Sunday, July 26, 2009

Indietracks 2009: live music review

With a Friday that saw torrential showers, and a Sunday that has been distinctly overcast with occasional drizzle, I think we had the best of the three days at Indietracks, a music festival of Indiepop held at the Midland Railway Centre, Butterley, Derbyshire.

Indiepop you say? No, come back, please don't run away.

Taking a positively eclectic interpretation of this much derided term, Indietracks provides a small scale festival specialising in music that ranges from twee, to weird, to catchy pop, to pop sung in languages other than English, to twee as fuck and everything in between along with a DIY ethos encouraging badge-making, sewing and other assorted craft activities. There were plenty of pretty summer dresses on the girls and lots of band/quirky t-shirts on the boys.

I said come back! Please! It WAS good - really it was!

Indietracks is establishing itself as a lovely little event with a sister event called Christmas Twee (don't groan). We missed 2008 - when Ballboy performed - due to commitments with a friend's wedding - but it there certainly seems some returning business as Gordon of Ballboy was coming back this year to solo perform and run the quiz.

Of course the band that pulled us in for this summer were the wonderful Camera Obscura who can't turn in a bad gig even when they play with instruments that aren't their own (though that occasion at Summer Sundae 2006 did memorably turn the organ's middle eight in 'Lloyd, Are You Ready to be Heartbroken?' into a Raw Sex tribute). At Indietracks 2009, Camera Obscura were second top on the main, Elefant sponsored, stage and with the sun blazingly setting behind them they put on a glorious performance. I even think Traceyanne smiled!

As ever Carey Lander is the one who made me swoon - god I wish I was her! - but the band were on seriously top form.

(Shamefully, we passed on the headline act, La Casa Azul. What can I say: I'd done my shoulder in the previous day, my leg was aching and any later leaving and there would have been a hungry Lisa on arrival home. Ahem)

Anyway, amongst the other artistes we caught were:
  • bits of Downdime, Sucrette (from Japan, who were lovely but seemed to take an hour to get going and then set the main stage running well off schedule: still, they had come in from Kyoto), Friends, and Butcher Boy
  • Little My (quirky collective from Wales who perform together whilst wearing animal ears. From Minnie Mouse and her hairbow to a full-on bear suit)
  • Tender Trap (sounding suspiciously similar to Tallulah Gosh because, gosh, they share some of the same members!
  • One Happy Island (one of a whole collection of bands over from the USA . Included trumpet playing and kazoos: brilliant!)
  • The Frank and Walters (taking me back to the very early 1990s but still as much Cork-derived fun as you can have)
  • The Lovely Eggs (performing in the sweltering heat of the tin church stage - no, really, the old church is made of tin. Add about 100+ people on a sunny day. Worth it to hear 'Have you ever heard a digital accordion' which has to qualify as one of the year's weirdest tracks)
Okay, so in the end we didn't see any of the artistes performing on the steam trains (more by lack of planning on our part, plus it was such a glorious day we wanted to be outside as much as possible). Nor did we attend any of the workshops (though we did catch a bit of the 'how to write a pop song' which was quite hilarious) - not even Eithne's sewing session. But we waved at the passing train travellers - standard visitors were still in the vicinity though what they thought of us indie kids and not-so-kids is anyone's guess! - and we had super fun for the whole day. Utterly recommended and proceeds support the work of the Railway Centre in restoring old trains to their past glory.

Next year? maybe!

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