September 13, 2010
Beyond the End of the Road…
Fresh from a weekend at Dorset’s End of the Road (so named due to its position as one of the last music festivals of the summer), thought I’d share some of the highlights of one of the more civilised festival experiences I’ve had. There were many, but also at times the music on offer descended in to a dull clanging of ‘acoustic singer-songwriters’, a phrase that sends shudders down my spine at the best of times, and the whole thing became more middle of the road than the end of it. (Phillip Selway – I’m looking at you here. How can you be in one of the most progressive, innovative and inspirational bands in this country for almost two decades, and then go solo and churn out such dreary, cliche-ridden musical wallpaper? Answers in the comments section please.)
Please excuse the bad photographs…
Some of the lesser known performers that impressed are not represented by mp3 here, as I don’t own any of their music, but please check out new stuff from Gomez’s Ben Ottewell, as well as Edinburgh’s Meursault (http://www.myspace.com/meursaulta701), who played a very intimate, unplugged and probably impromptu set on a small stage in the gardens.
End of the Road regular Charlie Parr played a lunch time slot on the Friday. This track was a particular highlight of his set, and is from the 2009 album Too Much Liquor and Not Enough Gasoline.
The former Orange Juice man’s recovery from a cerebral hemorrhage continued with a heartening, if somewhat inoffensive, set at EOTR. Home Again was one of the highlights of both this and his latest album of the same name.
New Zealand’s The Ruby Suns brought a little bit of electro-infused down under sunshine to the Big Top stage on Friday afternoon. This track is from 2007’s Sea Lion album.
The much-anticipated (by me) Daniel Snaith, AKA Caribou, didn’t disappoint with his high energy set to close out Saturday night. With a minimal band setup, the former Manitoba man pounded his sampler and guitar in to submission throughout selections from latest album Swim, a personal album-of-the-year-so-far, as well as older tracks.
Cult veterans Yo La Tengo closed the Garden Stage on saturday night with an impressive and faultless 90 minute set, opening with an extended version of their cover of Sun Ra’s classic Nuclear War.
A magical moment was provided by Samuel Beam, AKA Iron & Wine, on the Garden Stage as the sun went down on saturday. Opening with an acapella version of Flightless Bird, American Mouth, Beam went on to engross the crowd with velvet-covered performances from his back catalogue, even managing to stop the few spots of rain that were trying to fall. The set was also notable for the comfortable dry wit Beam employed whilst bantering with the crowd. One request for Freebird got rewarded with a few lines before the audience was informed to “be careful what they wished for.”