Friday, August 24, 2007

Maps Prove Useful

Part Two of a Set of Three reviews from the Summer Sundae Weekender 2007.

Summer Sundae Weekender, DeMontfort Halls And Gardens, Leicester, Saturday August 11 2007.

Meander back onto the site about lunchtime feeling a little dehydrated after the previous night's alcohol consumption, so crack open a thirst-quenching but credibility-crushing can of Tango in the belief that there's no-one around to see and tell. On turning around, however, immediately bump into Simon who talks intelligently about music while your hoarse hack tries to avert his gaze from my childish choice of soft drink.

Manage to chug it all down before Ray and Deb arrive on site, and we stroll off to see The Falling Leaves on the Indoor Stage, who have their moments, and recall The Kissaway Trial here and there, but in general are as familiar and slightly depressing as the season of autumn itself. Some sunshine is in order then (have we mentioned yet this is the best festival weather of the year so far?) to catch the first few songs of teenage prodigies Kitty Daisy and Lewis who play with (and indeed, in the style of) their parents. It's pastiche, but done with style and gusto, and in the light of Amy Winehouse's success, you can't argue there's not a market for this sort of thing. Even so, your wandering writer slopes off to see whether The Lea Shores have finally started their slot over on The Rising stage. They hadn't (a last-minute switch to the Indoor Stage on Sunday, we later learn) so console ourselves with the warblings of Jeremy Warmsley a personable young man in search of that singularly defining tune, whose new material betrays a vaguely alarming ambition to be the British Rufus Wainwright. Jez, leave it.

Grab some food at this point and bump into The Prykemeister, but can't hear a lot of what he's saying because Jazz Jamaica are proving to be the loudest band on the main stage we can ever remember. Turn it down, grandads, or the overflying pigeons will be history! Peek back into the Indoor Stage to see recently-reformed indie veterans Cud try manfully to cope with the absence of their lead singer on premature parental leave by seeking volunteers from the crowd to take turns to sing ditties like 'Rich and Strange'. Simon Cowell, if he was here, would no doubt call it a shambles, and maybe it is, but it's an entertaining one nonetheless which seems to help bond the watching crowd.

Enjoy a quick pint with Ray and Deb before wandering down near the front of the Main Stage where former Arab Strap-ling Malcolm Middleton has just started his set. At our first Summer Sundae two years ago, Malcolm was one of the big hits on the Indoor Stage and, with the usual sizeable Scottish contingent present, it's a deserved elevation to the Main Stage to help promote his third (rather good) album 'A Brighter Beat'. Middleton breaks off at one point to say 'I didn't realise I swore so much...fuckin 'ell!' before eventually revealing the title of the next track, the rather-sweet-actually 'Fuck It I Love You'. Post-rock tinged celtic folk never sounded so good!

Back up to the Rising Stage to catch latest Mancunian hopefuls The Whip here to represent the Nu Rave movement for Summer Sundae. Not entirely sure about Nu Rave over at Parallax View although the Klaxons cover of 'It's Not Over' may be the thing that tips us over the edge into its favour in a kind of indie kerplunk fashion. Early doors The Whip seem a bit drippy but a steady swirl of sauce soon permeates proceedings and by the tremendous last number it's the moment the Summer Sundae turned DayGlo. Later find out they've been tipped as the new New Order, if had been aware of this before seeing them would have been disappointed, but taken on their own terms they're one of the revelations of the weekend. Indeed, the drummer seems so pleased with the crowd response she apparently flashes the bassist in celebration - it's good to see a rhythm section getting on so well.

The two big choices of the night were Maps vs Wild Beasts and Sophie Ellis Bextor vs Low. Dead Kenny opts for the co-ordinated ones and (sorry, No.1 Low fan Ben) S-E-B. Had heard reports that Maps were struggling to recreate the excellent debut We Can Create in the live arena, but on the contrary this was one of the highlights of the weekend for PV, genuinely mesmerising stuff with Eloise and It Will Find You the most vivid highlights. Sophie Ellis-Bextor divides the crowd in terms of how much is pre-recorded or not, but nobody could deny her entertainment value, alternating between chic and gauche with amusing regularity, and she can still twitch her tush to devastating effect. Enough anyway, to district your starstruck scribe from the sight of Kitty and Daisy of Kitty, Daisy and Lewis sat directly to our right.

Watch the first few numbers from The Magic Numbers but once they've performed 'Forever Lost' we make a move towards the Indoor Stage to see !!!, meeting the gaze of Kitty and Daisy again as they sit on the steps looking on (later discover they join The Magic Numbers for some of their encores). !!! have the cocky fucker from OutHud (remember them?) as their lead singer and he's in typically extrovert form during a frenetic show during which many people seem to be enjoying themselves immensely, even if we're not sure how many of 'em will remember much about it in the morning.

Try to meet up again with Ray and Deb in the Cocktail Bar, where your
confused correspondent thinks he spies the DJ Trevor Nelson. The doppelganger mistakes my perusal for some other enquiry and sidles over to me and says 'everyone seems to be having a good time, brother, whaddaya reckon?'. Not sure whether he thought your harmless hack was after a fight, a fuck or a score, but time for an f. sharp exit, a timeous text message leading the way to a rendezvous at the indie disco in The Charlotte. A couple of hours of twisting and shouting to the latest indie faves later, your duracell dunderhead still hasn't had enough and heads for the hotel bar for a double whisky and to check the football highlights.

My dazed reverie is however interrupted by a familiar cackle. Who should be lounging in the hotel with friends but the esteemed Mancunian punk-poet John Cooper-Clarke! If seeing him once meant we'd done good, and seeing him twice meant we'd done very very bad, what does seeing him three times mean? On that inscrutable enigma, retire to bed.

to be continued...

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Blogger Ben said...

You seriously chose Ol' Hamster Face over Low? Sorry Ken - that was our friendship biting the dust...

!!! were brilliant at Glasto - definitely one of my highlights, and one of the few acts I was genuinely disappointed to be missing at Summer Sundae (though Maps sound good too).

11:19 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Well, y'know, I'll probably never get the chance to see S-E-B again whereas the likelihood is before too long you or someone else'll be dragging me to see Low again, who I have seen twice in recent years also.

Prykemeister was stood next to me during Sophie's show so I trust you'll be curtailing your companionship with him as well - it would only be fair!

10:13 PM  

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