End Of The Road review 2013

Mostly, festival reviews are a bit pointless for those who didn’t attend. So I thought I’d try and do a bit of a round-up that makes sense, even for people who didn’t make it down to Larmer Tree Gardens for the loveliest weekend of the year.

It’s a good time for girls in bands

From Deap Vally to Warpaint to Rachel Dadd, female musicians were everywhere – and not just playing bass or singing. It seems that finally, it’s normal for women to play drums, or indeed whatever they want.

I had an interesting conversation earlier in the year with electronic music producer Patrick Pulsinger on this subject. He thinks that it’s the best time ever for girls to make music, and that this shift will be great for music too. His take is that the fact girls can just buy kit online, and can work it out for themselves without having to be embarrassed or intimidated by blokes in kit shops or music shops, is revolutionary. I think I agree.

Here are Warpaint playing a new song at EOTR on Saturday night.

Talking Heads songs sound great with a brass ensemble behind them

David Byrne did a headline set with St Vincent, playing the gorgeous songs they released on Love This Giant interspersed with some Talking Heads classics. The show was equally gorgeous, with the songs set to charming doll-dance choreography which saw Byrne and Annie Clarke flanked by a line of brass players. Even the Euphonium player was dancing, which must have been some feat. Naive Melody, aka the greatest love song ever written, sounded particularly beautiful in a Wiltshire field.

I couldn’t find any YouTube clips of this show, probably because the crowd heeded Byrne’s show opening exhortation to put down the devices and dance. But here’s one from elsewhere on the tour.

The food was almost as good as the music

I ate a blackcurrent and honey frozen yoghurt from the Hedgerow Deli that was like Bo Ningen on my tastebuds. Honestly, I know what John and Greg are on about now. Then there was the maple-smoked pulled pork and beans, and the two types of paella. I could actually do a whole festival review just on the food. Mmmmmmmmm.

Bo Ningen 

You can tell how amazing they were because no-one filmed them on their phones and put it on YouTube. OK, so that might be an exaggeration and no doubt untrue but that’s how it felt. The 15 year olds at the front lapped it up, as did the 50-something couple standing in front of me who declared it ‘completely awesome’. A very cool-looking middle-aged lady went up to the lighting guy afterwards and congratulated him on how he lit up the stage. She was right. When Yuki descended into the crowd and played his guitar upside down, or when Taigen swirled his guitar around like a hawk-handler might swirl meat, lighting guy was right there, picking out the best bits. They’re playing again soon. I advise you to go.

Here they are earlier this year at the 100 Club.

People who go to End Of The Road are proper music fans

EOTR is populated by proper music fans, whether they’re teenage kids or a fifty-something lady in a Patti Smith T-shirt, or festival regular Big Jeff who everyone seemed to know from bands on stage to kids wandering past the Rough Trade store. They’re all equal because they’re all into it. It’s surprising how surprising this is.

I’ve already got my ticket for next year.

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