Monday, September 10, 2012

Bella Union is 15 (Part 2) - EOTR 2012

It has certainly taken me a little longer than I intended to put this, the second half of my account of Friday at End Of The Road Festival (EOTR), together but my ambition increased as I was writing the first part and I decided to include some stuff about bands that were performing but that for reasons of clashes I was unable to catch on August 31 but have had the good fortune to see live at other recent festivals.
I am indeed going to start with one of them, London four-piece 'Veronica Falls', fronted by Roxanne Clifford that appeared on the Big Top Stage at 20:30 on Friday (whilst I was watching 'The Low Anthem' on The Garden Stage).
Here they are performing at the first No Direction Home Festival at Welbeck Abbey back in June this year - a festival that has the same team as EOTR behind it.

They were excellent then, notably including several new songs not on the album, and I heard similarly good reports about their more recent performance at End Of The Road.
The act that had preceded them on this stage at EOTR was the Swedish electro-gaze duo of Fredrik Balck and Maria Lindén, with bass and drums for the live gig, otherwise known as 'I Break Horses' and touring their 2011 début album 'Hearts'. It proved to be a quite fascinating dichotomy. Whilst on the recorded version, to which I am listening as I write this, the music is really rather soothing and fittingly autumnal - evoking mists and mellow fruitfulness - the same proposition live is by turns squally and unpredictable; decidedly that of the darker side of autumn, of gales and lashing rain but also sudden, striking glimpses of the sun. Given the recent renewed interest in releasing live albums, which really ought to be the basis of a future post, this would certainly be an interesting prospect.
'I Break Horses', The Big Top Stage, EOTR 2012 performing Winter Beats.
The first Bella Union act to grace a stage on Friday was a four piece from Oklahoma that, in terms of live music certainly, was quite new to me. I was impressed...

'Horse Thief' live on the Big Top Stage at about 11:55 on Friday morning.
So good in fact that one way and another I saw them play two complete sets within the same calendar day - and there aren't very many acts or artists about which I can say that.
As for the next band what can I say? It is the third time I have seen them live at EOTR in four years... It is of course 'The Low Anthem'...

On the Garden Stage, where else, at 20:20 on Friday.
Then came the really big decision. 'Midlake ' headlining The Garden Stage at 21:45 or 'Beach House' doing that duty on the Woods Stage from 21:30. This was for me one of the easier decisions of the day and there was no chance that it would be anything other than watching all of one or all of the other. I have seen 'Midlake' twice live but never Baltimore's 'Beach House'...
'Beach House', The Woods Stage at EOTR 2012 at 22:03 Friday evening.
This was one set, of only a few, where I had no particular interest in being right at the front --- for me it was almost entirely about the music performed live and it certainly did not disappoint.
When they came off stage, at about 11pm, there came the realization that it was now 11 hours of live music today and with four hours more still to go - and then to do it all over again for the next two days.

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