From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

Don’t Stand Your Ground

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Over the past couple of years I’ve experienced, and been told many stories, of what I can best describe as bullying at gigs. Without exception it always involves people who are my age (thirty-five) and older, and a majority of the time it is men that behave this way. It’s also worth noting that I only ever see and hear about women being on the receiving end of this. During the day I am sure they are all utterly polite and hold a door open for a colleague, step aside when someone says excuse me. At gigs this all goes out the window.  Let me give you a few examples.

Recently at a Matt Berry gig a woman who I’d guess is in her late thirties was so incensed at a girl of about seventeen wanting to squeeze past just to take one photo that she screamed “obese bitch” at her and refused to move. At a polite girl young enough to be her daughter who made it clear it was just to take one photo and she’d be gone. Friends suffered men constantly, and on purpose, crushing into them at an Arcade Fire gig whilst being told to stop pushing them.

At Glastonbury I was told I wasn’t allowed to stand here by a man who was actually in front of me which I am still puzzling over. I had an experience so awful at a Battles gig with my friend Priyam that I still frown about it two years on. Men in their forties were stood behind us on the balcony. When I went to the bar they barely let me past, when I returned they formed a solid wall and refused to let me through despite the fact that I asked politely to get back to my friend, even strangers asked them to let me past and they refused. At the end of the night one of them pushed me in the back of the head with force. For no reason.

Last night at Public Service Broadcasting my bladder gave out after too many pints so I decided to run to the toilet. A relatively short dash in the intimate upstairs of the Lexington. Grown men crossed their arms and adopted a military stance. I had to squeeze through gaps a mouse would have problems getting through.

Let’s be clear. When you buy a gig ticket you are not paying to rent an exclusive square metre. I understand that views can be frustrating but I’m talking about scenario’s when someone is trying to dash to the bar quickly, not suddenly arriving on stilts in front of you.

Music is actually like a religion to me (without the wars). Going to see a band should be a shared experience, one of those oh so rare moments that you can look around at everyone and think “we’re all here for the same reason”. When the entire crowd sank to their knees during Foals singing Spanish Sahara at Glastonbury in anticipation of the song building up I felt like I utterly belonged. These were my people. Sadly there seems to be a growing minority of adults who seem to think they’ve paid for a private experience and are disgusted other humans are in the same room/under the same sky wanting to have fun. The only person’s night that’s being ruined is those guilty of behaving this way. They always look so miserable.

When an unstoppable force (my need for a pint or a wee) meets an immovable object (an adult refusing to budge even an inch to let me pass) chances are I will be tempted to lightly touch your back on my way back through to wipe a boogie on you. Karma is unkind. What can I say.

Written by Anon PA

July 18, 2013 at 10:57 am

Sunday Swoon. 26th May 2013.

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1. So I have a huge soft spot for Baz Luhrmann films. I’ve heard people niggling at his adaptation of The Great Gatsby, someone saying they walked out after ten minutes, but I loved it. The party scenes were visually breathtaking, made me feel like I am missing glittery ticker tape in life. The casting was perfect for the characters, Mulligan and DiCaprio as Daisy and Gatsby especially. It stuck close to the original book by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The soundtrack was perhaps a little too much vanity from Jay-Z.

2. The much talked about Parquet Courts played London’s historic The 100 Club last Sunday. Without getting drawn into the whole “is guitar music dead?” question what I will say is it was great to see a band who didn’t look like a Top Man advert, over groomed and too stiff for movement. There was a kid alone (he really was a kid, around 16) right at the front looking like he’d just discovered the greatest band of all time. Eyes unblinking, mouthing every word, rapt with attention. I love seeing that look on people.

3. I always get sucked into these “great summer read” books (I admit it, I even read Dan Brown). I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn in about two days, staying up until the early hours to get to the end. It’s surprising and full of twists without over complicating the plot. I predict a film adaption will follow by the end of the year.

4. Field Day was utter brilliance on Saturday. Perfect weather, great company for the day and some real standout performances from the likes of How To Dress Well, Kurt Vile, Animal Collective and Bat for Lashes. I’ll opt to put a track of hers on here because it was the last crystal clear memory I have. Things after that got a bit gin hazy. The best day of 2013 so far, by far.

5. Lastly a new track this week from bare-footed, natty haired Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Better Days.

Field Day Mixtape 2013

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The bands I’ll be aiming to see at Field Day this Saturday in a mixtape (I distinctly remember writing last years sitting in a park in the sunshine). Although, from my present mood I am considering rounding off the day watching John Cooper Clarke so I should have added poetry and spoken word into my list. With a cider in my hand, the smell of petrichor in the air and dirt on my knees. I do get goosebumps over that first festival of the year feeling.

You can play my mixtape on YouTube.

Field Day

Buff Springsteen at Hyde Park

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“If he plays Thunder Road I’ll go home happy” was my first sentence about the anticipated set list. The fact that he opened with a stripped down, bare and fragile version of this track stopped me in my Wellington boots and kept my feet planted still on the soggy wood chips, holding my breath. Springsteen had already joined John Fogerty (“he uses Just for Men”, my mums opinion of the Creedence Clearwater Revival star) on stage for Rockin’ All Over The World. The set list continued to run like a dream and there were so many highlights. The River, Glory Days, Badlands, Dancing In The Dark. Impossible to pick out one particular moment.

It will go down as one of the best gigs I have ever been to. Springsteen creates something like a call to arms for all the downtrodden, the working classes, the people put upon that need raising up. He is also surrounded by the very best, musicians that have the same natural ability as he does for drama, theatre and occasion. Moments of hushed heartfelt emotion to rallying cries to stand up and be counted. Sounds over the top? No, not if you’ve seen him perform at the level he did on Saturday. Bruce (or Buff as I like to call him, as he still is) Springsteen is 63 and plays with more passion and energy than bands hungry for success. As my Dad said “In my lifetime and yours, you won’t see many Bruce Springsteen’s”.

In the past two years my brave and brilliant closest friend has lost both her parents, she said to me the night before that sharing something like this concert with mine would be something to truly cherish. It goes without saying she is utterly right, and whatever your shared connection with your family is (reading, music, theatre) create those amazing memories with them. Both in their sixties they sang, dance and drank with me. My mum in particular being very quick at her bar duties, she said “I don’t know what it is, I’ve just always been fast at getting served”. To which my Dad rolled his eyes and replied “Nothing to do with the fact she likes a drink”. For me, standing there with them screaming “I’m just tired and bored with myself”, laughing, smiling, toasting our warm wines. It was much about being side by side with them as it was about the man on the stage.

Like Father, Like Daughter

Of course much can be said about the council pulling the plug, there’s been a whole heap of people popping up on Twitter who believe the right decision was made and Springsteen should have stuck to his allocated time. Of course, they have a point, he had been playing for three and a half hours already. But, I doubt one of those people were one of the 80,000 people in Hyde Park and you have to be a pretty damned Scrooge to not feel swept up in the sense of community and occasion Springsteen had created Saturday evening, not to mention that Paul McCartney was playing at his side. Dave Rowlinson did make the very valid point that at least it stopped before we were subject to Hey Jude. Still, Bruce and The E Street Band left smiling as did every person penned into Hyde Park. A fitting reaction to the fun ruiners, they didn’t and could never of soured our night.

Bruce Springsteen played Thunder Road ▪ Badlands ▪ We Take Care Of Our Own ▪ Wrecking Ball ▪ Death To My Hometown ▪ My City Of Ruins ▪ Spirit In The Night ▪ The Promised Land ▪ Take ‘Em As They Come ▪ Jack Of All Trades ▪ Empty Sky ▪ Because The Night ▪ Johnny 99 ▪ Darlington County ▪ Working On The Highway ▪ Shackled And Drawn ▪ Waitin’ On A Sunny Day ▪ Raise Your Hand ▪ The River ▪ The Ghost Of Tom Joad ▪ The Rising ▪ Land Of Hope And Dreams ▪ We Are Alive ▪ Born In The U.S.A ▪ Born To Run ▪ Glory Days ▪ Dancing In The Dark ▪ I Saw Her Standing There ▪ Twist And Shout

Written by Anon PA

July 16, 2012 at 11:36 am

Sunday Swoon. July 15th

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Feels like it’s been a massively busy week in terms of the very favourite thing I like to submerge myself in, the thing that helps me completely ignore all those nagging questions I like to put off. Questions like why haven’t I wrote a book yet, whats the meaning of life, could I ever become a proper vegetarian, should I risk the handwash cycle on the washing machine? Music, wonderful music. My excuse to ever procrastinate and drown out the nagging voices in my head.

1. Full post of Bruce Springsteen to follow, for now I am still in that lovely haze of a gig high so will save my words for another day. For now listen to this lovely stripped down version of Thunder Road that he opened with. Perfection.

2. Lianne La Havas released Is Your Love Big Enough this week and it’s instantly become the soundtrack to a new chapter in my life. To hear the storytelling of her loves and loses at the tender age of 22 shows a true life wisdom. Feels like it’s a womans world in the music industry this year, makes me immensely proud. I believe we’ll be talking about this lady in the same breath as Joni Mitchell, Lauryn Hill and Marianne Faithful as the years roll by.

3. I imagine I’m not alone in being batshit happy about the return of Bloc Party this week? Octopus is exactly what I’d have described had someone asked me what I’d want from their return track. Ferociously fast strummed guitars, that constant thud of drums that drowns out your own heartbeat and Kele’s honey vocals drizzling effortlessly above the noise. Perfection.

4. One of my very favourite bands Summer Camp (live, for their album Welcome to Condale and general understated brilliance)released their Always EP this week to help tide us over with new material. Love the underlying menace and sneering in title track Always. Dark.

5. A couple of weeks ago Frank Ocean posted poetic and brave words about falling in love with a man on his Tumblr. As a result I suspect people who hadn’t even heard of Odd Future, and many who dismissed them, have sat up and taken notice of a refreshingly vulnerable and honest performer. The release of Channel Orange was brought forward and it truly is brilliant. Comedic, fragile and clever.

Sunday Swoon. June 10th

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Technically not events that happened within the past seven days but all that real life/bad hangovers got very much in the way of Sunday’s recently. Macaroni Cheese, Baseball and some seriously skill, brill & ace music….

1. Feels like I’ve been waiting an eternity to hear the album from Friends. Such perfect indie pop. Think Karen O fused with Debbie Harry. Makes me want to wear those 80’s neon headphones and pretend I’m in a music video (which I am sure people do frequently in Dalston irrespective of soundtrack so perhaps I should move there). Manifest! is making me smile. A ton.

2. Finally my stomach got to try Pitt Cue this week. Guess what’s inside those panko breadcrumbs? Go on guess. Macaroni Cheese! Sounds bizarrely suspicious but oh my does it work. Topped with pickles and pulled pork in a brioche bun, with a side of shiitake mushrooms. I’m not sure if this is their invention but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen such a culinary combination. Pitt Cue, if you are responsible for this invention let me know so I can leave you something amazing in my will as a thankyou?

I went to the trailer instead of the restaurant which is on the Southbank, lovely to sit by the river with a book and some decent grub. Follow their Twitter updates here.

3. I’ve been playing Crybaby for a couple of weeks now, unable to blog about it on its release date due to weddings and hangovers (which often go hand in hand). If I could buy everyone that reads this blog a copy I would. Think early Richard Hawley, scrap that, think better than early Richard Hawley. It’s heartbreaking and truly beautiful music from Danny Coughlan. It will give you goose bumps and tingles.

4. It takes a talented teller of tales to make me invest so heavily in an American college baseball team (Geena Davis and Madge never managed to peak my interest in the game after all). Chad Harbach has created such flawed, painfully human, broken but brilliant characters in The Art of Fielding. Amazing debut novel.

5.  Technically not this week unless you include the hour I got home after Field Day but they deserve to be mentioned as my ultimate highlight over the bank holiday weekend. Of course I didn’t get to see all the bands I wanted, I am never quite militant enough when it comes to festivals but those I saw (Pond, Summer Camp, Kindness, Sleigh Bells, Theme Park, Franz Ferdinand) gave me that muddy knees wild abandon experience I cherish so much at festivals. It’s impossible to pick an absolute favourite but Kindness excelled all expectations. At all costs I would dash to see him and his band again, anyone that covers Womack & Womacks Teardrops is the boom and the lick. 

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September 13th Mixtape & Thames Festival

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I spent my entire weekend trotting up and down the Thames for the end of summer festival. All the while plotting this weeks mixtape in the back of my head. The things I wanted to type, the songs I wanted to hear. I had tons to say but then the Hare Krishna’s wiped all my ideas so this is not the post I had intended.

As we sat outside the BFI with double rum & ginger, feet aching after walking around for hours a group of Hare Krishna’s approached with drums and chants at full pelt. It’s not a surprising sight in London. Anyone walking from Tottenham Court Road to Oxford Circus would have tuned into the sound of tambourines and bells gradually approaching. This particular group surprised me by joining forces with a group of drumming buskers and it then mutated to a conga line with bystanders joining in. Sounds confusing but it was a joy to watch and summed up why London is so brilliant. Clad in white robes and sandaled feet they swished past me sweeping up people dressed in jeans and jumpers, their musicians blending with the buskers. Hare Krishna Vs. Buskers mash-up if you like.

The Thames Festival is exactly what I needed this weekend. I know a lot of people can’t stand the idea of organised fun or Boris Johnson so I understand it’s not for everyone. However, with my recent and ongoing rotten luck in the job market reconnecting with London felt important, vital and inspiring. With the boy Lolita, armed with pennies for drink and my camera, we spent the whole weekend between London Bridge and Westminster. A few snaps can be found on Flickr.

We got to toast the Thames on Southwark Bridge with hundreds of others, tables lit up with pumpkin lanterns and strings of coloured lights. We stood on the shoreline when the tide was low under the neon message “We Wanted To Be The Sky” (based on a Cat Power lyric) clutching potent ciders with our toes in the sand. We watched Mercury Prize nominated Ghostpoet play to a crowd happy to stand in the rain to hear the true voice of London today. We watched a carnival procession of the beautiful, insane and strange. All for free.

Click on mixtape to listen to the tracks below via Spotify and raise a toast to the Thames sometime this week (although I wouldn’t recommend drinking from it). 

  1. Summer Camp – Better Off Without You
  2. The Breeders – Cannonball
  3. The Drums – Money
  4. Ghostpoet – Us Against Whatever Ever
  5. Hot Chip – Boy From School
  6. Florence + The Machine – What The Water Gave Me
  7. The Kinks – Victoria
  8. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Tigers
  9. The Only Ones – Another Girl Another Planet
  10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Turn Into
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Written by Anon PA

September 13, 2011 at 11:26 am