Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Saloon stage - Truck Festival 2016

I've been here before. You might already know about my liking for the Saloon Bar stage at Truck Festival...
Yet again I failed to see every act on that stage over (this year for the first time in the stage's existence) three days. On the other hand I came far closer than I have ever done before over just two days. Here is some of what I saw, heard and pointed my camera at.  It is not in chronological order, because over three days that makes no real sense anyway. There are also a few things that belong in that world which, at festivals in particular, is largely forgotten or used for trips to the facilities or for food: the hiatus between acts can also be an interesting time for people-watching and photography.

Multi-cultural Oxfordshire, complete with cider-drinking rancheros. What was that stuff about Brexit all about?

This was his first ever UK performance and the start of his tour to promote recently released LP 'Silver Line'.
All the way from Austin, Texas came Chuck Hawthorne. A man, his guitar and some very fine songs.

Headlining on Friday was a trio that I have mentioned before - Applewood Road. It is trio formed of UK-based Australian Emily Barker and US artists Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace. (R - L, below).


Three-part close harmony acapella in a corrugated metal agricultural shed.
I have no doubt whatsoever that the self-titled album 'Applewood Road' will appear in a number of year-end best-of lists. The Telegraph, which has recently been one of the most reliable reviewers in this regard, gave it the accolade of a full five stars. I'm not minded to argue with that.

Another coup for the organisers of this small stage was someone who is better known as the front man of American Aquarium. This was Saturday evening.
BJ Barham was however sans band and over in the UK (also for the first time) a week before the release of his début LP 'Rockingham'.


On Saturday the stage was opened at 12:15 by Hannah Rose Platt, whom I posted about last year and who is the creator of 'Portraits', one of the best début albums of 2015, and already a brilliant storytelling songwriter.

Another artist, whose début LP 'Cracked Picture Frames' I reviewed here last year but had previously failed to see live, played early Friday evening. More storytelling... welcome to the often rather dark world of Robert Chaney.


Because of the prevalence of children in the audience he refrained from playing 'The Ballad of Edward and Lisa' and it was as well; it makes most murder ballads sound reasonably humane. Astonishing though it is I was fairly pleased not to hear it again myself, if I'm quite honest.


Returning after a very solid set on the same stage last year, shortly before the release of début LP 'Bow out of the Fading Light', this is Brighton-based The Delta Bell.
The second full-length comes soon and we got to hear a couple of tracks that might be on that. Suffice to say it's sounding rather good. It's not possible to cover everything I saw on this one stage in a single post. I have already written Rachel Laven here.

This however cannot go without a further mention. I was looking forward to seeing Speedbuggy USA live from the moment I discovered the band was playing. To say that I was not disappointed would be misdemeanour by litotes.
Never mind the fact that this is an original 1930s 'National Resophonic' resonator mandolin.

To finish here are two more photos that don't directly involve the music. The first is that it is wonderful to see so many kids getting involved. Even if they fall asleep...

... and when the adult audience doesn't even notice that the camera is pointed towards them.

Now we are back to that hiatus-between-acts thing; when the all cowboys have left the saloon...

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