Summer Sundae arrivals can be strange things: this was the first year Neil and I had arrived together (usually I get the Friday off work and travel in alone with Neil following me after leaving work a bit early).
This year, due to us taking the TRULY idle option of staying in a hotel for the duration (not even bothering to travel home to our own beds), we both had the day off and tried to allow time to travel in and get checked in the hotel. However, the trains were a bit chaotic so we didn't get to Leicester til after 2pm - convenient for check in, but I was getting hungry by now...
Thankfully a summer burrito fixed that (I had three over the course of the event. Yummy!) and a pint of cider helped too (though see Pleasures and Gripes)
First up on our viewing was Kirsty Almeida, whose promotional stickers were many and popular. Bringing a kind of voodoo Southern Gothic style pop to the situation, she kicked of the festival for us with a bang (even dropping in a neat cover of Plan B's widely circulating "She Said"). Kirsty had great shoes as well.
After that, we wandered over for some of the New Doors-esque tunes of Erland and the Carnival. Highly enjoyable and plenty of woozey 60's psych organ work to charm.
We then loitered a bit and caught some of The Sunshine Underground as we wandered. Nothing to really grab the guts though...
We next nipped indoors for some of the chilled out vocal work of Lou Rhodes, formerly vocalist with Lamb (whose track Gorecki remains a much played track in my collection).
Anyway. Long-since solo, Lou appeared at Summer Sundae with a fabulous double-bass player (Jon Thorne?) who sadly had to run - with his bass! - to catch a train two tracks before the end of her set. Notably Lou politely but firmly requested the audience shut up talking during her songs (there is a quiet melancholy to her work and yaddering doesn't suit any performer, let alone a quiet one). She got big enough cheers and claps for taking on the chattering but it's inevitably to little avail. I wish people would think about WHY they come in to see/hear the music. What's the point if you're going to talk right through it?!
Teenage Fanclub have been going since... well forever it feels. With their sunny-ish guitar pop they can weave their way into your heart easily. Coming in with grunge and the tail ending of baggy (as per the Fannies MySpace page), they've nevertheless retained all their verve and delight. Now more of an occasional than regular project, they've nevertheless come back with Shadows and some really top notch tunes. I don't think I was the only one to shriek with delight when they started up 'Baby Lee' (first heard played by Norman Blake on Marc Riley a LONG while ago) but at the time I felt as if I had confused those around me with my delight!
Ending with a cracking collection - Everything Flows, Sparky's Dream and The Concept - the band was a hit despite the drizzle and frankly dismal weather overseeing the set. A shame: just imagine how it would have been with a sunset...
We then, for reasons best known to someone other than us, meandered over to the Comedy tent where we caught most of the act of Junior Simpson. Sometimes amusing but you do wonder about people bringing in small/young children to a festival comedy tent...
We should then have perched ourselves for Seasick Steve, but despite there being a lovely logic to him headlining the main stage, we're still treasuring his turns a couple of years ago when we saw Seasick Steve in the much more intimate surroundings of the Musician Tent. We caught some of his 2010 performance, but we were getting worn down by the weather of the day by now.
We then tried to take in some Roots Manuva, but frankly we couldn't muster up enthusiasm to stay.
Shame on us, we tripped down the hill, bag of chips to sustain us, and fell into our hotel bed.