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Gig Review

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

Article written by Ged M - Nov 30, 2015

This is literally the day of sun, the first really good weather of the weekend, and there’s a packed bill to get through, with even more clashes to be negotiated than Saturday. We take the opportunity to visit Rockbourne Roman villa (has that view changed much in 1800 years?) en route to Larmer Tree Gardens, where we’re in time for Houndstooth. They’re Middle American but not formulaic Americana, just a cool, energetic rock band playing a breezy wake-up call for us all. Following them we see The Black Tambourines, a young Cornish punk band inspired by the Ramones. They’re fun, enthusiastic but unmemorable so we move on.

Kevin Morby
We’ve seen Kevin Morby before as a member of Woods but this is the first time solo. He appears nervous but gets better once he starts to let go. The Dylan force (and a little Lou Reed)is strong in this one but his rootsy tunes are memorable, especially ‘Harlem River’ and ‘The Dead They Don’t Come Back’. He's impressive but the programme compels us to leave (very reluctantly) in order to catch Hinds, who are simply brilliant. They explain their journey here after a gig in Dublin last night with a defiant “fuck Ryanair!” (getting one of the biggest cheers of the day) before wowing us with their bubblegum punk pop and display of syncopated dancing from everyone but the drummer. They owned the festival after that.

Ultimate Painting
Ultimate Painting provided the perfect Sunday afternoon soundtrack, melding the Velvet Underground’s urban energy with a more laidback 60s West Coast feel. The simple rhythms nudge you into a state of woozy bliss but the blistering anti-austerity blues tale ‘(I’ve Got The) Sanctioned Blues’ is the real standout. Such is the embarrassment of riches that once out of the tent, we’re drawn towards the Delines on the Garden Stage. This band contains possibly the nicest guy in showbusiness, Willy Vlautin (damn fine prose writer too) but collectively they’re a little tame, even though they mix country, southern soul and r’n’b, and Amy Boone has a fine set of pipes. We look in on Happyness and just as quickly look out again because they look alternative but make a sort of Ed Sheeran pop, just a few notches louder. I’d rename them “Misery”…

We manage to catch a few songs by Dawes but it's depressing Californian 70s cocaine-rock and they’re everything bad that the words “LA band” conjure up. We’ve obviously hit the low point of any festival, which is always on a Sunday and clearly it’s sometime between 15:45 and 16:45. Thankfully, we’re back on track with Sonny & The Sunsets, a San Francisco 3-piece from the same scene as Kelly Stoltz and Thee Oh Sees, who play fast, loud and buzzing psychedelic rock. They sound great and have some great banter but, alas, we can’t stay for a full set as Alvvays are calling. These are young Canadians making bouncy bubblegum pop tunes to a crowded field in front of the Woods stage. It's fun and warming indiepop but ‘Marry Me, Archie’ is their crowning glory, the anthemic chorus inviting and receiving the participation of the whole audience.

We go along to hear Giant³ Sand but we hear much more of Howe Gelb’s chat and very little of the Arizona/ Danish band themselves. That’s a disappointment, as what we do hear is as strange and listenable as you’d expect any band from those disparate locations, backing the curious desert-warped compositions of Mr Gelb, to be. There’s no disappointment with
Wand, though, who are play loud and heavy psych and math-rock with some challenging time signatures and have a particularly impressive free-jazz drummer. There’s some sweet psych-pop to lighten the load but the volume doesn’t decrease and our ears give thanks for our earplugs.

As his almost casual yet brilliant cover of Steely Dan’s ‘Reeling In The Years’ shows, Mac De Marco is clearly a talented guy but he disguises it behind a lot of japery and dope jokes, with a lit cigarette almost constantly stuck to the end of his guitar (when it’s not stuck to his lower lip). He also spends a lot of time making technically perfect but soulless AOR radio pop. Brakes restore our spirits, a band that we’ve seen many times before at EOTR and who are sharing EOTR’s birthday celebration (it’s the 10th anniversary of Give Blood and also the 10th anniversary of members of Brakes appearing here with BSP and ESP). The crowd are in a state of elation throughout the set, featuring the whole of Give Blood and a lot more. ‘All Night Disco Party’ is a crowd pleaser, ‘Cheney’ will never lose its 7 seconds of brilliance, and 'Porcupine or Pineapple' at the end just makes everyone go insane!

Mac De Marco
War On Drugs are a disappointment by comparison, though what we see of the set makes up a little for the amazing sense of ennui brought on by Lost In The Dream. There are enough krautrocking moments and highlights from the first two albums to make seeing WOD worthwhile – though I still have a little sympathy with grumpy ol’ Mark Kozelek’s position on the band, and there’s way too much soloing. And any band whose frontman requires a new guitar for seemingly every song is wandering close to the lands of muso, which are but a day’s ride from the forbidden forest of progressive rock.

So that was EOTR 10 – still a manageable size but with a diverse bill that managed to keep us enraptured and out of the beer tent for 97% of our time. They’ve managed to maintain the spirit of 2006 and, if they can combine the small-scale feel and the absence of sponsorship with some cleverly programmed bills, there’ll be a place for them for another decade at least. Happy birthday!


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Foxtails Brigade "Far Away and Long Ago"
North By North "Pistoletta"
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Theatre Royal "The Days Grow Hotter"
Oliver Gottwald "Freunde fürs Leben"
Heart/Dancer "Outro"
Clowwns "Idiot Bouncing"
Double Denim "Wide Open"
Flout "Rainchecks"
The Scenes "City Of White Blankets"


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