Halfway through the last month in these ears.
Footnotes from the summer:
i) Surely everywhere has provincial festivals. Round our way we have lots. Festivals are so ubiquitous these days, that there’s not just uber-massive commercial ones, boutique novelty fests (ala Secret Garden Party or Wakestock) but now even the village karaoke king is putting on festivals in his back garden.
In this part of the world there’s Wigan’s Haigh Hall, the imaginatively-named Skemfest and Ormfest (if you’d not guessed in Skelmersdale and Ormskirk respectively) and the now in it’s fifth year, Bickerstock – in Bickerstaffe. I shit thee, not. Look it even has its own website.
All of which are unspectacularly brilliant and utter dogturd in equal measure. With the sun attempting to get its arse in gear we ventured down to the latter this year which was an enlightening experience:
A Saturday afternoon wrestler played what looked like a lute with his 15-year-old daughter whimpering a collection of Irish jigs. A Martin Skrtel lookalike entertained with Floyd-meets-Ronnie Size prog-breakbeats before outstaying his welcome. And best of all a band of Dickensian undertakers ‘steal’ the day with a Fairground Attraction cover.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to be cynical about this type of affair – and the music really was appalling – but these provincial gatherings are definitely a good thing.
Although, some people really did get into it that little bit too much by camping over. In the rain.
ii) One of the few highs on the stage this summer was the chance to catch up with the boys from Voo. Fresh from a brief jaunt in Germany, they’ve added a fourth recruit in the shape of ex-28 Costumes guitarist Chris McIntosh. And judging by their recent Korova show this means more emphasis on harmonies and slightly heftier muscle in the sound department – kinda like moving up from super flyweight to junior featherweight. So hardly Lightning Bolt.
New material What Will Happen & When and On and On and On confirmed they’ve still got the knack of shitting out four minute instantaneous pop firecrackers, however, they really should learn that all sets should close with Schnick, Schnack, Schuck – their instrumental equivalent to a warhammer – as following it is an exercise in daft futility. Meanwhile, I confirmed my fanboy status by snaffling up a band t-shirt which I ruined the next day by spilling strawberry juice all the way down its front. Rock and roll.
iii) Here’s some ladies we caught singing at Korova:
Barbieshop: Teenage Kicks
Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca – An Album of the Week for August
It wasn’t until this year’s Dark Was The Night compilation that I got Dirty Ps.
Previous attempts left me scrabbling in the dark – was this a bunch of musos searching and failing for the lost chord or a bunch of musos deliberately fucking with you like a stage school jazz monkey? Either way, they made next to no sense, and I was pretty sure that was their intention.
But, as is proving evident of late, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Bitte Orca is a revelation; snaking melodies unravel from Dave Longstreth‘s songbook and bound by Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian‘s alternating vocal tapestry there’s simply no end of joys to feast on.
Take Temecula Sunrise, all weaving acoustic finger-picking clambering like vines around Longstreth’s indecipherable fragile coo before guitar, drums, the two ladies and Lordy knows what else thrashes to the fore. It shocks the senses and is akin to being stood on the pavement while an orchestra of instruments are thrown from the skies. Obliterating and shattering all around while you’re stuck in the centre feeling positively alive with your senses.
Useful Chamber follows suit with drumpad clicks as Coffman and Deradoorian lend harmonies as ambient washes when two minutes in we’re in a headspin as Brian Mcomber thrashes his kit and the girls perform a woozy lungful of aaahs and oooohs amid Longstreth’s six-string acrobatics.
If you’ve yet to try a slice of Dirty P pie this is certainly the place to start. Or, if like me, you were previously at a loss, I can’t recommend enough you return, and be prepared to be beaten into submission.
For fans of: Jimmy Page, kimonos, dangling your feet in water from river banks.
Dirty Projectors: Stillness Is The Move