Friday’s music began at half six for us. But like I said, festivals aren’t just about running to see band after band. There was plenty hanging about, talking, eating, drinking and even shopping in Leicester to be done before heading to the main stage.
Richard Hawley’s set feels way too short. It feels like he’s just begun when he’s telling us that he’s going to get pulled off soon. He isn’t immediately pulled off, and he and his band get the maximum time out of set closer Run to You by adding an extended rock-out ending. Anyone who knows this blog will know of my love for the former Pulp man’s music, so of course he was good. But a short, early outdoor set was never going to match up to the heights of his Shepherd’s Bush Empire show earlier in the year. I wonder if the early set was the reason for him forgoing his normal dapper attire, but I’m not really digging the stonewashed denim look, Rich. Still, this was potentially a good introduction to the uninitiated of the man’s fine music.
Download: Richard Hawley - Something Is
A Hawk and a Hacksaw were an interesting proposition. Musically not a million miles away from bloggers’ favourites Beirut, the Hawk… is a combination of Heather Trost on violin and ex-Neutral Milk Hotel man Jeremy Barnes on everything else. There’s a local connection here, as apparently he recorded half his latest album in Leicester (and worked in the Post Office, he tells us). It’s quite amusing how he may be single-handedly making the one man band cool again. It’s every bit as good to watch him playing the cymbals with his jingling bell hat, and playing drums with his feet as it is to listen to the actually quite lovely mournful eastern European funeral waltzes of the music. One to watch out for.
DJ Format had no Abdominal with him, and seemingly no hip-hip records in his bag either (at least from what I heard), instead treating us to a set of funk tunes. It was eminently danceable though. I used to dance a lot, but only danced intermittently these days, so it was a pleasure to bust some moves.
My bad dancing continued over at the barely-lit Rising Stage, as I eschewed the indie MOR of Elbow in favour of the hypnotic old school techno of Plaid. It seems like years since I danced to this kind of music, and although I’ve never really checked out Plaid properly, I know they’re legends in their sphere and they fairly rocked the tent with their laptops. Great stuff.
Download: Plaid - Zeal
Mrs Growl came back from the main stage, confirming that my decision to stay away was the right one, and we both hung around in the Rising Stage tent to see Psapp. I had absolutely no preconceptions of what they’d be like – I probably expected something a bit more electronic like Plaid, but instead I got a joyful, playful gang of people using toy instruments, hitting odd bits of percussion and throwing hand-made cats into the audience. But they had some fine tunes too, coming on a bit like a funkier Stereolab with a leftfield sense of humour and a love of cats. The set was late in starting due to their keyboard player being stuck in Verona, so we got just over half an hour before they were pulled off. That just whetted my appetite for more. Probably my ‘new musical discovery’ of the weekend.
Download: Psapp - Eating Spiders