Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Indietracks: Everyday Is Like Sunday

That's right – I am still going on about the last day of that festival.

I went to see reformed Sarah act Secret Shine in the indoor venue, mainly because I hoped they would be rubbish and so we would be able to review them thus: "Secret Shine? Secret shite, more like". It was therefore a big disappointment when they turned out to be a kickarse shoegaze band. I was sorry to only catch the last few songs of their high quality set. They have apparently reformed properly (recording new material that apparently makes up a lot of their set), so it is possible they will come and play live in your town soon.

And then there were Shrag, playing on the main stage. These were also rather impressive. They play a more rambunctious strain of indiepop – based on shouting and jumping around rather than the insipid stuff that some people like. The music is both guitarry and synthy. I think, though, that what really sets them above so many of the other bands on the bill was star quality – partly of the band as a whole but primarily of the lead singer. Marvelling at how impressive a front woman she was I was struck by how few of the bands at this festival were fronted by singers who did not play instruments. Little Ms Shrag exuded energy and charisma in a way that so many of the others did not, though the generally appealing nature of the tunes also helped.

The fact that Shrag's singer had grasped the importance of jumping around a lot on stage while wearing a short skirt was not lost on many members of the audience. A number of pervertalists trained cameras on her in the hope of capturing a special image that could be of use for private research later. I tried to snap a picture of the perv photographers in action, but failed. This is the story of my life.

Slow Club
I was eating dinner when musical sounds lured us back to the main stage, to see Slow Club. There were two of them, a man and a woman. He did vocals and played guitar and she did vocals (sounding like she comes from a region), played guitar AND played drums (so she wins). They were funny and their music had a certain folkie quality to it. I remember enjoying them a lot, but I wonder now if it was mainly their amusing chit chat that I liked.

The Pooh Sticks
And then The Pooh Sticks, another reformed band. The only song by The Pooh Sticks I know is that 'I Know Someone Who Knows Someone Who Knows Alan McGee Quite Well' one, which meant that I had them down as idiot savants, perhaps the Indietracks Television Personalities. But actually no – it turned out that i) they were surprisingly rocky and together and ii) great fun. As part of their general commitment to rock action they gave out placards to the audience with important messages on them like "E=MC5" and "Don't Bore Us – Get To The Chorus". They were also joined for some songs by Amelia Fletcher, but sadly they failed to do the wonderful version of 'Float On' they recorded for the celebrated anti-Poll Tax compilation Alvin Lives… In Leeds.

After enjoying such a succession of bands it was great to get one that was, at best, only alright – it meant that my critical faculties had not collapsed, that I had not been reprogrammed into the kind of person who likes everything. The not brilliant band in question was The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. They go in for washes of synthy noise to such an extent that they seem to have based their entire set on 'Friday I'm In Love' by The Cure. I was therefore annoyed to find this band not merely derivative, but derivative of something I dislike. Still, the band did have a certain proficiency. They were also the last band of the festival, so rather than stand there going "Bah C***bug" I decided to extend them a kind of grudging admiration. They certainly went down well with the rest of the audience, perhaps thanks to their continuous bigging up of the whole indiepop scene generally, something that made them sound like the indiepop Manowar.

An inuit panda production

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Dave Berry said...

I'm enjoying your Indietracks reviews. I have nothing insightful to add.

ian said...

Cheers Dave. By the way, did you ever post your Henry Cow Box Set thing on your blog? I want to link to it from mine sometime, but when I tried to look for it on LiveJournal I ended up with every post by anyone who has ever mentioned Henry Cow.