Saturday, August 18, 2007

Summer Sundae 2007 Review

In which Miles reviews his lovely local music festival, Summer Sundae, which is held in and around De Montfort Hall, Leicester.

So I've been putting this off for a week due to laziness.

Let's begin with an overview: SSW07 was absolutely brilliant. It is my favourite music festival, by far.

What? What do you mean it's the only one I go to? I don't see how THAT is at all relevant.

I'll get the dross out the way first. The Pigeon Detectives were completely awful. In fact, Neil of eFestivals said that "they bored much of the crowd rigid, to the point where said Pigeons were slagging off the crowd between each song for ignoring them". Awful awful awful. No talent, no charisma, no good songs.

All three of those could also be applied to Kate Nash whom I obviously avoided seeing but could hear from the campsite. Her voice still hurts and her lyrics are still rubbish. I guess I do get to do my Nash bit again: If you think Kate Nash's lyrics are "so true", that doesn't mean she's a good songwriter. That means you've made some TERRIBLE life choices.

!!! turned out to be a bunch of rather good musicians fronted by an extremely irritating frontman who I would not mind shooting. He totally ruined them for me.

Right, The Good Stuff!

Spoon were always going to be a highlight for me. They played a great set (including my favourite Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga cut, Black Like Me which I wasn't expecting) and I met Rob afterwards and got him to sign their setlist and he was lovely. Other highlights: Don't Make Me a Target and The Beast and Dragon, Adored. Oh and of course The Way We Get By got a good audience reaction.

Jeremy Warmsley was a nice surprise. Prior to the festival I only knew Dirty Blue Jeans and was expecting either a one-man-and-his-laptop or an acoustic-singer-songwritery set. But no! Full band indie pop was the order of the day, and rather wonderful it was too. Dirty Blue Jeans was a real stormer and a somewaht epic piano ballad closed the set in great style.

Low are a band I've always meant to investigate and never got round to, but I was instantly converted by this live performance. Their vocal harmonies are just astounding, I think I could listen to them forever. Highlights: Canada (which I am now addicted to), (That's How You Sing) Amazing Grace and Dragonfly but really their whole set was one big highlight.

Oh and I high-fived Alan Sparhawk. It was awesome.

The Divine Comedy were thoroughly wonderful on Friday night, bringing sophisticated lush chamber pop, spot on critique of modern society and, um, smut to the main stage. Neil Hannon sounded amazing and probably had the best rapport with the audience of any act I saw this year. Highlights: Opener To die a virgin, unexpected Regeneration slow burner Mastermind, the romantic gallop of Tonight We Fly and dramatic mini-epic closer Sunrise.

Malcolm Middleton was wonderful on the main stage midway through Sunday afternoon. Break My Heart and We're All Going To Die may be gloomy, sad songs but they certainly made me happy.

Maps put on a great live show and packed out the indoor stage, sounding much more expansive than on record. I'm still not sure what to call them. Shoegazey-postrocky-electrotwee? To The Sky was a highlight for me because it's the only one I know.

Candie Payne was unexpectedly quite good. Bond-themes, circa the 1960s. Also this might be a big lie but I want to say it: surf-rock meets Northern Soul.

Gruff Rhys put on a great show on the indoor stage a little later, from behind his giant cardboard TV. In fact at the moment where, after playing and looping a whole variety of different instruments to build up a giant wall of sound, he sat back and put on a pair of 3D glasses - he was the coolest man on Earth. The full 19 minutes of Skylon! was great and the two girls who danced (and I mean properly danced) all the way through it are my heroes.

Ending the festival on Sunday was Spiritualized doing their Acoustic Mainlines show which, frankly dear reader, was nothing short of beautiful. Possibly the most amazing thing I've ever seen live. Highlights: Anything More, Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space (which inspired a mass sing-a-long) and a new song called Soul On Fire.

So, yeah, great weekend. Roll on next year. Or in my case, Monday. Weeeeee, Interpol!

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