Posted on July 30, 2010 - by Mark Zonda
Indietracks it’s a lot more than a festival. IndieTracks is Woodstock without sex, drugs and – fortunately – no mud. At least for this year’s edition! THE festival is a lot more of the simple sum of the whole bands that were in it (the lucky blue bracelet ones). The festival equals the real experience to live, at least if you’re ok with twee music and the idea that nativity and art still deserves a place between the rock and the roll.
It was cool then living the dream after having dreamt of that life in the Midlands for ’bout a year, after friends and musicians kept on singin’ tales from the place each day of the whole bloody months.
Taking for granted all the difficulties dealing with people from the Continent swapping their own brain hemispheres to drive on the opposite side of the road on the passenger seat, gettin’ a cheap hotel in the middle of London (not that difficult thanks to Cristiano) and getting used to the sudden climatic changes of the micro-climaxes of the tube, we opted to attend at Howe Gelb’s Giant Sand gig at the Barb(ar)ican Centre, easily snobbin’ IndieTrash Warm up to attend one of the most boring and over rated artist of the folk-rock scene celebrating itself.
Barbican Centre is the place to be. Anything could look great on it, from Pink Floyd to The Lovely Eggs. Bein’ honest it was probably one of the best Howe Gelb’s all time best exhibition, having the show been acceptably short, jolly and variegated. The real surprise was seeing Howe at the piano. I would have never imagined such an advanced performance from those country fingers, going from arpeggios to pizzicato piano chords not if he was Sakamoto on one of his shows. Maxi pictures run at the sides of your heroes showing interesting pics of ten years of Giant Sand including scared baby cats thrown on Howe Gelb’s persona and a cover of an old magazines where Giant featured… The Pixies!!
Real reason we were there? Just a little discrete legend from 4AD Records: Miss Kristin Hersh from Throwing Muses. Her presence on the stage was – to call a word – powerful, being able alone to fill the whole wide theatre with just a guitar and a voice that neared the perfection. The perfect acoustic of the place allowed to amplify the most thin variations of Kristin voice, aged with grace and lookin’ in time like a mad version of Joan Baez with a heart full of soul and scary eyes stuck on unknown words. The only regret I had was she didn’t picked “Your Ghost”, one of the first songs I learned to play when studying guitar.
Day after we moved to the Midlands, in the Derbyshire. Or so it seemed. Can’t tell you really. Outside was nothing but greens and hills, and clouds and air balloons over our heads. Funny thing was that once there – being unable to find the way to the entrance of IndieTracks - we asked around and NO ONE seemed to know not only where the site was, but even what the event was all about and even if it existed. I can even remember about a guy in a restaurant telling us that we failed and the festival already took place the week before we came. And we’re talking about people living in a 50 persons town collective, where they should be aware of each train passing by the village. Oh sorry, they made a museum ’bout that.
On the same train, the following night, we talked with a native dude telling us that probably people from the place is so jealous about the festival that they’re deliberately hiding informations to rookies not to spoil their precious niche.
Once I came back from the Festival, I was so hit by the whole thing that I couldn’t avoid to write down some songs based on the notes I picked up from my Moleskine agenda and record an EP in only 8 hourse (you can find the Tiny Tide EP here). If “Tweening Everyday” sum up my enthusiasm about the event, “The Last Living Lads In The Midlands” is really about we getting lost in the middle of nowhere trying to have a clue on where the festival was, not if it was held by leprechaun!
We arrived just in time to see people gettin’ crazy for Allo Darlin’, and judging from people enthusiasm and the her final songs (check the clip here) it was a real shame not having found the place before. Just some notes of a French old anthem from the main stage and I suddenly rushed in front of it running crazy to see what I rightly supposed to be “Everybody Was In The French Resisance …Now!!“. Refusing to be accepted as a Saturday Night Stand Up Comedian, Eddie Argos new band blended perfectly the simplicity of indie pop applied to niche charts with the energy of Art Brut Rock’n'Roll background, being Eddie positive unable to get rid of all those moves and poses. Dyan Valdes was shiny at her most beautiful with her brand new French flag skirt, while Eddie was buisy explaing that not everyone in Europe took the references on the baguettes eaters so well (“… but they were twisting their hands in the air with rage in the North…”). Between a revenge song on poor Jimmy Mack (“Nobody would have been that poor guy!”) and shocking revlations (“It’s so clear I’m the son of Michael Jackson”) Eddie’s band references on niche songs was a delight for pop music geeks.
Top moment of the night was the “With or Without You” thing, with me having the privilege on seeing where the song where going to and start the choirs (see the clip at your left), with Eddie not being able to hold himself from getting down from the tall stage to drawn the hype from his crowd (you can see him punching on proud member of the collective while computing “And you give yourself *punchy* away). I was estatic. Show went so good EWITFRN! felt confident on doin’ a special enchore, a dark pun on its own previous band called “Formed a Side-Project”, a delighting tattle on Art Brut “Formed a Band”. I was in tears, and as far as I can see band was too.
The first night ended brilliantly on the “Dancing Tent” (See Tiny EP song “Dancing Tent“) where DJs gave me the chance to dance like I never did since YEARS before. Holes on the naked ground was a poor thing. We had good seeds to sow.