Sunday, March 22, 2015

Hunters Moon 2013: Part 1

Yes, readers, I am now going to travel back in time to 2013 and have a crack at reviewing the last Hunters Moon festival I went to on the Halloween Bank Holiday weekend that year. I have been Not Getting Round to doing this ever since the festival ended, with wanting to do the festival justice by producing the Best Ever Write-Up for it. That is not going to happen so instead I am just going to dive in and write a lot of semi-random stuff about it without bothering to look back at my notes or anything like that.

Now of course, you might wonder why I am bothering. Hunters Moon tended to feature some pretty obscure artists and reading accounts of artists you've never heard of playing at a festival you weren't at can be a bit on the dull side. And of course there is the time-lag: this is me writing about a festival that happened a very long time ago. But I feel that as no one else seems to have reviewed this event anywhere it falls to me to do it, notwithstanding the passing of time. The heroic efforts of the organisers in putting on the festival deserve to be remembered.

To recap, Hunters Moon was a festival that took place in Carrick-on-Shannon (mostly but not entirely in the Dock Arts Centre) on the October Bank Holiday weekend for three years running. It featured musical artists from the worlds of strange folk, experimental electronic music and neo-psychedelia. It always struggled to attract an audience (because audiences are stupid) but anyone who ever went to it will agree that it was the best thing ever.

The 2013 festival began with a performance by Divil A Bit, a nom de guerre for the festival organisers and people associated with them. They played droney instruments in the foyer of the arts venue. There was ritualistic parading around. There may have been sporadic hitting of a drum. As with a lot of avant-garde music you could easily have dismissed this as tuneless nonsense, but if you were so inclined then you would probably have made a mistake coming to the festival.

I will not go through all the acts who played, largely because my drug addled brane cannot remember them all in detail. Instead I present a selection of moments.

One thing that was always fun at Hunters Moon were the concerts that took place away from the arts venue, in cafes around the town. We caught two great performances in the Cafe Lounge, a place serious in its love of coffee and one of the few places in these islands that serves coffee in cafetière. While buzzing on caffeinated goodness we were entertained by Devon MacGillivray, a fiddler playing tunes from the Cape Breton region of Canada. She was followed by Sam Burke of popular mediaevalist folkie group Nuada. He played a variety of strange instruments and sang songs, one of which required male audience members to stamp their feet in the manner of a rampant stallion. I did my best.

An act that caused many people to flee in terror was the Phil Collins Project. They did a variety of Phil Collins related things, from performing idiot-savant covers of his tunes to singing tunelessly over concert footage of the great man. I think the Haterz disliked two things about the Phil Collins Project (or the PCP as those in the know call them): firstly, any association with the terminally uncool former drummer of Genesis and secondly the tuneless art-wank nature of the performance. I must admit to a certain Phil Collins sneaking regard so I was more open to this lot than many. I also found the tuneless artwankery to be fun rather than annoying. So I liked the PCP. I am unashamed.

What was also funny was watching the crowd who remained to watch the PCP. When they played concert footage of 'Two Hearts Beat As One', barely singing tunelessly over it, quite a few people started bopping to the crazy Phil Collins sounds. They were trying to look ironic but it was hard not to think that really they would love if someone were to drop all the tuneless experimental nonsense and serve up a weekend of 1980s tat for them to dance to.

This maybe was the night for confrontational acts who divided the audience, for later on the festival presented us with Consumer Electronics. They were a duo, a woman making some kind of loud electronic noise and one of the blokes from controversial perv outfit Whitehouse shouting "Cunt Cunt Cunt" over and over again into a microphone. He also stripped off his top and invited people to come and suck on his bitch tits.

Whitehouse are one of those acts you hear of as being very controversial and confrontational, never afraid of getting in the audience's face. They reputedly like to use images of hardcore pornography to make the audience complicit in things or something. I do not know how similar Consumer Electronics is to Whitehouse, but it seemed like the same kind of thing: puerile confrontation and attention seeking through bad language and infantile transgression. And it wasn't even that edgy. They had images projected on screens while they played but it never went beyond anything you could happily show to your mother, while always appearing as though at any moment it was going to off the deep end.

Still, for all that I thought Consumer Electronics were not that good, I was glad to have seen them. They also provided one of the most memorable incidents of the weekend. At one point Mr Electronics threw a pint of beer into the audience (edgy!), drenching a woman who then charged off to bar and returned with a pint of slops that she then poured over him. He loved it.

An act I thought would be more controversial was this Belgian synthesiser lady who perfromed as Orphan Fairytale. The music was very likeable plinky atmospheric electronic music, so you might wonder why I thought it would prove controversial. Why? Well, I thought its very likeability would put some of my more forthright friends off it. While I was listening to Ms Fairytale's performance I was conscious of how much I was enjoying it but also fearful of the conversations that would ensue once it finished, for fear that one friend in particular would dismiss it all as "fucking tweetronica shite". But this did not happen and in fact said friend professed to love Orphan Fairytale. Maybe I am no longer able to predict what people like anymore.

Come back tomorrow for more Hunters Moon 2013 action!

Phil Collins image source (Miami Vice Wiki)

more rubbish pictures


Hunters Moon 2011

Hunters Moon 2012

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