Tuesday, September 09, 2014

End Of The Road 2014 - something old, something new

One thing that I have left unmentioned thus far is the 'limited programme' provided on Thursday evening. It was instituted a few years ago for the then small proportion of festival attendees that arrived on Thursday afternoon. All indications suggest that this fraction is rising year by year, probably exponentially.
This all took place on the Tipi stage and comprised four acts from 6:15pm. The last, and easily the pick of them, was Ezra Furman. He also played the Garden Stage Friday evening (which I did not see, but apparently excellent too.)
Here he is on the smaller stage on Thursday evening. The easiest way to categorize him is to say that I can't. I think that this might be key to his seemingly burgeoning appeal. He would have it that he has made greater inroads in the UK than in his native USA (originally from Illinois). It's rock albeit of a more-or-less pop persuasion, it is certainly camp (his band is The Boyfriends), it is clever and knowingly so, but surely we have seen all those things combined before?

That is probably true but if we took that approach more widely then we would have nothing left to listen to. NOTHING. AT. ALL. The majority of the tracks came from his 2013 LP 'Year Of No Returning'. The point is that it was everything it should be; unpredictable (not least the self-deprecating asides), sometimes challenging but above all it was hugely enjoyable. What's not to like?

In some ways the next artist tells, through his songs and his career, an equally unlikely story. From an icon of the UK folk-rock boom in the late 1960s to, more than four decades later, being held in the highest regard in the US as one of the totems of the Americana/roots explosion. Richard Thompson made his recording d├ębut as a founder member of Fairport Convention in 1967.
His latest LP 'Acoustic Classics' (2014) is less a greatest hits, though of course they are, but more an attempt to regain his own songs that in many cases are now better known by many people via the cover versions of others. He played this set on the Garden stage, Sunday evening solo and acoustic except for the finale for which he was joined by his daughter and son in law.

The next is an example of how live music plays out in other ways to that which is recorded. The LP 'Rain Plans', by Israel Nash, has been recommended to me more times than I am inclined to count yet still languished in the "saved for later" section of my on-line cart and I never committed to purchasing it. That situation was very conveniently resolved. Without any on-line dealings!
Israel Nash, Tipi stage, Friday evening, End Of The Road 2014.

When Futur Primitif appeared on the Garden stage on Sunday morning there were plenty of comments concerning his new, jacketed visage and that was quite understandable. 
I'm happy to say that he retains his maverick streak but only the early birds amongst us, and we were quite numerous, really got to see it (during the sound check). Any which way the songs are so good.

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