Sunday, August 19, 2007

if i could settle down, then i would settle down

indietracks festival 28th and 29th July 2007 Midland Railway, Butterley.

Admittance code printed. Google Maps printed and numbered 1 to 4. Travelodge reservation printed. Camera and camcorder batteries fully charged. Clothes all packed. Time to go.

It seems so long since I was in Derby, once upon a time when we we young and foolish and thought pop music could change the world and Marc lived in Normanton we would head over to Jyoti's Satya studios all the time, well it seemed like every other month, but I know it wasn't . The streets of Derby have changed so much since my last visit, next time I come I will be investing in either a Tom Tom or Garmin Navigator, it's got to save me a fortune in wasted petrol and hopefully stop me driving the wrong way up and down one way streets. Google maps are not ideal when your driving on your own , it's far too dodgy trying to read directions aswell as keeping an eye on the road.

I finally found my way to Butterley Railway station. It's really nice and quaint, my Uncle Brian would love it, he's really into his trains these days. It's very 50's with a Railway Children vibe about it. I got my ticket for unlimited steam train travel for the weekend. I decided to leave my car and go for my first ride up to Swanick Junction where all the action was taking place. The train ride was over far too quick, as I stepped onto the platform I could see indie kids and indie old folks all over the place. I thought I was going to be outnumbered by all the young 'uns but didn't feel out of place at all.

I went to the big engine shed to get my red wristband ,free indie tracks badge and buy a copy of the festival guide. I managed to catch the last couple of songs from the first band of the day the Loves, then my tummy started rumbling so it was over to Johnson's Buffet for a cup of tea and a ham bun. Then it was time to leg it back over to the shed for The Hermit Crabs, who Jimmy Matinee has been known to rave about. After their I walked out and bumped into Jyoti, who was taking care of Cats On Fire for the day. When they took the stage they looked like pop stars in the making, especially Mattias the front man with a ton of style and attitude. You can just tell he knows he's probably in the best band of the festival, just the way it should be. Their guitar infused music was incredibly exciting and thrilling and a total pop experience that reminded so much of the first time I saw The Love Parade at the Broken Doll , they put a great big smile on my face, I just wish I could grow my hair like Mattias , oh how I long to have a quiff again!

Seeing Rose McDowall live was one of the big reasons for me coming down to the festival, I loved Since Yesterday so much. I can remember it being played on Radio One for months before it was a hit . They did a live session on Richard Skinners Saturday afternoon show probably around that time , they played a beautiful song called Sunday Morning and that was I think my first introduction to the Velvet Underground. I wasn't really expecting any Strawberry Switchblade songs but I was crossing my fingers, hoping that just maybe. Rose played her set in the Church and I loved it, not only did she do Since Yesterday and Trees and Flowers but Sunday Morning and a beautiful version of April Skies to finish with. I managed to camcord some of the songs with my new camcorder, but I really should have had more practice with it before the festival, it might make you feel sick when you watch it. I'll put it up on YouTube as soon as I get chance, at least you'll be able to hear the songs.

I never saw the Orchids in their Sarah heyday so I wasn't going to miss this one. It was a treat to hear some of my favourite ever songs played live for the first time. Everyone knows the songs so well but hearing them live they seemed even more uplifting.. I've never seen a bass player so high on playing , he looked like he was having the most fun out of any of the bands I'd seen all day. A George Clooney look-alike commented to me the next day that he reminded him of Mani's dad!

I didn't stick around for the How does it Feel disco, thought I'd better find my Travelodge in Mansfield , I left it too late to get into the one at Alfreton, I won't let that happen next time. It took me about an hour to find it, according to Google maps it was only 22 mins away. Still better than camping out.

Got up on Sunday morning and headed for the festival, first band on were A Smile and a Ribbon who I didn't want to miss as one of there members is Chris/Kris the author of the excellent And The Rain Fell Down blog, which like one of my other favourite web sites Tangents has ceased to exist. They didn't disappoint either, a fine blend of all the best girl bands going as far back as the fifties, certainly not Fat Tulip/Talullah Gosh copyists as I had been lead to believe. They looked the part aswell, not sure which one was Chris though.

Then it was over to the church for Horowitz who were probably my favourite band of the weekend. There was only three of them and a drum machine but they made the poppiest , fuzziest and catchiest perfect pop tunes. One of them is apparently a ex-Rosehip , a band who they said received their very first fan mail from my friend Michael Robson , each member sent him a separate reply, so he told me the other night. Jyoti remarked that there was something a bit Bulldozer Crash about Horowitz, I had to agree and maybe thats why I liked them. The singer also a reminded me of Pete Shelley when he was rolling his eyes up to the sky. I bought the bands LP and their Tracyanne single and if you are after some exciting pop blasts I suggest you do the same. Every now and again I toy with the idea of starting a record label , if I was to start it next week instead of fitting a new kitchen I would ask Horowitz if they fancied being on it.

Another band who I would want on the label would be Countryside who may have been the youngest band at the festival. The noise they made was gorgeously warped yet splendid. I've no idea what FX pedals they were using but the sound that was being coaxed out of their guitars and synths was dreamy.

The last band I saw was Wake The President who were much better than the "new Belle and Sebastian" label some have tagged them with. They've got there own sound and style, I loved all the songs I heard so I was gutted that I'd only managed to squeeze into the packed church halfway through. The finale was their cover of Psycho Killer, where they managed to get the whole audience up on there feet.

I buggered off after them, I was shattered, shame I missed Darren Hayman as I have since grew to love his Caravan Song. It was a great weekend and I really enjoyed my first festival. If I'd known they were as good as this I wouldn't have waited until I was 40. As I was checking out of my hotel in Mansfield on Monday morning I passed two of the guys from The Electric Pop Group , I was going to say something but didn't.