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SoundsXP Presents
Next show:

BAD FRIDAY!
Peluché,
Dead Coast,
Les Sueques,
Calva Louise,
Flights of Helios,
Videocean,
Dirty Blondes
+ SoundsXP DJs

The Windmill, Brixton
Good Friday, 14th April 2017
3pm till late

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Gig Review

End Of The Road is 10!
End of the Road Saturday

Article written by Ged M - Nov 25, 2015

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End of the Road is clash city this weekend, with a schedule packed with bands you want to see but can manage only part of a set. It will get even tougher on Sunday but, for today, it’s a case of running around to cram in the music, with hardly a refreshment break. We start with shouty Stockholm punk girls Delores Haze, full of riot grrl guitar vim and noisy teen pop. Too much for first thing, we conclude, and head for the Garden Stage and the magnificent Hooton Tennis Club. They’re fast, furious, restless, reckless, lo-fi pop-punks from Liverpool, channelling Pavement and Parquet Courts, serving the perfect noontime call to arms.

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The Drink
It’s back inside for The Drink in the Big Top. You can always spot influences but not so with Dearbhla Minogue. She's beholden to no-one in her African accented guitar skills and powerfully short songs which pay no attention to convention. She’s a guitar hero; admittedly not the usual bedraggled male sort on which this title is usually bestowed but one in the rebel riot grrl tradition. She was a star at our Bad Friday BBQ at the Windmill and she’s similarly jaw-droppingly brilliant today.

H Hawkline is a card. A Welshman with a neat line in bible-black humour, he has an off-kilter perspective that’s reflected in his songs – melodic, off-kilter and producing a mild psychedelic buzz. Good to see Stephen Black (Sweet Baboo) on guitar (and on bass later in the evening for Drinks); if you totalled up all the various appearances he’s made over the years for various Welsh artists, he’d probably holds the EOTR performance record.
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H Hawkline
We then slip into the Big Top to see Peter Matthew Bauer, usually of the Walkman but this afternoon playing with pretty much a pick-up band. He's clearly marshalled them well for his Springsteen-like rock anthems.

We duck out at some point and head over to see Slow Club. Is this really the shy couple we saw at EOTR all those years ago (or the rockier version we observed at one-off sister festival No Direction Home)? They’re much more confident now, shifting direction towards soul and r’n’b. Both are great singers, but when Rebecca sings a solo number…wow! Even though her guitar is so out of tune it forces her to re-start (as a guitarist, she’s a great drummer), her badinage is so funny it really doesn’t matter.
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Slow Club
They’re superb but we know time is against us today so we head back the Big Top for DuBlonde. Big mistake. Beth Jeans Houghton was great before with her Hooves of Destiny but DuBlonde are the nadir of the festival, possibly of all musical experience. They sound like a manufactured LA poodle rock band, dress like extras from some Guns’n’Roses biopic and their cover of Pixies’ ‘Where Is My Mind’ is laughably pompous. The tent, though, is inexplicably crammed for their set so what do I know?

We escape and are able to enjoy the other attractions of the festival (there’s books, film, comedy and some healing gardens, lest we forget), but I head to hear Gabrielle Drake and Cally Callomon speak about their book on Gabrielle’s brother Nick. It’s a wonderful celebration of his life, his sister dispelling myths and she and Cally explaining how they put the book together in its compelling, non-linear way. A couple of sweet-voiced musicians sing some of Nick’s songs, including one translated into Spanish that illustrates the universality of his appeal. Though he died 40 years ago, he’s still alive though the music and the memory of his life, which Gabrielle so brilliantly curates.

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Drinks
Back to the music, then, and we restart with Girlpool, a riot grrl inspired LA duo who sing “humorous” (it’s a matter of taste) lo-fi, observational songs in a twee manner. It’s a bit too thin and raw for us, with too much Californian self-indulgence, so we head over to see Drinks. This is Tim Presley and Cate le Bon’s side project but self-indulgence seems to be the theme of this evening as they noodle away on various half-formed tunes and call it psychedelia. It’s painfully shallow and they should go back to their main projects pronto.

Next it’s Ex-Hex, a supergroup of sorts, who play pretty classic rock with punky abandon, sounding like a mix of Ramones and the Go-Gos. Then we’re able to combine a food run with a few songs from Kiran Leonard, a supernaturally talented teenager who combines jazz, prog and math-rock in his fiendishly complicated songs.

The girl in the wheelchair who is propelled by her mates to front and centre of the crowd before
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Fat White Family
Fat White Family must be relieved that the security guys notice her and move her to the side of the stage as the Big Top erupts with an energy that I haven’t seen since the Libertines in their heyday, as soon as the band start playing. With their sleazy riffs and a feral frontman who Iggy-struts around the stage, this is a band whose records can’t replicate their live menace. A bit like Happy Mondays, the Family are constantly on the verge of chaotic dissolution but the songs have just enough structure to keep the groove together. The crowd remind me of those early Libertines gigs too, like some cult followers who show their devotion in frantic moshing and crowd surfing.

This is the first UK festival for Sufjan Stevens, who attracts a massive crowd. His set includes moments of sadness and euphoria; he focuses on the Carrie And Lowell album but includes other back catalogue material like ‘Sister’ and ‘The Dress Looks Nice On You’. The mood of loss and hurt that permeates Carrie so beautifully (the fruit of hard-won wisdom) was actually never more finely expressed than on ‘Casimir Pulaski Day' from the Illinois album. It’s not doom and gloom though; Sufjan opens up to the crowd, claiming divine inspiration and even dances later on. He incorporates the Star Wars Theme into ‘Come On! Feel The Illinoise’, and plays an ecstatic 'Chicago', before finishing with ‘Blue Bucket Of Gold’, a 15 minute ambient buzz that seems to have been composed to be heard under the star-bright Dorset sky.

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Sufjan Stevens
We end the evening at Sleaford Mods. With the crowd buzzing on a long day’s beer and worse, the front half of the Big Top feels like a football crowd. There’s banter aplenty, Jason Williamson issuing a string of observations/ warnings/ insults to the chanters that is as funny as it is bodily functions-fixated. The Mods are more satisfying live than on record because it’s so obvious this is an act. Jason’s mock outrage at the thought of his daughter with “piss on her face”, his OCD arm movements, the way that Andrew presses enter and then bops along to the backing track with an inane grin and a can of warm lager, all are part of that entertainment. While the songs are fuelled by a righteous anger, especially those from Key Markets, it’s almost a singalong at times with the likes of ‘Tiswas’ and ‘Jolly Fucker’ pleasing the crowd. They elicit cheers for the anti-politics of ‘Face To Faces’ although the song contains much that is thoughful and profound, not that the beery scum at the front would notice!

Links:
http://endoftheroadfestival.com/
https://twitter.com/eotr
https://www.facebook.com/EOTRFestival

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