Goose Island Beer Co. know how to throw a birthday party in style. Established in 1988, this year marked the 30th anniversary of Chicago's original craft beer company – the pioneers of barrel aged beer.
Stepping up their annual London block party the team effected the first ever total road closure around one of Clash favourite venues The Oval, in Bethnal Green – for a day and night of music, food and of course copious amounts of great beer for die-hard fans on tap. Even with the sky a little grey having beer on tap this good quickly rouses spirits and Goose Island have thought of everythng.
Attendees could screen print their own t-shirts, try their hand at live interactive spray painting adding to the mural Art Attack style. We contributed our share of paint and then got stuck into the assortment of catering; hotdogs, wood oven pizzas, burritos and CrossTown Donuts aplenty were washed down with a Goose Island cocktail list. Shuffle board, beer and donuts – a winning combo.
Outdoors, audiences gathered to catch a host of acts with the day headed up by jazz saxophonist Laura Misch. Having now mastered larger stages supporting her big bro, Laura is now fully in her stride wowing crowds with her own take on jazz fusion. Joined by DJ sets from Four Tit who throughout the day kept energy levels exactly where they needed to be. Ghostpoet closed out the courtyard with a heady DJ set blending old into new.
With the main room filling up, we were treated to a set by Dream Wife, who for us almost stole the show. One of the tightest performances of late, sticky lo-fi fuzzy guitar, punchy drums and the most ridiculously groovy basslines. Their live set is like a Jägerbomb challenge on your back on the dancefloor of an indie disco to a soundtrack of Protomartyr and Sonic Youth, whilst lead singer Rakel whips you with her aux cable. "I'm gonna fuck you up / Gonna cut you up / Gonna fuck you up" – quite so. We are hungry to book the girls in at earliest opportunity for a Clash Live set. Check out their album here.
Willie J Healey makes perfect sense. A prolific and intelligent songwriter who has honed his studio and stage craft. Quickly becoming a master of contrast across releases to date. With equal measures of light and darkness present across his fast growing body of work. Intriguing lyrics that on closer review outside of auditoriums are at work on many levels.
A self-confessed happy man who in person and interview effervesces life, on-stage that balance all really comes together and it feels oh so natural it's like Willie belongs on a stage in London. His live set tonight is a great tee up for The Vaccines, in running order they make for an ideal pairing and Oval Space is now packed out.
Landing The Vaccines homecoming show with the boys having ridden the wave of new album 'Combat Sports' right across the summer is no mean feat. Hats off to Goose Island Beer Co.
In the world of The Vaccines, a song is a memory, a memory is an emotion, and an emotion is worth writing a song about. Combat Sports landed as a terrific, visceral, adrenalin-fuelled return that found the band entrenched in common ground: big, huge riffs, soaring choruses, and lyrics that punch hard and never look back. You can dig deeper on the new album and read our recent interview here.
The perfect counterpart to previous records, new songs 'Young American', 'Rolling Stone' and 'Raw Power' sit like best drinking buddies in the live set alongside what we can now safely refer to as our old favourites. Everybody is here for The Vaccines, fans, friendly and family alike all singing back every word from new and old songs and the show for us goes down in the annals. Hometown glory – the boys well deserving of multiple encores.
Without further ado, check out some of the footage we captured below…
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