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In terms of summer music festivals, Cambridge was previously best known as the locale for the Cambridge Folk Festival. Not anymore, it shouldn’t. It’s very odd but this was the first time we’ve been contacted about Lodestar Festival, taking place just 15 minutes outside Cambridge city centre. This year’s event takes place 30 August to 1 September, and in its family friendly programming, it could very well be the South’s answer to Deer Shed Festival (Well, I’ll have to consult Martin about this, obviously…) We’ll also be running a competition related to the event in the coming weeks here on TGTF so…
But for now, let’s concentrate on what we do best, the music, shall we? The headliners for this year’s Lodestar are brilliant: Friday will see rising South Devon singer/songwriter Ryan Keen, Saturday’s festivities will star our good friends The Joy Formidable, with Ritzy Bryan holding court as shown in the header pic and Canada’s Dragonette will close out the festival by getting bodies bumping with their brand of dance funk.
However, just watching music is not just the only focus of Lodestar. Fancy bringing out your inner Gloria Estefan? The Pan-Jam workshop will allow you to try out steel drums, the instrument that brings calypso and reggae music their distinctive sound; other workshops are yet to be announced. Did our Oxford mates Stornoway ever make you curious about the sport of zorbing? You can do that at Lodestar, along with archery and power kiting. Comedy and dance troupe performances are also scheduled.
Adult mid-bird tickets are still available for £64 for all 3 days, with only £5 extra for your tent or caravan. Comparable mid-bird tickets for 15 to 17s are £56 for 3 days; children 14 or younger are free. For more information on tickets, visit the official Lodestar Festival Web site.
If you missed any Glasto 2013 coverage and whether you live in the UK or not, the BBC has kindly put quite a few videos of the action online. Like this one of Miles Kane appropriately closing his set on Friday night on the John Peel stage with a blistering rendition of ‘Come Closer’. Wearing a Union Jack on his chest, no less. Watch it below.
Kane will be touring England this autumn; all the dates and details are here.
We’ve already previewed the extensive small- and big-kid friendly activities available at Deer Shed Festival 2013, but what of the music? Featuring full 2 days of music (Friday evening, Saturday all day, and Sunday afternoon), and a smattering of stages, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill enormo-fest, and is all the better for it. The entire card is quality, but here we run down some of the highlights of Deer Shed 2013’s music offering…
Friday night sees a clash-tastic triumvirate of triumphant talent. Edinburgh festival favourites Tubular Bells For Two take over the In The Dock stage all night – for those who haven’t heard, TBFT are Aussies Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts, who have taken it upon themselves to recreate Mike Oldfield’s multi-layered masterpiece Tubular Bells in its entirety, complete with a home-made set of the eponymous melodic percussion. An inspired booking, and a rare opportunity to catch TBFT in the fresh air.
Gaz Coombes proved with his diverse work with Supergrass that he’s one of the finest songwriters of his generation; his solo album ‘Here Come The Bombs’ superbly reinforced that reputation. He’s just put out a new double-A single: ‘One of These Days’ is a typically bittersweet string-enhanced 4 minutes of slow-burning goodness, marking an intriguing move into gentle electronica stylings; ‘Break the Silence’ is a more upbeat synth-led stomper with hints of Supergrass’ superb 2004 orphan release ‘Kiss Of Life’. Which all bodes well for the second album which is rumoured for imminent release.
In a fairer world, Gaz Coombes would be the highlight of the evening. But if Coombes’ star is still developing, Edwyn Collins’ is a full-on supernova. There’s no need to go over the old ground of his medical history (if you need the details, see here), suffice to say that Collins’ personal story is as remarkable as his music. His 2010 LP ‘Losing Sleep’ gathered my Writer’s Choice for a Mercury nomination that year; this year’s release ‘Understated’ continues his output of smart pop-soul, hinting obliquely at his trials, but mostly simply affirming the human condition in matchless, witty style. A true legend, revered warmly by industry and fans alike, and a great way to wrap up Friday night at Deer Shed.
Saturday afternoon is folky and soulful. Tynesiders and Craig Charles favourites Smoove and Turrell (John Turrell is the male voice of Charles’ Fantasy Funk Band) are perfectly timed to get the crowd into a groove; Zervas and Pepper soundtrack dreams of shimmering open plains and dusty roadhouses; To Kill a King purvey that keening, yearning folk-rock sound that has such broad appeal these days that will surely make them a highlight of the day for many.
Elsewhere, Spring Offensive bring their suave Oxonianisms to the In The Dock Stage. If you like atmospheric, emotive guitar music, and wish you had seen Radiohead live before they released ‘The Bends’, the Spring Offensive are not to be missed. Neither are The Phantom Band, whose sound genuinely defies classification. There’s detailed multi-movemented arrangements, pepperings of atonality, a touch of ‘Green’-era R.E.M., and even the hint of properly heavy guitars on occasion. Very difficult to describe, which means that they’re very clever indeed. Worth being acquainted with beforehand, but will reward the effort live.
Darwin Deez has a lot to live up to – the punditry casually bandy around names like Beck, Prince, and Hendrix whenever he’s mentioned. Yes, Deez displays a loose, carefree obscurantism that Beck would be familiar with, but there’s little evidence of the epic sweep of Prince, or indeed of Hendrix’s Stratocaster majesty. Perhaps his live show will answer the doubters. But most excitingly of all, Saturday night finds The House of Love on the main stage. Surely the most underrated band of the pre-Britpop era, The House of Love’s self-titled meisterwerk contains future echoes of The Stone Roses, James, and both Oasis and Blur, and without whose influence British pop music would surely have taken a different, and undoubtedly inferior, path. Despite such achievements, in comparison with their peers they remain relative unknowns, with founding member Guy Chadwick carving a second career fitting sash windows. The story of the band is no less remarkable than their music, featuring personal acrimony, heavy drug use, mental problems, countless spin-off side projects, and the inevitable ritual burning of banknotes – enough to fill a decent book, one would imagine. Will The House of Love find their final redemption in their reformation and release of new material? Will Deer Shed be where it all finally comes together? One waits with bated breath.
After the excitement of Saturday night, Sunday is wind-down day. The Unthanks bring to life the North-East’s history of heavy industry and hard living with ‘Songs From The Shipyards’, and band-of-the-moment Public Service Broadcasting (who we caught last month in Newcastle) offer a similarly historical yet rather more lighthearted take on this island’s history with their audiovisual tour-de-force. On the main stage, we have chilled-out ambience from AlascA, knowing ensemble wittiness from Moulettes, and the acoustic finale belongs to the avuncular King Creosote, who has a challenge on his hands to match the vertical, punch- and love-drunk ambience of last year’s Cherry Ghost set.
If it had escaped your notice, this is just part of what’s on offer at Deer Shed Festival this year. Take a look at my Part 1 for a roundup of the crazy catalogue of activities to lose yourself in. Tier three tickets are still available from from the official Web site – but probably not for much longer!
The brow of a Viking longboat protruded ominously from the Zippo Encore Stage as Amon Amarth summoned their otherworldly brand of Norse-themed metal to that sullied pasture on day 3 of Download Festival 2013. Drummer Nico Mehra held fort underneath the ship’s sail (with cymbals spilling over port and starboard), whilst his fellow barbarians lined up along the front in headbanging unison. The opening track – ‘War of the Gods’, from their 2011 album ‘Surtur Rising’ – was a merciless display of melodic death metal with .50 calibre double bass line and a soaring solo. Save vocalist Johan Hegg’s guttural growl, ‘The Pursuit of Vikings’ had a pace and riff focus similar to that of some Megadeth tracks, whilst ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ was one continuous crescendo from the Swedish quintet. The relentless ‘Twilight of the Thunder God’ turned out to be their final track, with the set cut short as a result of technical difficulties earlier in the day, sealing the gate to a portal the crowd were willingly throwing themselves into.
Metalcore five-piece Vision of Disorder shun the traditional trappings of spikes and leather as they take to the Pepsi Max Stage and, not for the first time, it’s sound system delivers a level above that of the Main or Zippo Encore stages. Unlike their studio recordings, loud seems to be the sole dynamic, but this only serves to feed the sense of release as the pit claims more victims. The chorus to the hook laden ‘Set to Fail’ was returned with fervour by the crowd, followed up by the likes of ‘What You Are’ and the pummelling marching beat of ‘Blood Red Sun’.
Red Fang might just snatch the award for the most underrated band of the festival, in terms of their spot in the line up at least. Frequently given as a second or third answer as a band fellow Downloaders wanted to see, the Oregonian four piece’s own brand of stoner metal had already received an unexpected recommendation from Motörhead’s own Lemmy Kilmister the day before. It took a while for most of the crowd to realise the people on stage were not, in fact, roadies, but they eventually slammed into their massive opener ‘Malverde’, which had echoes of Tool’s 2006 album ‘10,000 Days’ in its staccato verses. ‘Wires’ has a relentless, almost Queens of the Stone Age edge, with a killer key change on the chorus and mesmeric finale. It was followed up by ‘Into the Eye’, from their latest album ‘Murder the Mountains’, and ‘Sharks’ from their debut Sargent House EPs. Their final track, ‘Prehistoric Dog’, is arguably the biggest to date, and fans got involved the only way they know how; by smashing into each other in homemade beer can armour.
It’s safe to say that with Airbourne – musically at least – you know what you’re going to get. At Sonisphere 2011 lead vocalist and guitarist Joel O’Keeffe scaled the scaffolding of the second stage (20 metres or more), kicking their set to new heights, literally. They seem to keep a keener eye on the talent at Download, unfortunately, but the pace of the Aussies AC/DC-esque hard rock was just what the doctor ordered for a weary crowd. They rattled through staples ‘Ready to Rock, ‘Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women’, ‘Black Dog Barking’ and ‘Wave the Flag’ before ‘Live it Up’ had the fists pumping and the crowd warming their vocal chords. And, just in time. Next up was the infectious ‘Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast’, the most successful track off their 2007 album ‘Runnin’ Wild’. The eponymous single from this album capped off the set, sliding neatly into a rendition of the riff from Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’.
So many questions need to be asked about the involvement of 30 Seconds to Mars on the Main Stage at this point in the festival. Surely, this was Limp Bizkit’s slot; another band that had success in the early Noughties, and would have drawn the same crowd. Instead two almighty waves of people had to navigate through the detritus and up the hill to escape Jared Leto’s turgid peacocking. Having secretly camped among us plebs at the festival last year, you can tell he’s picked up some tips from Metallica and Slipknot (probably from 2 nights previous) on how to put on a decent stage show. Unfortunately, the personal spin he put on it resulted in nothing more than a flood of brightly coloured yoga balls being dropped onto a heavily spiked crowd, and a nonplussed reaction to attempts to get everyone down on their knees. They played the usual fluff, including: ‘Birth’, ‘This is War’, ‘Conquistador’ and ‘Vox Populi’, before the MTV2 Award-winning ‘The Kill (Bury Me)’. Leto doubled the precipitation count for the weekend by inviting a group of blubbing fans on stage for their final track ‘Up in the Air’, so someone appreciated them at least.
Limp Bizkit had the Zippo Encore Stage full to bursting as fans clamoured to catch a glimpse of singer Fred Durst and his new Gandalf look. And, with a set comprised largely of tracks from their 2000 breakout album ‘Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water’ – named ‘Worst Album of the Year’ by Entertainment Weekly whilst simultaneously becoming the fastest selling rock album ever – they could almost let the crowd tackle this one alone. Opening with live favourite ‘Thieves’, by second track ‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)’ it was evident that these nu metal forerunners had matured, combining gut-shuddering bass with a willingness to experiment. Of course, “all the people in the house” did “put their hands in the air”, and by their third offering, ‘Nookie’, everything from bottles to bog rolls was being lobbed skyward.
A huge swathe of the crowd broke away like a tectonic plate at this stage as headliners Rammstein (pictured at top) were set to take to the Main Stage. The rest of Limp Bizkit’s set was peppered with classics, from ‘My Generation’, ‘Livin’ it Up’ and ‘Full Nelson’, to ‘Take a Look Around’, ‘My Way’ and ‘Break Stuff’. There was even time to squeeze in a couple of covers; the predictable spin on George Michae;’s ‘Faith’ and a rapturous version of Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Killing in the Name’.
Somehow Rammstein managed to remain something of an unknown quantity until taking to the stage as the curtain closers of Download 2013. Their live antics are so legendary that it’s tough to separate the fact from the fiction. What transpired was an avante-garde opera; a jaw-dropping amalgam of industrial machinery, art school sexuality, Dante’s ‘Inferno’ and ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. Vocalist Till Lindemann descended from the rafters on a spark sprinkling platform to their opening track ‘Ich tu dir weh’ (‘I Hunt You’), clad in a fluffy pink coat over his grimy overalls and folding himself into a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ stlye mangina (not the first that’s been witnessed this weekend). Next, ‘Wollt ihr das Bett in Flammen sehen?’ had 90,000 pumping their fists in marching rhythm to chants of ‘Rammstein’, and allowed them their first opportunity to indulge their passion for pyrotechnics. ‘Keine Lust’ saw sparks flying from the lead singers hands before the sinisterly vulnerable cries of “mir ist kalt” at the song’s climax. After, Lindemann and guitarists Richard Z. Kruspe and Paul H. Lambers all donned flame spitting masks and lit things up for the bombastic ‘Feuer frei!’.
Keyboardist Christian ‘Flake’ Lorenz took his first beating of the night as he was wheeled out in an oversized cooking pot for ‘Mein Teil’, before being roasted with blasts from increasingly larger flamethrowers. The sadomasochistic Lindemann bathed unprotected under a shower of sparks for ‘Ohne Dich’, before chasing a (fake) rogue crowd member across stage with a flamethrower during ‘Benzin’, like some sort of cabaret golem. The set proper finished with a potent run of ‘Links 2-3-4’, ‘Du Hast’ and the rousing ‘Ich Will’. After a solo off with guitar mounted flamethrowers, their infamous live track ‘Bück dich’ saw Lorenz in a gimp outfit and chaps being buggered by Lindemann on a 20-foot riser, with the latter foaming everyone on the front rows with his prosthetic appendage. After the crowd had cooled off, they returned for an encore with a heartfelt piano-only rendition of the epic ‘Mein Herz brennt’ and the melodic ‘Sonne’, but Lindemann couldn’t resist pulling out an even bigger foaming appendage to violate the crowd during their final track ‘Pussy’. Even so, this audience had not been screwed.
So, as the piano rang out on an instrumental rendition of ‘Ohne Dich’, the writhing masses were left to reflect on a festival that promised so much, but delivered even more. No UK festival can match the passion and honest release witnessed every year on Donington’s hallowed fields. And, despite all the hype over next year’s potential headliners, for many, next June can’t come soon enough.
Nekrogoblikon almost felt like light relief after Slipknot the night before during day 1 of Download Festival 2013. Not that they were mellow, far from it; the ‘folk’ aspect of their ‘folk metal’ tag manifested itself only through an untamed baroque synth line and the orc-like vocals of the one-and-only John Goblikon. A hideous green mask perched between hunched shoulders and mangled hands; he shuffled from wing to wing in gothic splendour, warming the souls of the drenched masses lining the perimeter of the Pepsi Max Stage.
Back on the Main Stage, Mastodon unleashed their gargantuan sound on the waiting masses. A stalwart of the metal festival scene, Mastodon have become a new beast since the release of their latest album, ‘The Hunter’, in 2011. Launching into the primeval ‘Black Tongue’, it became apparent that this was a set more for appreciation than involvement. Lashings of rain compounded the situation, beating down through the likes of ‘Oblivion’, ‘Stargasm’ and ‘Blasteroid’. A menacing chorus of “just close your eyes, and pretend that everything’s fine” rose from the crowd during ‘All the Heavy Lifting’, before the band exploded into ‘Curl of the Burl’ and the classic ‘Blood and Thunder’, from their 2004 album ‘Leviathan’.
Alice in Chains silenced a core of naysayers when they took to the stage at Download 2006, just a year after reforming with William DuVall stepping up to take the mic from the late Layne Staley. Now, in 2013, the Seattle grungers seem more at ease with themselves, with a catalogue of new material from their 2009 release ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’, and this year’s ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’. But, where else could they start, other than the bombastic ‘Them Bones’? As the last chords rang out, making way for the angst driven ‘Damn That River’, the arena was back in 1992 at the release of their seminal album ‘Dirt’. Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney’s metronomic rhythm section rolled on through ‘Hollow’, ‘Check My Brain’ and ‘Again’, before lulling into the melancholy majesty of ‘Down in a Hole’. A final foray into old favourites ‘Man in the Box’ and ‘Rooster’ gave a nod to the old faithful, and Alice In Chains left all comers happy, but the set was just too short to include the likes of tracks from their ‘MTV Unplugged’ album – a tactic that Chris Cornell pulled off so effortlessly with Soundgarden at Download 2012.
Surely Motörhead have planning permission pending on some kind of treehouse tavern in the woods behind Main Stage? How else could they be relied upon with such regularity to turn a sodden Leicestershire afternoon into a homage to early three-chord speed metal (and potentially an advert for the health benefits of Jack Daniel’s)? No discerning Downloader would be surprised to hear that the set list included the usual mainstays: ‘Metropolis’, ‘Over the Top’, ‘Rock It’, as well as the slurred verses of ‘Killed by Death’. ‘Ace of Spades’ could do no worse than bronze in most Best Metal Songs of All Time lists, and sent the crowd into a 2-minute frenzy. But, the most poignant and memorable part of the set was the introduction of founding member and ex-drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, who has given his body for the Motörhead slogan: “Everything louder than everything else”.
Josh Homme has something of the Midas touch when it comes to assembling musical ensembles, and the most recent incarnation of Queens of the Stone Age (pictured at top) has proved a satisfyingly complex prospect, despite mixed reactions to their latest album ‘… Like Clockwork’. With all five members framed by a screen that filled a little over half the stage, their set felt more compact – even intimate – than anything that had come before. ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’, a lyrical list of narcotics set to a pugnacious bassline, worked as an opener because it summed up in seven words the ethos behind the old QOTSA, and most likely matched the requirements given to the runner as soon as Homme’s tour bus arrived – such was his amusement at a man-sized Super Mario in the crowd. ‘You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire’ was the first link in a chain of tracks from the 2002 album ‘Songs for the Deaf’ that tied their set together. ‘First it Giveth’, ‘No One Knows’, ‘Hangin’ Tree’, ‘Go With the Flow’ and ‘A Song for the Dead’ were all delivered clinically with Homme’s trademark sneer, but without Nick Oliveri swinging a bass round his head in his birthday suit, it lacked an element of the danger of old. The band’s new visuals added a distinctive dimension that is likely to become a stock feature of future shows, enabling them to enact their visceral sound through hypnotic patterns and bloodied avatars.
Almost all Iron Maiden fans born after 1978 harbour an unspoken desire to re-live the epic journey that was their ‘Seventh Son of a Seventh Son’ world tour, and what better time than on the 25th anniversary of their Monsters of Rock stop off? Vocalist Bruce Dickinson’s passion for the aeronautical was indulged before a chord had even been sounded, when a Hawker Hurricane roared over Main Stage, leaving fans to gawp in awe as the plane made its second and third flypast. Maiden kicked off with the debut from their acclaimed 1988 album, ‘Moonchild’, to a rapturous response, before ‘Can I Play with Madness’, ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’ and ‘Afraid to Shoot Strangers’ kept the set on its rocketing trajectory. Dickinson played the conductor in a heavy metal orchestra, emerging for ‘The Trooper’ in Redcoat garb and waving a massive Union Jack.
A Pan-like devil emerged for ‘The Number of the Beast’, and ‘Phantom of the Opera’ lived up to its theatrical roots. ‘Run to the Hills’, ‘Wasted Years’ and the ominous ‘Fear of the Dark’ tested the crowd’s vocal chords to the extreme, before their eponymous track sounded time for an encore. Continuing the military theme, Winston Churchill’s famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech gave way to ‘Aces High’, and on to a tempestuous rendition of ‘The Evil That Men Do’. Maiden had the crowd from the flypast, potentially even from the credit card confirmation on Ticketmaster, and as they dissipated to the tune of Eric Idle’s ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’, it was clear that the gods of metal have gifted Maiden with immortality.
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 24th June 2013 at 9:00 am
Words by Hannah Saul
When late August draws upon the sunny Channel Island of Jersey, the sound of great music will begin to play and hundreds of locals, and music lovers will flock to see some of the best acts that Jersey Live music festival has ever seen.
Jersey Live 2013 is gearing up to celebrate a summer of brilliant musical talent. Welcoming artists such as The 1975, Wolf People and Bastille. Not forgetting to mention the king of Acid House, Saturday night headliner Fatboy Slim, and Elliot John Gleave, better known as Example (pictured at top), who will be headlining Sunday night.
Having appeared at the festival back in 2007, The Enemy are amongst many of the impressive talents that have been arranged to feature at this festival, which is still only just finding its feet. However, for such a small festival, with a promising future, just looking down the line up gets me stoked. It just gets better and better the more you look. With the likes of The Cribs, and sweetheart Nina Nesbitt who John interviewed at this year’s Great Escape, there is certainly something for everyone, no matter what your music taste.
The most exciting new of all, comes in the form that for the first time ever, camping will be made available. The license for camping has now turned what could be described as one big uninterrupted concert, into a thriving music festival. However, there are big rules on what can and can’t be done. These come in the form of the obvious and also the unexpected. One of the more unconventional items on the do’s and don’t is the idea that alcohol is not permitted on site. Yes, I have to agree, that as it is the first year of camping, they may not want the hassle. But compared to other larger music events, being able to drink is normally taken for granted. But don’t you worry, there will be a bar made available to those who fancy an ice-cold cider or beer.
Although some people may wish to stay in the comfort of a hotel, it is not all that bad. There are some great local hotels and inns with a coach service to the festival grounds. There are plenty of great bars and pubs in the town center for any party animals looking to make the most of their night. But above all, the weather is normally great at the end of August. So pack some factor 15 and head on down. What more could you ask for than sun, beer and music?
Overall, what can I say? Get your tickets now! At £92 for a simple weekend ticket (not including camping) and £30 extra to camp, this is promising to be one of the best music events that the Channel Islands have ever seen! More information about Jersey Live tickets is this way.