Covering the whole spectrum from traditional to freak by way of alt-country with a little post-rock thrown in for good measure, Green Man stretched folk to its most elastic, and was all the better for it.
Friday took traditional and gave it a little twist, combining classical instruments with imaginative modern arrangements.
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset mixed lilting harmonies with charming covers, including a beautiful version of Robert Wyatt’s ‘Sea Song’. Indigo Moss sounded like Buffalo Springfield meeting Natalie Merchant, mixing raucous sound and quiet menace. Euros Childs’ solo material sounded very like the stuff he did with Gorky’s, but with the added bonus of a couple of tracks sounding like Wales’ entry to Eurovision. Bill Callahan brought an angular, spiky minimalism into play with a set of controlled power.
Joanna Newsom had her usual Marmite effect, half hailing her as genius, but more memorably described as ’sounding like a bag of kittens being slammed against a wall’!.
And then it rained. From Friday night to Saturday afternoon it was relentless, reducing the site to a scene all too familiar to this season’s festival goers. Clinic pulled in the still-soggy crowds, providing a dose of amped-up indie energy. Dressed in a sinister combination of brown boiler suits, top hats and surgical masks they sounded like an evil Inspiral Carpets playing skewed party music.
Saturday late afternoon and early evening on the main stage was an all-Americana affair. The Broken Family Band gave us some good old-fashioned country-rock in a Gram Parsons style. Vetiver’s West Coast stylings started well, but didn’t really go anywhere, but the highlight was Richmond Fontaine. Combining Steinbeck storylines with some kick-ass country sounds they had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands.
It was a shame then that Vashti Bunyan’s set felt so one-dimensional. After the ubiquitous T-Mobile moment, it was time to take in something more raw. Fridge sounded like Sonic Youth attacking Slowdive. Epic builds and chaotic climaxes attracted a large crowd eager for something a little less polite.
The Super Furry DJs gave us eclecticism under one roof with everything from 70s Welsh pop to Bollywood funk, with Eric & Ernie’s ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ providing a perfect festival moment. John Power proved a surprise hit, blending swamp blues with campfire philosophy in an engaging style that still maintained his pop sensibilities.
Sunday saw the sun return, albeit fitfully, for arguably the strongest line-up of the weekend.
Malcom Middleton’s dry wit can’t save us from further showers, but was a perfect combination to his infectious songs about love, loss and longing. Alisadair Roberts showed us there’s more to life than death with a new, slightly less sombre, set.
Gruff Rhys gave the most theatrical performances of the weekend. With the stage set out like a press conference (complete with microphone-laden table and a backdrop of his Candy Lion in a test card milieu), we were treated to an epic version of ‘Skylon’, ably assisted by the lovely Lisa Jen from 9Bach acting her heart out.
Seasick Steve came on stage looking slightly bewildered, then begins a set that totally rocks. Somewhere between a gig and standup, he cracks jokes that are genuinely funny, and the crowd can’t help but truly warm to him. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks may not have played any old Pavement favourites, but they did produce a tight and focused set that avoided the highs, but also the lows and musical meanderings of his previous incarnation.
If you’re going to get wet, Green Man is the place to do it. Nestled in the Usk valley, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, Glanusk Park is a truly beautiful setting for a festival. Well laid out, the site easily absorbed the crowds, and even some of the mud, with the biggest queues of the weekend saved for the ever-popular Pieminister stall. The main stage is at the bottom of gently terraced lawn, creating a natural amphitheatre that provides perfect acoustics. The Folkey Dokey stage and the Rumpus Room (unfortunately minus any soft play toys) were more traditional big tents, but the Green Man Café, a 3-sided canvas covered bandstand set in an old stable block, provided a more intimate environment. With good food, clean toilets and great energy, the whole thing was very pleasant.
There were times when it was all a bit too pleasant, and some of the acts were in danger of becoming aural wallpaper, but the variety, short sets and tight turnaround meant that there was always something interesting around the corner.
All in all, it was rainy, but folky.
By Nitzan Hermon
How did you guys meet?
Yannick : before we started producing we actually met in Rainer Truby Parties in Freiburg, since we both come from that area, which is in South West Germany.
And then you started Djing Together?
Daniel : Actually no, we met in the party there and didn’t really talk to each other…we were pretty much the youngest kids.
I then moved to Berlin and Yannick Moved here a year later and then we met here again.
Yannick: I remember that the first time I went out in Berlin which was actually a week after I came here we went to “Delicious Donuts” and that was the first encounter in Berlin.
It seems that delicious donuts was a centre point for many artists (i.e. Eva Be interview).
Daniel: Yeah, there were loads of stuff going on but I think that we were a bit too late, we were at the downfall of DD.
So both of you live in Berlin now?
Daniel: yes yes….
Can you still find parties like that in Berlin these days? Which are more freestyle and not so hard techno
Daniel: well, it depends on what you consider freestyle… the nu jazz freestyle is pretty much dead ….now its more like rocky, danceish cosmic obscure… 80s new wave stuff
I think that the nu jazz, acid jazz has been dead for a while now, it might even get a revival sometime soon…it has been dead for long enough
Yannick : I guess so, that’s what people say at the moment…
Ah yeah? Is that the word on the streets?
Yannick: The people who want it to revive say it….(laughter)
I would like to have a revival of that to be honest….
People are under the impression that over there it’s all about the minimal. Is there room for any other genres?
Daniel: oh yes…plenty of room…minimal is still around but people are getting more and more bored by it. I think that straight house is hitting back, kinda cosmic vibe…
What music designed your musical taste? what sot of stuff you were into when you were growing up?
Yannick: Queen. We are both big queen fans
Daniel: people day that we were great jazz collectors on or teen years but that not rally true, we were really into Queen. It was only Queen and nothing else…
We didn’t know each other on those years but we still both were really into Queen.
Have you seen ‘We Will Rock You’?
Daniel : hehe …no actually we didn’t… its funny cause people tend to ask us that…
Yeah cause it’s the first connotation people have of Queen in London… yeah but it is an excellent band.
Daniel: it’s more than an excellent band.
What was the turning point for some more underground and dance oriented music?
Daniel: there is no tuning point.
Yannick: we are still very much into queen but yeah…the turning point must be ’s parties for us…
Daniel: yeah…I had all of the Queen records and listened to them more than a hundred times I got more into rock and funky stuff like Rage Against the Machine and Chilli Peppers. After the metal punk episode was over I read about acid jazz and then I bought a Jamiroquai CD, it was boring… but later when I saw the flyers for Rainer’s parties it looked quite interesting so I went there and it was a whole different story. It was loads of fun, it was a whole new universe of music for me.
I think that the nu jazz, acid jazz has been dead for a while now, it might even get a revival sometime soon…it has been dead for long enough
Yannick: after the Queen phase I got into the Sepaltura and Pantera pahse by that time I was shouting(as a singer) in bands… I did a trip to London when I was 17 and that was actually a time when I was really into the whole pulp fiction thing and I was looking for things to sound sort of old and I got a big tape and went to the park and just got into this great party…then when I went back home I was looking for a DJ to play funk records but that sort of stuff didn’t exist in a small town like the one I am from… and then I saw one of Rainer’s flyers saying deep funk and that why I went there and that was the tuning point
Daniel: actually for years and years it said deep Funk Acid Jazz… no no… future jazz and something else…
Yannick: Deep funk , yeah future jazz and drum n bass
Yannick: something like that… (laughter)
When did you start you want to DJ/produce?
Daniel: when I got into music I bought one deck and started buying records and started mixing one cd and one record. When I had one box of records I decided I am a DJ now and bought the second deck and organized a little party which was completely over the top for me, since I couldn’t really DJ. I did it with a few friends and we had like 400 people showing up.
Yannick: I was doing a radio show with a friend, not in a pirate station but a very small one. We used to play rock and heavy metal and one time we decided to play a techno master mix, just for fun and somehow I took it more seriously than the other guy and got some vinyl and then things started to get going.
Did you get any musical education at home?
Daniel: I did some piano when I was 6, until I started playing football.
Yannick: I got loads of musical education. I played piano, saxophone, drum and bass
It really shows in your music, tracks like ‘Power House’, with a strong piano like Detroit feel…
That hidden track after ‘Black Rose’ is amazing as well…
Daniel: that actually the first track we ever did together.
Yannick: it a really old track, we did it in July 2004.
Daniel: we were completely just following the audio and tried to some audio illustrations to the lyrics
Yannick: it was some very ambitious sound design work…
It seems like the album is getting a strong following. How do you feel about being more recognized outside the scene you originated in? Purist might be cynical about breaking out of the crowd that gave you the first support.
Daniel: Fuck purists, it is music and its fun and people enjoy it.
Yannick: that’s just the thing about purist, they are always going on with their finger up their ass, saying; oh… you should do this and you should that but actually its completely useless…
Daniel: most of good new music didn’t appear from purists, it always comes from some sort of a mixture, when people are open minded and not pure.
Yannick: and also being too purist also involves being too conservative. What can you create when you are being conservative?
In a way it’s the opposite of what your doing. You combine genres rather than separate them.
Yannick: defiantly, when you have all of these influences: Queen, funk and jazz to house and Detroit. It’s hard to keep things separated.
It’s all part of your musical education.
As part of Trojan Records 40th Anniversary activities, various DJs and musicians have been given free reign to select and remix tracks from the reggae label’s vast back catalogue. One of those involved is Manchester’s dapper DJ Justin Robertson.
Clash caught up with him for a quick Q & A about his remix and what the Trojan label means to him
Why did you decide to get involved in the Trojan Takeover series?
Well I’ve been a fan since I was a little suedehead! and I’ve always wanted my name on a piece of Trojan vinyl!
40 years of Trojan; what do you think of the past and present of the Trojan Records label?
Its heritage is breath taking, it really helped develop and expose reggae in the UK, I think lots of people were introduced to reggae through the tighten up series in particular. The catalogue is so massive I think they will be unearthing stuff for years to come!
What was the first Trojan Record you bought?
Probably one of the ‘Tighten up’ comps , or ‘Double Barrel’ by Dave and Ansel Collins, man I love that record!
What does Trojan Records mean to you?
Good times skanking late at night! Soundtrack to a whole life style and identity.
The catalogue is so massive I think they will be unearthing stuff for years to come!
Any favourites out of the Trojan Records collective?
‘Moving on up’ – Cimarons, ‘Iron bar’ – Lord Tanamo, ‘What a fire’ – Ethopians, ‘My Conversation’ – Uniques, ‘Chant down Babylon’ – Freddie Mcgregor, ‘Here I am’- Al Brown, ‘Duppy Conqueror’ – Bob Marley, ‘Ali Babba’ – John Holt, ‘Pressure Drop’ – Maytals… I mean you just can’t get better than that!
What do you think the Trojan Takeover Series will accomplish?
Well I hope it will introduce reggae and the riches of the label to new audience, and add a twist, refreshing the tunes for the long term fans!
What inspired you to choose this particular track, ‘ I Need your Sweet Inspiration’ by the Pioneers, for remixing on the Trojan Takeover series?
Its been one of my faves in my more eclectic dj sets, I just love the optimism and sunshine sound of the original, its a Dan Penn song which helps, I always love a reggae cover version!
Something isn’t quite right here. Yes I’m outdoors. Yes I’m stood in front of a stage. And yes I’m loaded up on booze. But, but, but… What’s that odd warming sensation tickling the skin? It’s only fucking sunshine innit. And who’s that creasing the speakers nice and proper? Sophie Ellis Bextor mate, that’s who. And what am I lobbing down my thrapple? Pimms. You heard; Pimms! Somebody needs to tell the organisers of this year’s Summer Sundae to book their ideas up for 2008 – the British public will not stand for such pleasant conditions. We expect drizzle, anonymous indie bollocks and warm fucking lager!
Festivals aren’t actually supposed to be fun…
Six years old and with a line-up that doesn’t inspire much in the way of excitement (think Glastonbury’s second stage and you’re in the right enclosure), Leicester’s Summer Sundae could readily be overlooked amongst the blanket festival scene that seems to have befallen the UK recently. Honestly, you can’t stroll across an expanse of grass these days without some cunt in a porkpie hat whining in the corner whilst a load of Guardian readers sit on the grass smoking shitty weed. Lob in a couple of precocious kids eating Fair Trade paella at ten quid a plate and you’ve created your own little corner of hell.
Bearing this in mind Summer Sundae doesn’t initially inspire much hope. Rocking up to the inner-city site you’re confronted by hampers, families, smiling security guards and the usual retinue of hippy-wank market stalls. Arghhhh! But get inside, have a wander around and suddenly it all becomes clear; yes there may be the usual glut of knobs infiltrating your head-space, but you’re far enough from the M25 for it not to be utterly insufferable. Leicester is evidently a Midland Mainline journey too far for the Islington pariahs and Camden cocks.
Somewhere between Glastonbury (c.1995 – before the 30-something cultural vampires reduced it to a lifeless draw full of porridge…) and The Big Chill, Summer Sundae succeeds in being a relaxed three days of music which doesn’t neglect, nor pander to, the various minorities which stalk its fields. A fusion of pill heads, bong boys, picnic-blanket families, Mojo men, and young types who seem to have wandered straight out of Skins, the traditionally warring tribes all get along without spilling any humus. The fact that the sun dons its hat for the entire weekend can’t have dented the breezy mood either…
Civilised without seeming too safe, Summer Sundae really represents a bijou festival done right – with Pimms on tap happily co-existing next to the crusty chap selling Morrisons Value Cider by the gallon. Small enough to circumnavigate numerous times within the hour, the various stages provide a pleasing mix of middle-weight fare from the likes of !!!, Maps, Martha Wainwright, Divine Comedy, The Magic Numbers, Simple Kids and Pole. However it’s the inclusion of Sophie Ellis Bextor on the bill that tells you everything you need to know about this particular shin-dig’s ethos. She isn’t there as a novelty. She isn’t there so twats in day-glo accessories can dance along ironically. She’s there because the organisers realised that on a sunny day, full of booze she’d make a darn good addition to the line up. And she does. Rattling through a set that features a disgraceful number of hits, there isn’t a static pair of feet in the field for ‘Groovejet’ or ‘Murder On The Dancefloor’ – with the Blue Peter-sprog keeping it graceful throughout. Apart from when she nearly nose-dived off the stage of course.
Elsewhere real highlights included the ethereal drizzle of the Maps (surely a good bet for the Mercury this year?), who’s electronic grandeur converts perfectly to the tarnished grandeur of the De Monfort Hall indoor stage. !!! succeeded in bringing a sweaty slice of cow-bell New York to the Midlands through there post-punk ruckus, whilst Polytechnic cast off the mantle of ‘the new Bloc Party’ and played clean out of their skins. With Vetiver, Low and Spiritulized all invoking a smile or two, the truth is that Summer Sundae is much more than the sum of its parts – wherein a modest line-up, compact surroundings and diverse crowd conjure up a genuinely unique experience. If festival fatigue is setting in, this could be the pill which revitalises you. Add to the mix a couple of bigger names (someone like Daft Punk for next year maybe? Please?) and Summer Sundae could become a much treasured jewel in the British calendar.
Now pass me the Pimms, I’ve got a posh bird to dance to…
“Gym Class Heroes are the new Black Eyed Peas” Not so much damning with feint praise as shredding all notions of accolade, rubbing it in shit then burning the remains on a midnight pyre. Alexander Pope would bum himself stupid… As such it’s a damn good job we’re not doling out any such indignities on the reigning hip-pop regents – taking a stance far more suited to cheery indifference than venomous indignation as they drop nugget after nugget of breezy East-coast whimsy.
Sugary on the surface but potty-mouthed beneath, Gym Class Heroes deserve a pat on the back for bringing a much needed degree of subtly to the increasingly overt lewdness that pervades this particular pop division. Yes ‘Clothes Off’ is fairly blatant, but have you fucking heard ‘My Humps’? Case closed. With the tricky afternoon slot at Reading and Leeds fast approaching, we thought it was a pertinent time to chat to the lads about the British weather and how to dodge an armada of Evian bottles foaming with piss. Helmets are the new concussion.
Holed up in the neon-enema of Las Vegas, front man Travis McCoy (brimming in tattoos / scallywag attitude) and drummer Matt McGinley (think the ginger bloke out of Air in a porkpie hat) were in town to perform at the Heineken Thirst Studio event and record the video for ‘Clothes Off’ – still finding time nonetheless to let a sun-crisped Clash into their hotel room for a bit of jaw. And guess what? They turned out to be right chatty fucks. Fix up, read sharp!
How are you?
Travis: We’re good – just a bit jetlagged…
Have you been to Las Vegas before?
Travis: Hell yeah – it’s a cool place, but only for a short while. Stay here too long and you’re lost. Trust me, I know.
So what’s with the name? Can we assume you met doing P.E. at school?
Travis: Whoa! You got it right…
Matt: Yeah, I met Travis in gym class and we sort of clicked. Gym Class Heroes started that very same year.
Travis: But tell him how we got the name!
Matt: The elder gods… Who else? The name just dropped on us from above. These things happen. We basically started playing locally for a few years then all of a sudden we were signed and had a line up change. It came from us self releasing our own album. The new members we got were all from punk bands that we knew and respected
So what brought you together in gym class?
Travis: The elder gods and, err, the elder gods. I think that was it. When you get the calling you get the calling.
Matt: Seriously though, both me and Travis were so heavily into bands and music we couldn’t help but be friends. It was kinda inevitable. You can’t fight that.
Travis: Or the elder gods.
What kind of music were you listening to growing up?
Matt: Well when I first met Travis I was all over Rage Against The Machine and Green Day – that kind of thing. It was Travis who put me onto all the great underground hip-hop; early Black Eyed Peas, The Roots.
I’ve seen you mention Radiohead as big influence. Do you like British music as a rule?
Matt: Of course, especially at the moment. I’m really into Muse.
Travis: Yeah, Muse are the truth. I love them. I hear they’re mind-blowing live. A real lightshow! I watched the DVD and was blown away.
Matt: We got to see Bloc Party play recently and they were awesome.
Travis: I agree; they are off the wall.
So do you rate British hip-hop much?
Travis: A couple of years ago I was put onto Plan B. That’s cool. I like Kano and shit. When I heard my first grime compilation I was like “holy shit!” It’s real dope. I can’t think of anyone else…
How about Dizzee Rascal? He’s on the verge of mega-stardom…
Travis: I think he’s kind of an acquired taste. I can respect what he does and see why people dig it, but I just can’t. Do you know what I mean? I can see he’s a big influence in the UK at the moment.
So do you enjoy playing live?
Travis: Sure – especially when we’ve had a few days off. I get a little itchy… Need. To. Get. On. Stage.
When you play you’re famous for the live band set up. Was this a conscious decision or a product of where you came from?
Travis: It was just what happened – we didn’t set out to become ‘hip-hop with instruments’
Matt: I suppose it was our natural voice. We’d been into punk then this was the next step. For me anyway.
Travis: Yeah, we were all in different bands prior to Gym Class Heroes. Garage bands, you know. So I think the more we were influenced by hip-hop the more we tried to interpret that. We didn’t know any DJ’s so that route wasn’t open to us. We didn’t know anyone that produced beats. That meant we had to come up with the feel and vibe of hip-hop with what we had available to us. The Beastie Boys did it, so why not us?
You sampled Supertramp in ‘Cupid’s Chokehold’. Do you like the band? I imagine you get asked that a lot…
Travis: Ha! I’m just gonna say fuck no man! Fuck that, who are they? I never heard of them… Nah, I’m just kidding. Don’t write that – they’ll pull the record…
Your music is very melodious. Is this something you feel is important to the records you make?
Travis: Sure, probably more so now than it once was. I think melody comes with direction and that’s something we have now. Also, personally, I’m a lot more comfortable with my voice than I was before.
Do you value eclecticism?
The name just dropped on us from above. These things happen.
Travis: Very much so and I think our fan base is testament to that. It’s hard to put a face on a Gym Class fan. We have every type in there. From hipster kids to fucking gangster thugs and house wives. Hot house wives of course. She’s hot, cleans and cooks. You know what I’m saying? In her underwear. Nice.
In your song ‘Taxi Driver’ you mention a load of bands and artists from all different genres. What was the motivation for this? Just plain name checking?
Travis: It was like ‘why the fuck not?’ It actually came about naturally. I was looking at a festival poster with all the people who were playing and it just appeared… I initially just mentioned Death Cab For Cutie then pushed it aside but when I spoke to Matt he was really into it. So I added some more and he yelled ‘keep going!’, so I did – then rang back every five minutes with some more. Bands now all seem to have names that sound like verses of song – I may as well use them. What’s funny is that years after we wrote it we’re playing alongside people. Fuck, that’s scary!
Matt: Yeah, I remember working on that song and thinking ‘I wonder if any of these bands will hear this’. I was so corny!
Is that the way songs always come together? The lyrics first then the music?
Travis: Yes and no. It depends on the song.
Matt: I can think of times where the music has been laid down. Finished. Then Travis puts words to it. But the other way happens a lot too. Sometimes we may have fragments – just a concept and we’ll jam it out from there.
What can people expect who are coming to see you play live?
Travis: Fucking sweat and sex.
Matt: And awkward smells…
Are you looking forward playing Reading and Leeds?
Have you played a UK festival before?
Matt: No. I remember seeing an old Rage Against The Machine live show from Reading years ago and it was fierce. Honestly. The crowds out there look sick.
Make sure you pack your wellies. Just in case.
Travis: Shit. The weather just gets me sad. Whenever we’re in England the weather always seems to be grey. But that gives the shows a different vibe – which is great…
Matt: What is it like when it’s bottling weather? Will that only happen when it’s raining?
No such luck – that’s permanent. Rain or shine.
Travis: Shit man. That guy got knocked out last year. You British sure know how to tell someone you don’t like them. Anyone throws anything at me and I’ll wage war with every single motherfucker in the whole crowd. Rock me like a hurricane son. Rock me like a hurricane!
Matt: At least you can see it coming and move. I’m a sitting target. ‘Here it comes… Oh shit!’
If it’s wet you have the added worry of mud coming in…
Travis: Oh shit. You’re kidding? I’ll be covered. It’ll be cool though. I think we’ll bring our helmets just in case. But if we’re awesome we’ll be ok yeah?
With that to look forward to, what else have you got coming up and what’s floating your boat at the moment?
Travis: Well I’ve been listening to Gym Class Heroes a lot recently.
Any good? I heard they’re shit…
Travis: Ha! Well this is a remix version. Basically we’ve had the album mixed with all Hall and Oates songs – kinda like Dangermouse did with Jay-Z and The Beatles. It’s our Grey Album.
Will it get a released?
Travis: I really hope so. Darryl Hall is a big Gym Class Heroes fan though. We named our last tour after him out of respect. We’re building a cool relationship with him, so hopefully it’ll come good. Yeah it’s so exciting and really well executed.
Were you into Dangermouse’s Grey Album?
Travis: Absolutely. It was so well done. He put his heart into that record and it showed. I feel the same with our record. I hope it works as well. I think it does.
How about the MF Doom / Dangerdoom hook up for Dangerdoom?
Travis: I am such a big MF Doom fan. Always have been.
Are you looking forward to the Ghostface collaboration with MF Doom?
Travis: Fuck yeah! Who isn’t? In fact, I think I’ve been looking forward to that since before I knew it was happening. They are the top of the leftfield. But MF Doom in particular, he is amazing. His flows are so nostalgic and on top of the game. Lines like “What’s that on your shirt? Got you!” They tap into something deep. Only he could get away with that shit and make it good.
If 2007 is the year of the boutique festival then Croatia’s Garden has definitely come up smelling of roses. Sowing the seeds last year with only around 400 attendees, word of mouth and some astute marketing has seen this grown to a perfectly formed 1000 or so.
Set in the pine-clad grounds of Zadar’s Hotel Pinija and surrounded on three sides by the sun-kissed, warm waters of the Adriatic; with its own stage, beach bar, boat parties and retro-themed nightclub, the Garden was like a tiny corner of Glastonbury that had been hosed down, gently towelled off, and given first choice of the sun loungers by the sea.
In the middle of one of the worst British summers on record it made a real change to go to a festival where the only wet weather gear needed was a swimsuit and a beach towel. But without wanting to sound like a travel brochure waxing lyrical about azure seas and sensational sunsets, a little bit about the music.
The emphasis was on house and disco, but with a funked-up, eclectic aesthetic the Garden guys gave us a festival that followed Rainer Truby’s Root Down party rules; “if it’s good, it’s good, it just has to have soul”. A mixture of DJs and live acts, lasting from lunchtime through to breakfast, the music always seemed to match the mood of the moment.
From laid-back beats in the early afternoon, through some live Tru-Thoughts style nu-jazz, on to Ibiza-like beach bar sunset moments, to the headliners and club nights beyond, there may have only been a handful of options, but it never felt like there wasn’t something to do or hear.
Headliners included Friday’s fantastic ‘Crazy P’ whose fusion of house, disco, jazz and incendiary live presence whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Inspiring envy and adoration in equal measure, singer Danielle Moore worked the stage like a woman possessed. Saturday saw a storming set from Gilles Peterson faves ‘Soil and Pimp Sessions’, followed by ‘No Fakin’ DJs’ dropping mashed-up dancefloor bombs aplenty featuring anything from Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ to RATM’s ‘Killing In The Name Of’. And Mr Scruff’s special blend of trouser jazz was the perfect warm-up for Sunday’s climactic club night.
Looking like a refugee from the ‘2001? film set Barbarella’s nightclub hosted representatives from a stellar cast of clubs; including the aforementioned Mr Truby and the Compost Records crew, Faith, Electric Chair and some of the best cult nights from around the country, always giving the teeming dancefloor what it wanted. Though this was less a festival about big names, and all about the music.
And then there were the boat parties. Uber-cool booze cruises, where the Djs played in an even more intimate setting. rocking the boat in more ways than one. A personal favourite was the Sunday sundowner from Bristol’s very own ‘Pirates of the Avon’ the Futureboogie/Seen boys – covering soul, jazz, deep house and broken beats with the odd surprise slipped in, they even managed to make Jamiroquai sound good!
As important as the music were the people. The Garden ethos cultivated a great crowd, who were always up-for-it, but really laid-back and oh-so-friendly. Being a bit slack, your intrepid Clash reporter had left it a bit late to book any accommodation, so there was no room at the inn, hotel, or any of the numerous apartment blocks in town. But on the say so of a top guy I had met only the night before I was offered a place to sleep, a smoke and some cava within minutes of arrival – cheers Aimee! Ultimately though, it was the size, or rather the lack of it, that really made this festival (although the sun, sea, music and cheap booze obviously helped!) such a success.
It was easy to meet people, and almost impossible to lose them, there were no crowds to push through and absolutely no hassle. Even the queue at the bar never got that big!
There must be a massive temptation to for the organizers to make this garden grow, but if it gets a lot bigger it’s in danger of losing the things that make it special. As I keep telling anyone who’ll listen, ’small is beautiful’!
After the wettest July in the history of London, the first weekend of August saw the most welcome heatwave spread across the capital. In its wake came an upsurge in sales of bikinis, lots of red skin, and Turin Brakes performing in a faint-inducing sweatshop in Camden’s best boozer.
The latest in the long and prolific line of Clash Magazine’s Sunday Sessions at the Lock Tavern in Camden continued yesterday with another stunning line-up amidst stunning weather. Those sun-worshippers who arrived early were treated to a unique performance from the quite brilliant Stateless – a mostly instrumental performance due to lead singer Chris’ worsening laryngitis. Fortunately, bassist Justin stepped in to supply some smooth vocals to a number of tracks, expertly starting proceedings of the day with their signature tight funk and soulful sounds.
After the first live set, it was the DJ’s turn to shine, and spinning the wheels of steel in this slot was Kill City’s Lisa Moorish – adeptly careering from electro soul to disco in one fell swoop with one or two anthems thrown in for good measure.
Next on the upstairs stage, Clash favourite and all round nice guy, the wonderful Bobby Cook…
London’s lovelorn troubadour led his band through a 25-minute set, each song stripped to bare essentials – the drummer cross-legged on stage pounding on a single tom. His intimacy shone through, and while every others outside melted in the heat, those inside found their hearts melted by Bobby’s endearing voice. Latest single ‘Deja Vu’ and fan favourite ‘Gone So Far’ – with its lilting xylophone hooks – made sure to garner Cook and his men a few more friends and soulmates.
Taking over on decks duties next was Lisa Milberg, drummer with the Swedish supergroup The Concretes. After lazing in the bar’s cosy back garden for most of the day, indulging in a bit of BBQ action, she treated the punters to a glowing mix of obscure electro, indie gems, lo-fi faves and cool dance cuts.
Soon it was time for the action to move downstairs, for Turin Brakes were ready to play…
The five-piece crammed into the front corner of the downstairs bar, while all around the amassed crowd squeezed into every vantage point for a decent view of the Brakes in these exclusively small and intimate surroundings. “It’s bloody hot, isn’t it?” singer Olly Knights asked the crowd, stating the bleeding obvious!
Ahead of their forthcoming two-month Autumn tour, the band took the opportunity to run through tracks from their fourth album, ‘Dark On Fire’ (to be released September 17th on Virgin Records), much to the delight of their gathered fans who, incredibly, knew most of the words already and were singing along to every song – putting a smile on the faces of the band.
The new album’s title track sparked a charming singalong, while the crowd hushed when instructed to do so by Olly when introducing their “quiet song”, the delightful ‘Other Side’, and then picked things up a gear with the upbeat ‘Ghosts’, which Olly tells us is the song that made them want to make a new album. Saving their best known hits for later in the set, ‘Pain Killer’ was of course the pinnacle that dropped gleefully into the pool of beer and sweat and made sure that their hour long set was nothing less than a resounding success and a welcome return to a perennial favourite.
If you missed out on this once-in-a-lifetime gig, Clash will soon be posting videos and more pix to give you further glimpses into the day’s goings-on. Stay tuned…