Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What the Truck? In search of music as fun...

Never before have I attempted two 3-day festivals on successive weekends: Latitude followed by Truck Festival this weekend just gone.  When I added the latter in April it was because it just seemed an interesting thing to do and a way of seeing a wider range of live music. It did occur to me that, whilst almost certainly interesting, that might not be wholly in a positive way.
After two wet days at Latitude I was still wondering about the wisdom of it all. The contrast, not just in the weather, was such that once I had arrived on site in Oxfordshire I forgot clean about it because they were so different and that is the starting point here.
The following comments are not intended as a criticism of either event: Gone was the throng and corporate sponsorship gloss of Latitude and in came the homespun, almost folksy, intimacy of Truck Festival. It was very much a place to go to see and listen to music rather than a place to go to be seen to be listening to music.  It was certainly a whole lot of fun and one very much got the impression that the artists were enjoying themselves too. All kinds of music were on offer, from acoustic folk on the Wood Stage (and elsewhere) to technicolour noiseniks on the Last FM Stage and most things in between including more than a few lesser-known acts from middle England. As usual the problem is where to start.

Let's start with two bands that admitted that they had been burning the candle at both ends before appearing!

London based Tribes on the Last FM Stage on Sunday afternoon. They had been performing, and partying, at 'Secret Garden Party' the night before and apologized for being jaded. If this is what they can do in that state then the mind boggles. Despite the guitars and drums set-up and the powerful sound their songs are hook-laden.  Should you want to know how I think guitar-led pop should sound then it is pretty much like this.

Cashier No. 9 hails from Belfast. Here it is on the Clash Stage on Sunday lunch time.
Another good effort because this set was faultless despite the fact that they came on stage just twelve hours after they had come off the one at their previous gig in Londonderry.  It was summer music played out live on a perfect summer's day and the band has recently released its first album, the aptly titled 'To The Death Of Fun', on Bella Union Recordings.
This last comment leads me to another thought from the weekend - the resurgence of the record releasing 'label' as a guide to style and content. It was also a weekend that involved much discussing music and, in that sense, was much more reminiscent of End Of The Road than of Latitude.

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