Monday, September 1, 2008

if you go down to the woods today

You're sure of a big surprise if those woods are in Stradbally, Co. Laois. In fact you're most likely to find them stinking of urine for the next while.

I arrived back from the Electric Picnic yesterday evening. We had to cut short the weekend as the kids were back in school today. Even after a good sleep last night I'm still knackered tired. I'm yawning as I write this.

Well? What of it? Unlike last year when I was intent on seeing lots of bands, I decided to enjoy the festival experience more this year. Arriving down early on Friday we were able to start that experience at a decent hour. In fairness the pace we set wasn't exactly blistering. In fact it took at least a couple of drinks in the car park to get going but from there on it was a clear run in. There were no queues at the main entrance and we found a decent spot to set up base camp in the Jimi Hendrix camp site. By decent, I mean that it was far enough away from the toilets, near enough to the actual gigs and with some reliable landmarks nearby that meant it was easy to find.

After a quick tour of the main area we eventually made it to Jape. He rocked the gaff. I legged it over to catch the arse end of the Tinariwen gig which seemed like a much more sedate affair in comparison, It was still good though. I headed over to the Body & Soul area for a while and caught a bit of Dark Room Notes and Rollers/Sparkers. Then I legged it to the Goldfrapp gig which was a pretty enchanting affair. It was only when it finished that I realised that most of her uptempo tunes sound a bit like they're based on Gary Glitter intros. I'd had enough of the main arena at that point so I headed back to Body & Soul. The rest of the evening was taken up listening to some bloke called DJ Pathaan who was playing a load of shite records (after visiting his website and reading his biography I like him even less), that was followed by The Balanescu Quartet who were good but I just wasn't in the mood to listen to them and it was pretty much the same with the band that followed, Helios Jive. It was time to call it a night.

First up and best dressed on Saturday morning. Well not exactly. It took a little time and persuasion to get me going. I spent most of the morning and early afternoon eating. Which was nice. I managed to take in a little bit of Antibalas as I dined. They're a Brooklyn based funk group and they were doing their best to rouse the crowd from their slumber. The Chicken Balti Pie, mushy peas and chips were having a greater effect on me. Leaving ample time for my meals to digest I split over to the Bodytonic area to check out Spilly Walker. This is the collaboration between David Kitt and his younger brother Robbie. It verges on high octane dance music at times and is not dissimilar to the electro guitar sound that bands like Hot Chip or Underworld might turn out. This was followed by a DJ set from Billy Scurry but I only hung around for a few minutes of it. On the way back to base camp I bumped into Richie and Mattie from Jape and they seemed to be enjoying the festival buzz. So much so that they'd forgottent to go to bed since their gig the day before. Trojans, both of them. I caught a bit of Wilco after that and then accompanied my good lady wife to see Grace Jones. Everyone seemed to enjoy her but it's much ado about nothing as far as I'm concerned. She's a bit of an old trout and she was cursing like a docker. I preferred her in Octopussy to be honest.

It was back to the Body & Soul to check out Milosh, Donal Dineen and David Kitt (again). That was a very pleasant affair and served as a welcome respite for a while. I was heading over to see George Clinton when I got sidetracked by some dancehall reggae for about twenty minutes. They happened to be playing 'Who am I (Zim Zimma)' by Beenie Man so I was obliged to throw a few shapes. As I once again attempted to get to see George, I was once again sidetracked, this time by the LA circus troupe Lucent Dossier. They were the business. I couldn't get over this novel experience until my wife pointed out that we'd seen them two years ago. Imagine that.

As Sunday morning came around and the sun truly began to shine for the first time I felt a pang about having to leave. Until of course I smelt the stench of urine filling my nostrils. Then I knew it was time to go. On the downside I knew there would be no listening to The Congos or My Bloody Valentine. On the plus side I wouldn't have to listen to The Sex Pistols. Home James and don't spare the horses!


Justin Mason said...

the Balanescu Quartet seem to be the bunch who do the theme tune to University Challenge. is _that_ festival fare? wtf.

(ps: Zim Zimma -- who's got the keys to me bimma! love it.)

Matt Vinyl said...

J - The Balanescu Boys highlight was when they did a Kraftwerk medley at the end of their set. The rest of it was a bit of a pain in the hole to be honest.

You've gotta dig that Beenie Man tune. It uses the Playground Riddim, the same one that Sean Paul uses for 'Infiltrate'.