Post War Years steal the show while Gruff and co keep the cosmic trigger happy as the lights are turned off on the inaugural Dubai Sound City.
Festivals by their very nature are problematic. There’s too much to see, too little time and too many logistical nightmares.
Having wanted to venture down the floating stage (a floating stage in a shopping mall – you don’t get that at V Fest) and catch our boys Wave Machines literally make waves, instead we’re back in my hotel recharging batteries. Rock & roll.
Further frustration unfolded when Dan Black escaped my attention – someone who was unanimously given a double thumbs-up. All body-popping, electro savy, if his record’s anything to go by, I’m gutted to have missed him.
We did however hear three Muslim prayer sessions.
Consolation arrived in the shape of Post War Years – who themselves suffer from an early start resulting in little but a handful of onlookers, Wave Machines and two of Ezra Bang‘s Hot Machine who lap up their knee-jerk, rapid-fire electro.
It’s hardly exaggerating the point that their sound is more soulful than the Beta Band‘s late spacehop period and more cohesive than Hot Chip‘s latest efforts, as they rattle through debut record The Greats and The Happenings barely pausing to catch their breath.
Den, with it’s syncopated scattershot beats and fizzing keys plumes into the heavy Dubai air, while Whole World On Its Head is primal thumping pop
lasciviously imploring you to sing along. We do. All 14 of us.
With more funk than George Clinton and a tightness last seen round Caleb Followill‘s inside leg, their set whirls with joy, frenzied and ecstatic.
Conversely, it imbues me with a tinge of sadness that little of the business heads and earnest punters that arrive in their droves come teatime aren’t hear to capture the real essence of the Sound City spirit.
C’est la vie – Post War Years most probably the finest sounds Dubai never got to hear.
Post War Years: Whole World On Its Head
The big question of the day – are Alphabeat really that bad? – is answered within two shakes of a donkey’s dick when they walk on, make something remotely resembling the sound a cat makes when getting run over by a scooter reversing down a driveway only for the driver to realise his error and then have to reverse once more to put the writhing furry mess out of it’s misery.
Next time you run over a cat, whether it be on a scooter or any other mode of transport, think ‘damn, why couldn’t that have been Alphabeat?‘
Super Furry action.
The last time we saw Gruff Rhys he was sitting in a deckchair, newspapers one side and Har Mar Superstar‘s arse crack the other, ‘performing’ Neon Neon‘s incredible Stainless Steel.
He’s the very epitome of effortless. Tonight, armed with his own ‘Applause’ billboards he’s clearly enjoying this most odd of occasions.
Not only are they being warmly received in a land very far away from Cardiff, but they’re also headlining after Ian McCulloch forced the Bunnymen to pull out after throwing a Mariah Carey in the departure lounge.
It’s a shame as there’s many disappointed faces – not least on the team of Liverpool-based organisers who’ve pulled out all the stops only to see one of their own seemingly do the dirty. But the Super Furries more than make up for Mac’s brat antics.
Positively eeeeeasing through their back catalogue, highlights arrive in the beautific If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You, Do Or Die is maybe the thrashiest track of the week and Juxtapozed With U makes the locals check themselves before breaking out into light petting.
Cloaked in a deep blue light, the sun goes down on Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy and indeed the inaugural Dubai Sound City – a fitting finale for this most fantastical of festivals.
* Pictures Mark McNulty.