Not some dire news, but a long-delayed write-up of the festival I went to on the 12th-14th September. Well, the long and short is that it was fantastic, the perfect reintroduction to (multi-day) festivals since it's been, um, a long time. I went with friend/brother-in-law John, who I went to Glasters with a few times (2-4, we can't really recall) in the '90s and we both felt it was pretty much the perfect festival and the perfect line-up. OK, if it was my actual fantasy line-up there would have been Micah Blue Smaldone and Kaki King, too, and one or two others, but quibbles aside there were so many acts there I'd been longing to see, and a number of wonderful surprises too.
Amongst the acts I was eagerly anticipating were the beautiful Shearwater. They struggled a bit with the sound and we didn't see the set through, mainly due to exhaustion. Micah P Hinson was super intense, looking like Woody Allen in wellies but blasting away any ambivalence I might have harboured about the album I have. Dirty Three! I cannot say enough about how exhilarating they were, another trio with an unfeasible amount of emotional energy in a small package. We were struck by the intimate dynamic you could see in quite a few trios, and the power it could generate, and none more so than D3. Kurt Wagner of Lambchop was an amazing one man show, entertaining and engaging but intense, and raw like a refracted version of the ancient country blues guys I'm listening to so much right now. Mercury Rev were deliriously cosmic. Calexico wrapped up the main stage joyously and mixed new material I'd never heard with favourites I'd yearned to see them do. We caught some of Bon Iver which was lovely. And the surprises? Bowerbirds (who also chimed in with Bon Iver for a couple of tunes), Liz Green, Devon Sproule, Sun Kil Moon (ex-Red House Painter Marc Kozalek), A Hawk and a Hacksaw (I knew them a little before, but they knocked me out). Any disappointments? Well, perhaps Conor Oberst was a little less enrapturing than I hoped, but then I had very high expectations and he gave it a lot. The band sometimes had a bit too much inclination to, um, please themselves, though. And Tindersticks were Tindersticks, but I preferred them in more intimate venues (Moles in Bath, I recall, was great. Way back when.) I had no great expectations of British Sea Power or Richard Hawley, which were borne out. There was a schedule clash which American Music Club lost, so I don't know how they were - I've loved that band so long it seems wrong to have missed them, but there was an embarassment of riches there and I've seen them several times (again, way back when...)
I'd love to write this up properly but perhaps instead I'll put in a Flickr slideshow and if I get around to annotating those photos that'll do for reviews. Oh, there are a couple of videos of Mercury Rev and Calexico too.
All I'd say to end is, lovely festival, great atmosphere and the right size (5,000 people, don't know how they afford to put it on but it works beautifully). Thanks Sofia and Simon!
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.