19 June 2009: Southside Festival 2009 – Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany

Thursday 18th June

Arrived in Zweibrucken to beautiful sunshine and a beautiful smiley face of my friend Iris who was picking me up and driving me to Saarbrucken where I was to spend the rest of the day in her garden eating cherries straight from the tree and annoying her cat with a long/thin stick. Later the same day we had a lovely dinner at a rather picturesque local old brewery come restaurant where I was introduced to the delights of krautbeer.

9 am Friday 19th June

Iris, Nichole and me finally finished packing the big van which was to be our home for the next 3 days with everything we could possibly think of minus the kitchen sink. We said our good-byes to the cats, set not 1 but 2 sat-navs and off we went, festival bound.

What I wasn’t aware of was that the tiny airfield in Neuhausen ob Eck where the festival was held was in the middle of the Black Forrest, almost 4hrs drive away from our departing point. Glad to say we took a shortcut (?) through France and shaved some 100km off the journey.

Several beers ater, I mean hours later, we arrived. Thank f***! We drove around a bit, found a spot near the loos (but not too near so we wouldn’t run the risk of suffocating with the notorious vile fumes which would no doubt come from it), unpacked some gear, dressed down to match the already mashed & unwashed revelers in the caravan next to us and off we went to watch a few bands.

We managed to see the last couple of tunes by Less Than Jake. They were up on the Green Stage. I thought they were a good “warm up” band. WIN. Little did I know they were far better than the following act…

Lily Allen was a let down. I didn’t quite get why the fuck she was there in the first place. But I stood there for as long as I possibly could before I walked away from a cold, distant, un-passionate, mechanical set where Lily hardly managed to smile at the crowd and the bored looking musicians. Ok, she is competent and hits her notes but she totally lacked the festival spirit. FAIL

Fleet Foxes were on next at the Blue Stage. If you are not familiar, let me try to describe them: they look like hairy Yetis but sing like angels. Anyway, as they started their set it started to rain quite heavily. Wet and cold we stood there in total awe because they were simply divine! Their mellow tunes delivered to perfection. It was quite an experience and I highly recommend you go watch them. Big WIN

I was soaked to the bone and cold so I duly went to get mashed at a Brazilian kiosk selling caipirinhas. Damn! They were good! So good in fact that I lost track of time, missed Fettes Brot and most of Die Arzte. But I must say that from what I saw of Die Arzte they were really good and a real crowd pleaser. I didn’t stay until the end because their set overlapped with Nick Cave.

I arranged a meeting point with the girls and off I went. Needless to say we never managed to find each other but that’s another story.

Mashed, wet, cold and alone I went to the Blue Stage to watch Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. This one is easy to write about: it was f***ing awesome, mind blowing, brilliant performance! And what a sexy mutha f*ka! Even when the PA died on him, he carried on until the end of the song before leaving the stage for a few short minutes. He returned, apologized to the punters, had a dig at the sound engineers and went on to deliver what was to become the highlight of the festival IMHO. Uber mega bitchin WIN

© AndreaUrbanFox

Originally posted at http://andreaurbanfox.wordpress.com/

11 June 2009: Eastfield + Garden Gang + Paul Carter + Chris Butler – Victoria Inn, Derby, England, UK

It was much later than I had anticipated when I arrived at Derby’s Victoria Inn and I was dreading missing the first artist but, a bit of good fortune for me, it was much later than anticipated when Chris Butler appeared on the stage at about 20:30 and consequently I managed to catch all of his set.

Less fortunately, Chris’s set had to be cut short to fit all of the acts onto the bill. This meant that we only got four tracks. But, oh, what tracks they were.

Chris is a folk-punk-protest singer and his songs are story-telling gems of modern life. With songs ranging in topic from The Underdogs versus the Overpaid, through For Fox Sake and I Never Much Liked James Bond Films Anyway to The World According To Bono and Tony Says Good Luck, Chris keeps your attention with three chords and his acoustic guitar.

Tonight was no exception, and the crowd were held spell-bound as he took us through An Evening With Michael Portillo, A very topical and relevant Don’t Vote BNP, Lucky Escapes and Celebrity Bus Crash.

We wanted more but there was no time as Garden Gang had to set their kit up.

I was still buying my beer refill when, minutes later, Garden Gang took to the stage.

Hailing from Munich, Germany, the band are a five piece who have been touring the UK with Eastfield for the last few weeks. Judging by the performance that they put on tonight they will have been thrilling audiences wherever they went as the show was full of energy and unthusiasm and the crowd were full of positives after the set.

Funniest point of the show was when PamP, the lead singer, said that the next number was for everyone from Derby. There was no response, as PamP discovered that the venue was full of people who weren’t from Derby.

In my opinion, this was the people of Derby’s loss, as they missed a superb punk/glam, proto-Cramps racket, which would have gone down well anywhere. Particularly, Ann Dee, on very-excitable backing vocals, Alex on lead guitar and PamP, were very energetic.

Catch them soon, if you dare.

Easfield rolled into Derby for the third time in eight months and Jessi, after telling us that “a funny thing happened on the way to the Vic”, launched the band straight into Tingalpa.

The funny thing turned out to be the not so funny Derby Transport Police who accosted Jessi rather unfairly on Derby train station on the way to the gig, apparently for trying to use the wrong toilet. After rummaging through his bag of dirty laundry and issuing him with a nasty piece of paper describing him as “Build: Slim”, which he was quite pleased about, we were rewarded for the efforts with a version of Port Talbot Transport Police named after them; “Derby Transport Police”.

Every Eastfield gig is different and one of the things I particularly like is that you can play spot the classic punk song as they roll through the gig. I spotted two tonight, after a superb Rugeley Crimestoppers we rumbled into Aspartame – which ended with a snip of I fought the Law – and the marvellous Beast of Bratislava contained a brief excert of The Clash’s Janie Jones. If you’re lucky you might also catch a Dead Kennedys track and I’m sure there are others.

Burt Reynolds Rides Again got all the young punks at the front moshing their socks off, before The Black Hole and a stunning Drive On Henry shunted us into Cancer of the Universe. Then, with Bambi getting some help with his vocals from an enthusiastic crowd member, they finished with the masterpiece that is Another Boring Eastfield Song.

No Sharks Against Surfers. Bah!

40 minutes of enthusiasm, excitement and commitment. Marvellous.

Next up was the legend that is Derby’s Paul Carter. Unfortunately, due to the distinct lack of any service from the British train companies, most of the crowd had rushed off to catch the last train and so Paul ended up playing to a sparse crowd of about 20 people. He didn’t seem that bothered and sang his heart out.

I only managed to catch four tracks before I had to run for my train as well, two of which were Bert The Ladyboy and a lively Sham 69 cover, but I didn’t leave before Paul told me off for clapping while holding a half full plastic glass in my mouth.

I’m sure he’d have played ‘Cause I Had Speed before the evening was out.

Paul Carter