Wednesday, 7 September 2011

End of the Road Festival 2011 Quick Notes

As the wind and rain lashes against my London flat, the heady days of last weekends End of the Road festival already seem like distant memories, but very good ones at that.

The performances I enjoyed the most were tUne-yArDs, M Ward, Midlake and Austra.

Midlake had a huge banner with the cover from their latest album 'The Courage of Others' as their stage backdrop on the newly added and very big Woods stage, this created a great visual point for those of us stuck right at the back. 'Acts of Man' and 'Roscoe' sounded sublime.

Merrill Garbus of tUne-yArDs is just over and over again crazily good. The audience predictably loved her and her amazing yodels - always wonder how she discovered she could do that.

tUne-yArDs
M Ward is possibly one the most impressive singer/songwriter musicians around right now. His solo rendition of 'Poor Boy, Minor Key' and 'Hello Stranger' (with Jolie Holland) left me jaw a-gaping. That man really is a grand master of his tools.

I'd really wanted to see Austra for a while, love their debut album 'Feel It Break' so was a little suprised by how some people left the audience after they started playing. I thought it was great although I do think the twins who sing backing vocals definitely bring a necessary extra dimension to the show, it would have been a bit flat without them. 'Beat and the Pulse' was an obvious favourite, you just know some songs are going to sound brilliant live.

Other great moments included hearing Treefight for Sunlight cover 'Wuthering Heights' from inside my tent (sounded like this), catching Jim Bob from Carter USM playing 'The Only Living Boy In New Cross' acoustically on the comedy stage, the cider bus, baby peacocks and Okkervil River playing a secret show on a boat in the woods.

I also enjoyed Beirut, Micah P Hinson, Lykke Li, Phosphorescent (although he needed his band to make the show complete), Timber Timbre and Kurt Vile and the Violators.

This was my third time at this festival and although it was noticeably bigger this year both from a people and lay out perspective, the general feeling was that the organisers pulled it off successfully, just don't let it get any bigger. The new large Woods stage is an excellent addition and although perhaps somewhat less intimate than the Garden stage, at least its position at the bottom of a slight incline gives you a chance of actually seeing the performers from wherever you are standing even if it's right at the back.

Same again next year?

Apologies to those of you who I tried and failed to meet up with, my phone failed miserably at finding a reception. Hopefully we can meet at a London show sometime.


Living Room stage where anyone can perform
Houses in a tree
Okkervil River secret set in a boat
Me lounging in a nearby field :)

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