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Kendal Calling 2013: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 6th September 2013 at 2:00 pm
 

Is it just me or was Kendal Calling 2013‘s Saturday on the main stage “Lad’s day”? The Twang, The D.O.T., even Ash seemed to bring the inner Manc out in everybody. At least Dutch Uncles were there to bring a bit of thinking man’s rock to the party. Is it just me or do Dutch Uncles get better with every viewing? Duncan Wallis (shown below) is a frontman perfectly at ease with himself, proudly showing off his pristine, angular moves, particularly on ‘Flexxin’’, where the famous moves from the video are reproduced even more lucidly onstage. The band display a limber structure within which they explore their compositions, with a confidence only a group who have toured together for countless months can display. And they seem to have avoided becoming bored with each other or their songs, as have the audience.

Dutch Uncles Kendal Calling 2013

The D.O.T. came widely anticipated. A joint venture between Mike Skinner, ex of The Streets, and Rob Harvey, ex of Leeds rockers The Music, promises to bring some urban smarts to indie music, to replace guitars with electronics, but still within a knowing framework that appeals to both indie kids and hip-hop heads. In reality, it all falls a bit flat. Certainly there’s nothing here to compete with the intensity of the previous night’s Public Enemy onslaught, but conversely it would be more exciting with a bit of live instrumentation. Harvey strums a guitar every now and again, but they fail to excite the crowd at all; Skinner’s deadpan sneering doesn’t help, an attitude which apparently carries through to his DJ set later in the evening. There are occasional glimpses of the urban tenderness of The Streets, but glimpses is all they are. There’s potential here, but they need to have a bit of a rethink on how to engage anyone other than diehard fans of both The Music and The Streets at the same time. How many of those can there be?

The most surprising thing about The Twang is that they’re actually still going, given a steady decline in album sales over the past decade, let alone how they’ve managed to bag a decent main stage slot at a big festival. Well, the answer’s in the laddism. They appear to have two singers, plenty of guitars and energy, and some singalong bits – who am I to argue that what they actually need is class and talent?

Tim Wheeler (pictured at top) from Ash is lacking in neither class or talent – it takes class to maintain a brand for 20 years, whilst keeping people interested and even devoted to its music; it takes talent to continue to wield a Gibson Flying V with the sort of aplomb which would make a 12-year-old boy say, “that’s cool”. Both of which are achieved within a few bars of Ash’s set commencing. Moreover, they command the rain: it pours down at the first note of their set, and would continue for 12 hours. Clearly God is a fan. Nobody has really taken Ash’s place: as survivors of the tail end of Britpop, their offer is clearly still relevant today, and not just by way of nostalgia. Their songs are evocative of teenage yearning, of big guitars, and simple, overriding emotions still capable of commanding a big festival stage. Carry on, sir.

Sweet Baboo Kendal Calling 2013

Sweet Baboo’s delicate, witty, poignant Welsh ditties bring us back to the Calling Out tent. Such assertively sweet music from such an unassuming chap is quite the contrast. By the time the set climaxes, the horn section is parping as if Steve Cropper were in the crowd, taking notes. Which, in a spiritual way, he was. To be followed swiftly by Sons and Lovers (shown below), who tread that fine line between cliche and true excellence. In the cold light of day, their Mumford-esque sound is their downfall: inevitable thumping floor toms, incessant quiet-loud-quiet-loud arrangements, and hopelessly romantic themes do them no favours, but on this day in history, Sons and Lovers provide set worthy of headliners. Such are the complex vagaries of live music.

Sons and Lovers Kendal Calling 2013

London Grammar remain to be assessed another day – their autumn tour should set the record straight as to whether they are simply xx wannabes, or whether they have something truly original to offer. Now… it hardly needs stating that there’s more to music festivals than stroking one’s chin at bands. So Saturday night was as good a time as any to relinquish any thought of sobriety, any notion of “reviewing”, and simply have a bit of a party. A date had been made for 10 pm to watch a delightful bunch of ladies called the Hooping Harlots perform a spectacular LED hula-hoop display, with the added bonus that they let any old punter (e.g., me) practice their dubious hula skills with some of their less precious hoops. Even though I can keep it up indefinitely (that’s what she said!) I can’t do anything more exciting than that; the talented Harlots, however, can do the lot – spinning around the wrist, neck, and unbelievably, the shoulder, and swapping between them all with a fluid ease that defies description. Add to that the LED light show within the hoops, and it’s a spectacle guaranteed to scramble already delicate festival minds.

The whole thing took place at the well-named Tipple Taxi, a London cab converted into a bijou drinking den, one of many micro-venues scattered around the site, making an evening stumble around the place into a voyage of one exciting discovery after another – from the Chai Wallah’s tent rising from the horizontal for a bit of a boogie finale, to the lucky dip of sounds that is Riot Jazz. The climax of any good Saturday night at Kendal has to be the Glow Dance Tent, however.

Which is where it should, and does, become a little hazy. There are photographs – oh, what photographs. The essence of the sublime confusion of a properly executed night in the company of dance music is expressed therein. Please take a look. Musically, Krafty Kutz expressed their unsurpassed UK hip hop beats and flow, assisted by A Skillz. Needless to say there was dubstep bass all over the house, the constant battle between vocal lines, sub bass, and 8-bit melodies proving too much to bear for some. Check out the Dirtyphonics remix of Pounding for more information, and to experience the enormous bass which sets the level for a Krafty Kutz experience. The level reaches even higher with the introduction of the mentalist blend of wound-up beats, vocals, and samples that comprises ‘Happiness’. Spotify it out.

Suffice to say by the time Maribou State took over at 2 AM, the tent was in great need of a bit of glitchy, soulful techno to rest weary limbs. But even then, the subtle electronica coalesced into an irresistible hole of bouncing heads and knowing looks as the next hour passed in a haze of exhaustion. We were to stagger, spent and silent, to a wreck of flooded, ransacked tents… but that’s a story for another day.

 

The Twang / October 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 4th August 2009 at 4:00 pm
 

As you probably know, The Twang have a shiny new album out shortly, and as usually happens with new albums, they have announced a full UK Tour for October.

Tickets go on sale on Friday (7th August) at 9am.

Wednesday 30th September 2009 – Crewe M Club
Thursday 1st October 2009 – Norwich Waterfront
Friday 2nd October 2009 – Derby Rockhouse
Saturday 3rd October 2009 – Sheffield Leadmill
Sunday 4th October 2009 – Glasgow QMU
Tuesday 6th October 2009 – Aberdeen Moshulu
Wednesday 7th October 2009 – Dundee Fat Sams
Thursday 8th October 2009 – Leeds Cockpit
Saturday 10th October 2009 – Hull Welly Club
Sunday 11th October 2009 – Liverpool O2 Academy 2
Monday 12th October 2009 – Bristol Bierkeller
Tuesday 13th October 2009 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Thursday 15th October 2009 – London KOKO
Friday 16th October 2009 – Brighton Concorde 2
Saturday 17th October 2009 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Sunday 18th October 2009 – Manchester Ritz
Monday 19th October 2009 – Middlesbrough Empire

 

In the Post #15: The Twang – Jewellery Quarter

 
By on Thursday, 30th July 2009 at 2:00 pm
 

The Twang - Jewellery Quarter CoverBefore I received The Twang‘s new album in the post a few days ago, I’ll be honest and say it had been a while since I’d paid their debut much attention. Suddenly I was reminded of how good  “Love It When I Feel Like This” was – its plain and simple guys ‘n’ guitars stuff, nothing too taxing and full of “hug-yer-mates” moments. No pretension, simple, memorable tunes.

So, how is Jewellery Quarter sounding? Well, it’s pretty good – it’s not going to be winning any songwriting prizes or Mercuries, however it does have its moments. The down moments though aren’t as good as on “Love It When I Feel Like This” – they’re more of a stare at the floor / sit in a darkened room than embracing nearby friends.

The worst thing? After listening to it once, there isn’t one track that I want to go back and put on repeat for days. There’s no “Either Way”, “Wide Awake” or “The Neighbour” that have that element of being great singles. Jewellery Quarter is a perfectly competent album, it’s just the poorer brother of their debut – good, but not great.

The Twang’s new album, Jewellery Quarter is released next Monday, 3rd August. Pre-order here.

 

The Twang / February 2009 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 15th December 2008 at 3:36 pm
 

The Twang - Love it when it feels like thisThe Twang have announced a series of UK Tour dates for next February.

They’ll be previewing tracks off their forthcoming album, ‘Not Tonight, It’s Monday’.

Tickets are on sale now, priced around £12.50 each.

Monday 2nd February 2009 – Norwich, The Waterfront (See Tickets)
Tuesday 3rd February 2009 – Bournemouth, Old Fire Station (See Tickets)
Thursday 5th February 2009 – Bath, Students Union (See Tickets)
Friday 6th February 2009 – Swansea, Sin City (See Tickets)
Saturday 7th February 2009 – High Wycombe, Bucks Student Union (See Tickets)
Monday 9th February 2009 – Glasgow, Strathclyde Students Union (See Tickets)
Tuesday 10th February 2009 – Preston, 53 Degrees (See Tickets)
Wednesday 11th February 2009 – Leeds, University Union (See Tickets)
Thursday 12th February 2009 – Hull, University Union (See Tickets)
Saturday 14th February 2009 – Liverpool, Guild Of Students (See Tickets)
Sunday 15th February 2009 – Sheffield, Students Union (See Tickets)
Monday 16th February 2009 – Reading, Students Union (See Tickets)
Wednesday 18th February 2009 – Uxbridge, Brunel Students Union
Thursday 19th February 2009 – Hatfield, Hertfordshire Students Union (See Tickets)
Friday 20th February 2009 – Derby, Students Union

 
 
 

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