Wednesday, 30 September 2009

End of the Road Festival 2009 - Sunday


Trips to the nettles and the CD shop successfully negotiated, it was time for more fun in the sun. We woke up to find that Craig had packed and left. I don’t think we had upset or insulted him; it was more that he had to go to work (though I did tell the couple camped next to us that we had sent him away because they had complained about his snoring).

A lazy morning spent reading the Sunday papers and then kicked up a gear when Judith decided to set the pace by being first to start drinking (the rest of us had decided that we would have a quieter day). Craig wanted to know about Whispertown 2000, so Judith and I went to check them out. Bit shouty with a girl singer/guitarist and girl bassist who were doing their best, bless them, was my verdict. Next up in the Big Top was Joe Gideon & The Shark (think: Johnny Cash meets The White Stripes, with the girl from Bat For Lashes on drums – she looked a bit mad to me). This lot were a big surprise, making a fearsome Old Testament-y racket. Though I must say that they did polarise opinion: Me and Chris thinking it to be one of the highlights of the festival, but the girls thinking it interesting, but no more.

So, via the CD shop we went to see another band marked on my card, Magnolia Electric Co. (think: Neil Young meets Fleetwood Mac…but, as I was to find out, without the tunes of either). As somebody (Rosie?) put it so eloquently in a comment to Paul’s Arctic Monkey’s review: Dull, dull, dull.

Having sat down and started to fall asleep, it was necessary to avert potential disaster and up the drinking pace. Once back at a safe altitude, it was time to check out a bit of Steve Earle (the man is a legend)

Unfortunately, Steve had also embraced the idea that he could just wing it with an acoustic guitar, and was making the girls restless. I had also mentioned that in his early days, he was considered something of a looker. The girls weren’t buying this, so it was off to the CD shop to look at the back of CD covers.

Having failed to convince the girls, it was off to The Local to see Dan Michaelson & The Coastguards (think: the deepest voice you have ever heard, go two octaves lower, and then imagine it has just got out of bed and needs the first of the days cigarettes. And a band that is a bit Nick Cave, and a bit Tom Waits). I had not originally been too impressed with the album, but it proved to be a grower. Live, I had been expecting some old bloke, but Dan Michaelson turned out to be some young surf-type dude. They were good.

Time for tea; a quick visit to the CD shop (and a meeting with The Hold Steady, who were doing a meet and greet there – so an opportunity to request songs…which were immediately dismissed), more beer, and then back to the main stage for the rest of the night. We arrived mid-way through Neko Case’s set (think: Stevie Nicks meets Fleetwood Mac…or at least the songs that Stevie Nicks sings in Fleetwood Mac) to find her in fine hollering form. Also a good line in stage banter between her and the Susan Boyle-type backing singer. We enjoyed them.

One final beer and it was time to set up stall for The Hold Steady (think: Springsteen’s E-Street Band meets The Replacements). Having sensibly ignored my requests (though they would have had to pay attention to me if they had been playing musical statues!), the band tore through 100 minutes of all their fastest, jumpiest, singalongiest songs. No let up for slow songs, they stuck in 3 or 4 uptempo newies, didn’t bother pausing for an encore and wrapped up the festival in grand style.

The girls were off to bed at this point, but something about The Hold Steady encourages the drinking of large amounts of alcohol. So, for me and Chris, the night was still young. Archie Bronson Outfit (think: Kings of Leon meets Metallica) were laying waste to the Big Top and making a fine racket. A nice change after all of the weekends pedal steel guitars. We watched half the set and then it was off to the Tipi to watch a “surprise” set by The Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay (think: Super Mario meets the keyboardist in the E-Street band meets Groucho Marx). We’d learnt our lesson with the Tipi the previous day so, armed with more beer, it’s straight down the front and into the Northern Soul melee to strut our stuff. Franz turns up presently and entertains us with songs from his new solo album, plus tales of his days in the Circus. He makes us laugh and he has a fair bit of banter with the crowd. In contrast to a discussion we had recently on these very pages, he thinks bands reforming is generally a good idea…though he agrees that maybe not in the case of Van Halen.

So, one last trip to the CD shop completed. We realise that ten pints have again somehow slipped themselves down are necks and we bid the festival goodnight.

Top weekend 10/11

And here’s a short film that somebody has put together of the weekend. It gives you a good flavour of the festival and has some nice music.

Short film about EOTR


  1. That was a really good review of the festival. Well done mate.

    I went to see Whispertown 2000 the following Friday and thought they put on quite a good show, although I was quite pissed by the time they came on. They were supported by Grandma's House who I cant comment on as I was talking to someone at the back all the way through their set. Idiot Savant were on next and they were worth a listen, particularly their last song which was quite feedbacky. I've no idea what it was called though. Final support act was some scotch bloke who was ok. I think he is normally part of a band but I wasnt paying attention. All in all a good night though.

  2. It's a wonder you and Andy can ever have a conversation. The vastness of the void between your lack of detail and his absolute detail is incredible.

    There must be a very short time meeting point when you arrive late and then catch up on the drinking. Before dashing headlong towards 'it's a bit feedbacky'.

  3. It's a struggle, but we get by.