A great little music festival organised by the Roundhouse team. Featuring a number of up-and-coming bands, providing an opportunity for young people from London to learn about the music industry and to participate in the running of a festival. With many helping film the live-stream of the event. Unfortunately, due to some issues with trains, I had to leave early, so missed Fear of Men. But the highlight of what I saw was Shopping. But there were a number of good bands throughout the day. The only bit that missed the mark was the electronic music by Moon Gangs which sadly did nothing for me.
Although not the headline act (who due to late running, I didn’t get an opportunity to see), I’d come to see John J Presley. Somebody I’d seen a few months earlier supporting Band of Skulls
First up was Blonde Bunny, a band I saw support Wytches before Christmas and just like before Christmas, I wasn’t too enthused by their performance. The audience however were and their set was very well received.
After Blonde Bunny, the crowd seemed to thin out for John J Presley and his band. Which is a pity as there’s something unique about his blend of dirty blues rock. John has a voice that seems to be the voice of a man 30 years older and who has many tall story to tell. The nearest comparison I can think of is Josh T Pearson, somebody John lists as one of his influences. It’s hard to believe that this guy hails from the UK. You’d expect him to be playing in some backstreet joint in the deep South. His set was as excellent as I remember his Band of Skull support being. I’ll definitely be catching him again.
Listening to Parquet Courts album would leave you with the impression that these guys are the master of 2 minute songs with a DIY/punk sensibility. What it doesn’t prepare you for is a masterclass in controlled Velvet Underground inspired, feedback induced 10 minute long songs.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Tonight’s gig at the Electric Ballroom was an NME Award show. Support coming in the shape of Eagulls
I’ve seen Eagulls before. The first time, a single impressive song at SXSW. But I’ve since seen them play a longer set that left me less impressed. Tonight was also of the ‘less impressive’ variety. Don’t get me wrong, I like their recordings. But for some reason the live performances leave me indifferent. I suspect it’s a lot to do with the mixing. The vocals are often low in the mix, which was the case tonight. Having heard a great song at SXSW, they are clearly capable of something. Maybe they just need the right venue with the right sound guy?
After the Eagulls unfortunately left me cold, Parquet Courts came on. My earlier comparison to Velvet Underground may be surprising, but it has some basis in reality. Live, many of their album songs transformed into 10 minute long songs, and not with a little bit of skill. Although impressive, enjoyable and surprising, I did wonder if this was what I really wanted from the gig. I like the intensity of the album and I have to admit being just a little bit disappointed that the same intensity isn’t captured on stage. But that’s a bit churlish, because if I’d gone in expecting what I’d heard, I would have left thoroughly pleased.