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Butts

End Of The Road 2013

Thu/Fri

So instead of Green Man (reviewed so expertly by LD) which we’d attended for the last three years we plumped for The End Of The Road Festival. In its eighth year, situated just across the border into Dorset from Wiltshire the line-up had intrigued me with its eclectic mix of American songstresses, straight ahead guitar bands and indiepop outfits. As with GM, though, part of the attraction is in the names I’ve not heard of, trusting the well connected organisers to introduce me to someone who would then become a favourite, I’d also heard good things about the site, the organisation and the general laid back vibe which, since GM had upped the numbers in the last couple of years, seemed to be a bit elusive in 2012.

258 miles door to site we headed off on the Thursday and found a decent spot to pitch. I eagerly devoured the programme and a Mars bar as Mrs Butts struggled manfully with the tent which was fully operational in about half an hour, God bless her. I poured her a glass of red and she began to relax in the posh camping chair we’d borrowed from one of her Glasto pals. Of the three days, Sunday seemed (on paper) to be all thriller no filler.

There wasn’t a great deal going on Thursday night other than Deap Vally on the small Tipi Tent stage. A two piece riot girl combo in the White Stripes mould they left me a bit cold except when I recalled how strikingly similar in looks the singer/guitarist was to Cherie Currie in The Runaways, a pubescent Kim Fowley project at the dawn of punk who kind of took their idea from the New York Dolls. I admired Deap Vally’s chutzpah, especially as the sound cut out a couple of times and they carried on regardless. It was an entertaining if somewhat perfunctory start to the weekend. No matter, by then we’d met up with a fair few Twitter pals and the evening sun was just beautiful.

Friday morning I stuffed us full of a bacon/ sausage and egg bap – REAL coffee – and we made our way through the increasingly bust camp site to the main festival site. EOTR is four stages, all easily accessible on a very flat topography. The usual high quality food outlets and bars were cleverly sited to provide a nice cohesive feel to the place. There are extensive gardens through which you can walk that had little stalls and things for kids to do, plus a ‘healing area’ with massages, aromatherapy and meditation  areas, thoughtfully laid out to offer small oases away from the major throngs. Overall though, it didn’t seem busy at all and that feeling would remain for the weekend, even though the event was sold out.

On the Garden Stage we sat down to watch Woodpecker Wooliams. An intriguing 20-something woman she appeared about 20 feet from us as her band began to tune up on stage, completely naked with a megaphone. She began to wail and then wail some more, dancing in increasing time to the steady drum beat. Performance art of not, this was a most unusual way to start a show. She made her way on to the stage – still naked – to finish the song. She then slipped on a dress as the second song started but by then my attention had waned. Concentrating on her music thereafter  was difficult but it mainly comprised of loud/quiet/loud interludes, thundering drums and no discernible melody. There’s a lot of this stuff about – dreamy, existential ambient music mainly predicated on the basis that it touches someone soul somewhere. Not mine, I’m afraid and stripping off didn’t do the trick either.

What a contrast straight after though with Diana Jones. An American singer/songwriter of the Appalachian tradition she roots her songs in real life tales of ‘addiction and redemption’.  A skilful guitarist she has a striking guttural quality to her voice which imbues her songs with real authenticity.  No surprise her inspirations range from the Carter Family to Johnny Cash, I was mesmerised  by this performance. The (by now) very large crowd was silent in the sun as they were transported to log cabins and frontiers of hardship and Jones herself was in awe of the respectful reception. I chatted to her afterwards and she was jet-lagged but so nice. I explained where Wakefield was (she plays there soon) and assured her we also had our own wild west. This was just the third show we had seen but it remained (probably) the best of the entire weekend.

We then settled in for an afternoon of indie pop as Mrs Butts steadily began to patronise the Somerset cider bus with unerring regularity. We took in PINS (Mancunian girl band) who were nicely loose and ramshackle but with some deceptively catchy songs;  Money, from which we bailed after four songs of ghastly self-obsessed emoting and reverb; ‘Allo Darlin’ who were far too twee for me but had everyone else bouncing around like mad people and then King Khan & The Shrines who we again ran away from as quickly as possible as their pale imitation of James Brown attempting some kind of soul/ garage/ punk crossover stank of unoriginality.

We lounged around an awful lot, chatting with people and remarking at the incredible weather, gorging on curry, Tibetan kebabs and Nachos.

As the sun began to fade we caught bits of Futur Primitif,  Doug Paisley and Serafina Steer. A clash then meant we had to forego Matthew E White for Eels and I’m glad we did. I’ve not been a big fan of their recent output but this show which they’ve toured the last few months is first rate, very heavy on the hits and nobody writes a jump around festival friendly chorus better than Mark Everett. He’s funny, deceptively clever and what better way to end a summer festival set in fading set with the line – ‘Goddamn right it’s a beautiful day...’

The Friday headliner on the main stage was David Byrne and St Vincent. Talking Head meets art school guitar genius Annie Clark produced a patchy album last year and for this tour they are accompanied by a 7 piece brass band. This is both good and bad as it’s thrilling to watch the carefully choreographed stage dynamics but the novelty begins to pale as each song is puffed out by all the wind instruments, making edgy, linear songs like Burning Down The Houser overblown and cumbersome. That said, the closing Road To Nowhere is goose-bumping and undoubtedly the high point.

We walk quickly to the Big Top tent to catch a  bit of Savages – a year on from Green Man this band is becoming major league and they get the full light treatment. You can see the confidence and coolness oozing out of them and their Killing Joke/ Siouxsie product remains thrillingly original.

It’s now about 1.30am and walking back across the site we hear a band still playing in the tiny Tipi tent. It turns out to be Dawes, doing a surprise show before their scheduled appearance on Saturday. This turn out to be perfect to end the day. They are so relaxed, going off piste with intriguing covers, improvisations and new songs,  a  real privilege to  witness  - they are keeping the country rock flame alive and they play until about half two – even then they have to be dragged off stage.

We crash out and I think about how Saturday and Sunday should be even better than this. That is, indeed how it turns out to be.  Saturday report to follow....
fartcatcher

Watched a bit of David Byrne and St Vincent on Youtube. As you say, the idea wore a bit thin after a couple of numbers.

Take it easy with the kebabs. You've got no idea what goes into them.  
Late Doors

 Terrific, was really hoping you would do a report cheers.

I am seriously thinking about it for next year, sounds ace. I love the GM but will only do one. I dont want to overdo the specialness of GM


Cherie Currie in The Runaways, oh yes

Diana Jones, yep heard good things about her

Money.  ghastly self-obsessed emoting and reverb, a bit fierce but yeah I know what you mean, they get a mention in my GM rep as well, think it must be the same band

Just thinking about Road To Nowhere is is causing goose-bumps. Ace song, ace band, ace bloke

looking forward to the rest
Butts

fartcatcher wrote:
Watched a bit of David Byrne and St Vincent on Youtube. As you say, the idea wore a bit thin after a couple of numbers.

Take it easy with the kebabs. You've got no idea what goes into them.  


Stuck with chicken but we had loads of veggie stuff - these things are non meat eaters paradises
bearing

Butts wrote:
fartcatcher wrote:
Watched a bit of David Byrne and St Vincent on Youtube. As you say, the idea wore a bit thin after a couple of numbers.

Take it easy with the kebabs. You've got no idea what goes into them.  


Stuck with chicken but we had loads of veggie stuff - these things are non meat eaters paradises


Are you sure it's chicken? There's an awful lot of three legged elephants about.

As with LD's weekend, it sounds like a great time. I'm sure the weather plays a big part in the laid back feel, family bearing really need to get to one of these next summer.
Butts

Saturday

Even by 6.30am the heat of the sun was beginning to penetrate the tent, the forecast was unlimited wall to wall sunshine and so it proved as we scoffed on a full English and more real coffee. My day was to start with Pat and a full wet shave with heated towels,  a cut throat razor and plenty of trust. Half an hour (and £25) later I emerged into the morning sun feeling like a new man. Instead, Mrs Butts was waiting and off we went to the first bit of music.

Actually, it was a Q&A with Ethan Johns - uber-producer and son of 60s/70s uber-producer (Glyn) who good-naturedly recounted some insider tales of producing the likes of Laura Marling, Ryan Adams and Kings Of Leon. He’d also recently worked with Paul McCartney and interestingly let slip that there is a deluxe release of Adams’s ‘Heartbreaker’ album in the offing, a fact which got me salivating somewhat.

He gave way to one of the performances of the weekend – RM Hubbert. A big, hulking Scotsman whose belly flopped over his guitar but who produced the most delicate, gossamer-like music – Spanish-style guitar to Celtic tales of hardship and loss. He punctuated the songs with startling and disarming anecdotes, sharing some of his personal history with hilarious asides about his relationships and musical journey. He stopped anti-depressants a while back having realised that playing his songs to live audiences was a more effective medicine. I recommend his album  - ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ – whole-heartedly.  We spied Jarvis Cocker at the side of the stage – there is a lot of industry buzz about this man.

We then strolled to the Garden Stage to catch Ethan Johns again – this time as the musician  and a solo show played out on a multitude of amazing guitars. His voice isn’t the best but his eclectic absorption of so many different musical styles is impressive and he was very well received by the sun-bathing crowd.

We’d already seen Dawes the previous night but no competition to their Saturday pm slot on the main stage meant we could see them again. Their new album continues to underwhelm but live they are one of those bands that carry you with them, they have an infectious honesty and enthusiasm which is a rare commodity and even the cheesy lyrics (on paper) got me a bit emotional as they played their hearts out in the sun.

We then high-tailed it to Teleman, who I’d been bigging up to LD prior to Green Man. They were – alright – sharply dressed with a quirky tune or two but I struggled to locate the substance required to grab my ever decreasing attention span and four songs in, once I’d heard their best tune – ‘Christina’ – we went for more curry and sun.

We took in the languid, understated guitar figures of very laid-back Cass McCombs and a slice of Daughter – who attracted a massive crowd, before finding ourselves back at the Tipi Tent (and right at the front) for Trembling Bells with Mike Heron (of Incredible String Band fame). The Bells are a Scottish-derived collection of 21st Century folk musicians keeping that noble tradition alive . It’s not a genre that gets my juices flowing but watching the fine artistry of these multi-instrumentalists at such close quarters was a captivating privilege. Their 45 minute set sped past in what seemed like seconds.

Next up was the Fossil Collective from York. Fleet Foxes really started something by kick-starting the appetite for punchy yet pastoral and harmony-laden folk rock a la CSN. This lot are excellent exponents of that although I’ve been finding myself getting twitchily bored of late at purely derivative bands who, fine musicians as they are, follow such an obvious template. I was counting the minutes and seconds, therefore to the act that came next – Daughn Gibson.

I’d been playing his album – Me Moan – to death for a good few weeks but nothing prepared me for the live experience. With the looks of a Hollywood actor and a rippling body that threatened to burst his shirt he combined country roots with brain-crunching techno beats. The fascinating combination of frenetic lap steel guitar that propelled these personal stories of spiritual desolation had me gripped from the off. It’s great to see an audience in thrall to the unexpected and to an artist who genuinely doesn’t give a fuck. He wasn’t trying to shock but the edginess of his body language coupled with the amazing gravitas of his resonant baritone was a marvellous contradiction. A top five highlight of the festival without a doubt, so much so I just had to go see him again at the Brudenell the following Wednesday.

We emerged from that a bit groggy, having completely missed Warpaint, Sigur Ros and Polica.

Just time for a warming hot chocolate as the cloudless skies brought down the cold and I was already thinking about what was to come on Sunday. On paper, I couldn’t spot a gap between 11.45am until midnight. It was to turn into the best festival day of music so far (ever!).
Late Doors

Brill, cheers Butts, 25 quid for a shave?  hgfhjgfjgfj blimey,

like the sound of RM Hubbert, Is he live here or hereabouts anytime soon?

Yeah the latest Dawes album is not working for me either, was expecting more.

Sundays report soon?? looking forward to it please  
Late Doors

*drums table top with finger tips*

in yer own time like  
bearing

Late Doors wrote:
*drums table top with finger tips*

in yer own time like  


He's as bad as you...

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