve all had a few beers yknow
The latter band were due to be headlining in this tent, but had kindly
swapped places as Psapps
keyboard player had been stuck in Verona! Anyway, they sounded like a
frazzled Swing Out Sister, as though theyd all just shot up with
heroin before a band practise. But in a good way
if thats possible
the evenings headliners, were powerful and moody as youd expect
from a set of accomplished musicians. Nothing more or less than youd
want or anticipate.
Between the start and end of the Mancunian bands gloomy but uplifting
set, we decided to catch Michael
Franti and Spearhead, who were heading the bill on the Indoor
Stage. Now, despite my intense disapproval of any artist telling me and
the rest of the audience to make some noise (this is second
only to Hello <insert city>), Michael redeemed himself
pretty quickly with his politically intense, socially aware poetry, cunningly
disguised as feelgood rock, pop and reggae tunes. Having said all that,
hes just yelled Make some noise TWICE MORE, and now
I want someone to slam that tambourine over his head. Hrrmph.
And in conclusion;
All in all then, a damn good start to the festival. One little aside though
someone ought to pull whoever chose the between bands
music up and give them an almighty hoof up the backside. I mean
Maroon 5, Coldplay and James Blunt?!! Come on! Were supposed to
be enjoying ourselves here! Luckily the quality of the artists on show
today has more than compensated for any little niggles I have. Im
keeping my fingers crossed its going to get even better tomorrow
BAND OF THE DAY GREAT
• Saturday • Sunday