Monday, September 12, 2016

End Of The Road Festival - Part 2 - The Woods Stage

Two three-day music festivals in quick succession, as I recently attended, do two things. The minor one concerns sleep patterns. That is no revelation, it lasts just a few days and is basically tiredness compounded by a lack of routine.  The less obviously explicable one, and it doesn't kick in for about a week, is that it totally messes with all idea of what recorded music I wish to listen to.

This doesn't particularly predispose it towards or away from artists that I heard live; rather it induces some kind of restive state that requires me to jump from one artist or genre to another. This is handy in some ways as it helps with listening to new releases as well as old things. Streaming services are a boon here with almost limitless instant access to all kinds of music at the standard monthly charge. Equally likely however is that I will dive into my collection of vinyl and CDs for something that I had long forgotten (but was reminded about by hook or by crook) or something by an artist that I have just heard.
In some cases it is actually that I want to play it for real - from a physical thing - simply because I can and that is illustrated perfectly by this, an artist who certainly wasn't one of the stand-out acts when originally announced, unless one happened to know otherwise for she was then only about to release her d├ębut album. All credit to the EOTR team for this.

Margo Price, Woods stage, Friday afternoon.

That LP is Midwest Farmer's Daughter (Third Man Records, 2016). I'm making no secret that it will be up there amongst my albums of 2016. Now it is mid-September it is time to start thinking about such things and not least because there are so many to consider (some of which may not yet have even been released)!

One thing that I certainly have is a very poor record of watching main-stage headline acts at festivals. In that regard I was really rather diligent at EOTR 2016. There is a specific reason for that, at least in part. The genesis of this blog is inextricably linked with the Saturday headline act at End Of The Road and that is Bat For Lashes. To find that, ten years later, I am writing this today... well what happened there?
Before Saturday evening came around several people whose thoughts and integrity I very much respect had said that they were surprised that Bat For Lashes had been chosen to headline the main Woods stage when Ezra Furman was playing the Garden stage. Luckily I had at least seen that potential clash coming and headed it off at the pass by catching Ezra Furman play at Green Man a fortnight earlier. One thing I could reliably inform them that he was absolutely on-fire then. I was told a couple of hours later, when we reconvened in the Tipi tent, that he still was.
So was Natasha Khan.
Bat For Lashes, Woods stage, Saturday evening, End Of The Road Festival 2016.
There is another thing about all of this. It is not at all uncommon to that I come across an act that quite unknown or not blows me away playing live. I'm pleased to report that it has happened a number of times this summer. What is truly rare is an artist and song (both absolutely new to me) that do that simultaneously. It happened at Green Man 2016.

A topic of discussion in recent times is that, taken together, festivals apparently favour male artists over female ones and especially near the top of the bill, on any given stage. End Of The Road has certainly never been this way and this year only served to underline that.  I just mention this because having written and included pictures of seven EOTR 2016 acts, so far, all of them female fronted. Is that therefore an indication that I am guilty of sexism in my photography?

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