Friday, August 24, 2007

Rising Tent Pole

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

Summer Sundae Weekender, DeMontfort Hall and Gardens, Leicester, Friday August 10th 2007.

Mebbe your cine-literate correspondent has seen Mulholland Dr. too many times but the night afore Summer Sundae Weekender starts, have a dream in which Mancunian punk-poet John Cooper-Clarke advises that if we see him over the weekend once we'll know we've done good, but if we see him twice we'll know we've done very very bad. Things continue in an ominous vein next day with a freight train derailment between Birmingham and Leicester cancelling all trains in that direction, the replacement coach passes a caravan that has just exploded into fire, and the driver and guard for the connecting train at Nuneaton get held up in the resulting jam.

So arrive in Leicester approximately 90 minutes behind schedule, but still with enough time for a quick shower at the hotel before heading on to the site, where we catch the tail end of some plinkety-plonkety synth-pop from Palladium another band seemingly convinced that what the world needs now is another Kajagoogoo, or in their better moments, another Flock Of Seagulls. Thankfully, some real proper chart pop stuff is about to start off on the main stage in the form of Kate Nash. With Kate's album due to top the album charts later this weekend, there's a backlash brewing for the bespoke boho brunette for sure, but it's one your balanced blogger won't be joining, because we still think she's lovely. Claims that she's just a Lily Allen knock-off are lazy and misguided, although 'Mariella' does sound like the Regina Spektor schtick given an EC1 lick of dayglo paint. It's a good show, not a great one (in the same way her album's entertaining but not fabulous) equal parts sweary and playful, and each generation deserves a break-up(?) song delivered to them in their own language and this year that's 'Foundations' and we don't begrudge her those fifteen minutes of dodging the paps.

A new innovation this year on site is a 'Hub Stage' next to the 6Music caravan, and we're treated to a couple of poems from John Cooper-Clarke and a brief but amusing interview between him and Steve Lamacq, where they stick to a 'script' to eliminate the swearing risk, and JCC advises with mock-weariness that he's been 'supporting The Fall all my life'. Your post-Britop pen-pusher always had a bit of a soft spot for The Beta Band but is afraid to report that spin-off satellite band The Aliens are nothing out of this world, so drift back to the 6Music caravan where your garrulous guide distracts Simon from getting an autograph from Kate Nash with the usual blogging blether.

Simon suggests a trip up to the Musician Stage to see the full John Cooper-Clarke set, and caught up in blogging bonhomie follow him in to the packed tent for an entertaining half-hour of the same jokes he always tells, interspersed with a few poems here and there. Take a call on the Parallax Phone towards the end of the set, so regrettably have to leave the marquee and so miss his Beasley Street remix. Fortunately, however, it does get me down to the Main Stage in time to see The Concretes your hopeful hack's first experience of seeing them in the flesh since Victoria Bergsman's exit. Erstwhile drummer Lisa Millberg has taken up the lead vocal reins, her singing is a dusky, drowsy, acquired taste (she'd have made a great foil for Serge Gainsbourg) but she makes an effort with bright red knee-length stockings and copious flirting with guitarist Maria Eriksson, despite a mixed response from a crowd seemingly expecting a 'best of' set rather than a platform for promoting new record 'Hey Trouble'. Lisa wants us all to move on from the Bergsman period, and that may well prove a struggle but if they continue writing songs of the calibre of 'Oh Boy' and 'Keep Yours' it may yet prove a worthwhile campaign, with 'Hey Trouble' for our money their most consistently rewarding record to date.

Shoot quickly off to the Indoor Stage to see Candie Payne who kindly plays all our favourites from debut platter 'I Wish I could Have Loved You More' (including the rather swish title track) during the first half of her set, allowing the opportunity to hotfoot it to the Rising stage to catch the last few songs from The Modified Toy Orchestra still bedecked in the same Primark suits as Supersonic, and with plentiful supply of banter, Toy Orchestra conductor Brian Duffy inviting one member of the audience to an anal sex experience after the show to show him/her how forbidden it wasn't. Bump into The Prykemeister after the performance, and a minute later get a call from Ray and Deb to say they've finally made it on site. Beers and banter ensue, with our last musical memories of the night involving Dead Kenny doing a spot of pole dancing - no, not what you're thinking, just your clumsy correspondent doing his best to co-ordinate shifting one foot to the other during a surprisingly funky latenight set from German experimentalists Pole in The Rising Stage.

To be continued...

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Blogger Simon said...

Can I just make clear that I wasn't waiting for Nash's autograph, merely observing those who were (and wondering what the purpose of that picture frame next to the 6 Music area was)?

3:33 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Hehe, methinks thou dost protest too much, Simon! Was only teasing really, but perhaps we should have asked her for a photo with us in the aforementioned gate -

Bloggers And Nash, anyone?

4:45 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

To be honest, In Colour didn't really do it for me, and the debut is a bit patchy apart from the two genius singles - not sure I'll bother with Hey Trouble.

I'd like to say something erudite about Kate Nash, but let's just settle on the fact that she's fucking rubbish.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Dead Kenny said...

Ben, why the Kate Hate?

let's just settle on the fact that she's fucking rubbish.

Those are harsh sediments, for sure. But if Nash is indeed fucking rubbish, she can have our bin lids anyday. I should probably also mix in some Concretes analogies here, but I'm a little bit stuck for set patter.

10:20 PM  

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