Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I Don't Do Happy Songs!

Day two and despite the slight rainbow effect that yesterday's cider consumption has caused in my head consolation can be found in the fact that at least its not raining. A couple of headache pills sufficiently dull the aching enough to allow for a wander towards the shower blocks. Mercifully the queues for said attraction haven't reached critical mass by the time I get there and even better there is still masses of hot water. Another tick in the book that is rapidly making this medieval village come festival one of the highlights of the year. Aggghhhhh enough pre-amble on with the show!


The day opens to the not that earth shattering post rock tones of Cardiff's Vito conjouring up images of Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai, its a pleasant enough start to day two. Things can only get better right? So its an air expectation that consumes us as Mancunian two piece Voice Of The Seven Woods take to the stage. Incorparting indian tinged ragas, loops and brain pounding beats; the lads entice a moderatly sized crowd to gather around the main stage. Their hand made CdR's were one of the best selling things on the merchandising stand, luckily those that missed out can still purchase these and the hand silk screened Andy Votel designed t-shirts direct from the boys themselves. Time then for a spot of lunch and as previously mentioned there was such a bredth of choice it was hard to know what to go for; vegetarian paella won out the battle this time as a quick look at the pieminister queue deemed it a little bit long, those are the breaks though for creating something wildly popular and then giving it to the masses.

Vito - Welcome The Lightning

Staying with the main stage seems to be a bit of a theme today so not wishing to break that particular trend I opt to hang around for ex Gorky Zygotic Mynci front man Euros Childs. He cuts a lithe figure on stage leading T to proclaim loudly that he looks as though he could do with a bit of feeding up. But before he can launch into material from his album "Chops" the bass unexpectedly goes tits up, leaving Childs no choice but to improvise and cover up the shortfall. Eventually with everything back on track we're off at a rolicking pace and even dodgy festival sound can't dampen the spirits of the gathered masses. A few new songs are unveilled which if anything sound better than the older material, I make a mental note to get along and see the other ex Mynci onsite; Richard James on Sunday as a result of the set (something I later forget to do.) The rain is back and there is just enough time to catch one or two of Tuungs set and the celebrated Greenman streaker, before heading over to the Folkey Dokey stage to catch hot young hopefuls Bat For Lashes.

Brighton based Bat For Lashes, blending a caberet atmosphere with their mystically tinged nocturnal indie folk. I'm a little disapointed when I get to the stage though as the band are still going through the motions of an extended sound check. Once things get going though and after an apology or three from Natasha Kahn it gets alot better. At times Natasha Khan's troupe of minstrels recall Goldfrapp with perhaps Cat Power's own Chan Marshall fronting them, but this is about as far away from the bestiallity themed electronica of the the former and there are also non of the stage fright that has been known to mar the later's shows. Not bad then for a band who haven't yet released an album proper. The album is due on September 11th fact fans on Echo records; consider this advance warning if the live version is anything to go by this is one to make sure you put in you shopping baskets when doing the weekly shop. The longer than normal soundcheck means I have to make a hasty exit at the end of the fifth song to make the main stage for King Creosote.

Kenny Anderson who has traded under a number of aliases including the KC moniker over the course of his quite impressive 33 albums bursts onto the stage grinning like a madman and proceeds to introduce his sparring partners for proceedings. Not anywhere near the excesses of last years bonanza where he was joined on stage by The Earlies and all of the 30 strong members of his Fence Collective and maybe also a few passing Japanese tourists. Still the cut price version is still pretty good and there are a couple of familiar faces in the shape of The Pictish Trail and Barron Le Rouge on guitar and bass respectively. The bombast of songs like "Twin Tub" and "6,7,8" even coaxes the sun out from its cloudy hideaway. As an encore Anderson enquires as to whether there are any aliens in the crowd and with that he is joined on stage by older brother Gordon (Lone Pidgeon) and some ex members of the Beta Band, appear on cue and they burst into a redition of the Aliens new single "Happy." So energetic is the song that Gordon Anderson briefly forgets where the stage is and fall off mid spin, only to be dumped back on stage a couple of seconds later.

The light is starting to fade now and its almost fitting as up next on the main stage is Micah P Hinson; a man whose enjoyed plenty of "life" in his short 24 years. Drug addiction, serving time in prison and being declared bankrupt all help to inform his take on gothic tinged country. Two albums under his belt so far we get a set encompassing these and peppered liberally with material on his new album "The Opera Cicuit" due on Sketchbook Records in September.

Time then for a switch in pace; over to the so far very reliable GM stage and at the risk of missing the innagral Silver Jews festival appearance, still the thought of watching Jack Rose was too big of a temptation to shake off. Rose who cuts a quite an anonymous figure amongst the masses. Originally from Virginia but relocated to Philidelphia in 2002 rose to the attention of the music media as a founder member of the drone/noise group Pelt whose influences included the recently spotted headed towards ATP; drone lords The Dead C. A sea change in Pelt and Rose's modus operandii saw them leaning more towards the minimalist guitar techniques of the late John Fahey. Releasing his first solo material in 2002 he has released a handful of material since which has garnered him wide acclaim including his 2005 tribute to the late master "Kensington Blues" on VHF recordings. What follows in the next forty five minutes is a studied practice in the art offinger picked guitar which is a marvel to watch, not only was it amazing to watch the sound was almost celestial.

Sticking with the GMC stage I hung around and waited for Malcolm Middleton to start, while it seems everone else was either headed towards Keiren Hebden/Steve Reid in the FD stage, or those who wanted to bored to death went off to see the suitably soporific José Gonzalez on the main stage. Turns out again it was the right choice as the FD tent was packed to the brim and anyone who ventured into the main arena was rendered unconcious in minutes. Malky who also plies his trade most often as member of Scottish misrablists Arab Strap is on form tonight opening his set by asking where everyone had got their "welly boots" from and then reflecting on the more exotic varieties he'd seen wandering around the site! Then we were treated to basically the entire back catalogue including a audience participation version of "1,2,3,4" and boyant versions of"Break My Heart", "Loneliness Shines" and "Autumn" as well as few new songs which aren't quite ready yet and seem to stop abruptly in the middle. It's a herois set and the usually quite dour Middleton puts down a request for a happy song next by quipping "I don't do happy songs!" he seems to almost be having fun. On which note it was time to retire back to tentsville again, making sure to pick our way through the guy lines on the way.

To be continued......


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