Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bowlie 2: Saturday (Part 2)

I am writing about the recent(-ish) Bowlie 2 festival in Minehead, curated by Belle & Sebastian, the people who brought us the original Bowlie Weekender back in 1998. I have italicised the names of artists who played at the original festival. Read on as I continue talking about artists I saw on the Saturday.

And so to Belle & Sebastian themselves. They were pretty good, but the magic is basically gone for me now, and the stage they were playing on was too large too rekindle it. I was also a bit disappointed that they did not take advantage of Isobel Campbell's presence to do a Spinal Tap and have her join them onstage for a cello solo.

The Great Debate triggered by this particular B&S performance was whether Stuart Murdoch has become sleazy or whether he was always a bit that-way-inclined. At one stage he got some young ladies up from the audience to clap their hands and dance onstage, and he was only really one step away from saying "Now girls, how about if you all jumped up and down a bit? And aren't those sweaters a bit warm?". What do my many B&S fan readers think?

For one reason and another we then missed Jenny and Johnny – Jenny Watson from Rilo Kiley and Jonathan Rice from Jonathan Rice playing together. I gather that it proved very popular, possibly because of the "Hello sailor" photo of Ms Watson that appeared in the programme.

We also missed almost all of the Super Secret Special Guest Artist known to everyone to be Franz Ferdinand, as there was too much of a queue to get into where they were playing. But I did get in to hear their last song, which was 'Jacqueline', one of my favourites. And guess what, Franz Ferdinand seem to be a great live band. Does anyone know if their third album is an improvement on their rubbish second?

I caught a bit of the ever reliable Justin Spear DJing his pop psyche sounds and also a track or two by Crystal Castles, who seemed to be amazingly ravey and not what you would expect at a B&S-curated festival (then again, 'Electronic Renaissance' suggests that Murdoch and co. have at least some familiarity with the world of mad mental electronic music and the drøgs that go with it).

DJs from How Does It Feel? delivered a crowd-pleasingly tarty set of indie-pop classics and likeable sixties tunes, sound-tracking a reunion of those of us who used to post on the Bowlie Forum. It was so tarty that they even played B&S songs the band themselves had played earlier in the evening. Mad buzz.

An inuit panda production

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