Midland Railway Centre, Butterley, Derbyshire
6-8th July 2012
After reading my editor’s amusing but somewhat musically lacking review, I felt that even though I had an equally drunken weekend my extremely organised schedule of fitting in as many bands as possible whilst having the memory of an elephant allows me to hopefully recreate the musical delights on offer.
However I must admit, there will be paragraphs were music is not involved that may involve the intensive display of animals, the surprising lack of rain and pretending to be tigercats.
So to begin… My first Indietracks festival weekend was not the assumedly amazing pre-festival gig at The Chameleon, Nottingham on Thursday night but hosting the lovely Sea Lions for an overnight stay, and feeding them a quintessentially English breakfast of tea and crumpets. Also having to work only a mere four hours on Friday was certainly getting me into a festival spirit. But then it rained! A lot! (again!) I certainly didn’t want to start the Friday, camping for the first time in some muddy woodland, getting all muddy. If anything it was going to put me in a bad mood! Surprisingly the ‘muddy woodland’ campsite wasn’t that muddy, in fact it was rather lovely, they have better showers than I do in my own home! The added inclusion of animals also made my weekend, although there are better animals to come later on but for now from campsite to festival, I was able to feed geese and stroke donkeys!
I guess I should start on the musical content now, oh did I mention Indietracks festival is at the Midlands Railway Centre? Yes that means trains, steam trains, stationary trains, miniature trains, bands on trains. Just lots of trains. Okay now I’ll start with music…
It started with The Smittens, they were an ace indie pop delight. I wasn’t too keen on their new addition however along with The School it was a perfect opener to the event. The biggest enjoyment came from Darren Hayman & The Secondary Modern. I admit I really was not a fan before that evening, yet the experience felt almost momentous. It was eerily soulful, seething with intelligence and irony. I was hoping to end the night dancing in one of the disco locations but stupidly (I did think I was sleepy at the time) I choose to lay in my cramped tent with my snoring loved one, shivering for four hours willing to fall asleep.
Saturday started with foolishly walking into Codnor, only because we spotted a Tesco on the drive in. We stocked up on biscuits amongst other unnecessary food items and allowed the time to pass for the festival to commence at midday. After attempting to see or maybe even hear The 10p Mixes on the steam train, this basically means I neither saw or heard them, it was then onto the outdoor stage to catch The Birthday Kiss, and then onto Evans The Death, I possibly felt a bit rude as I relinquished on the almost dry grass to watch these acts, the latter was a band I had been looking forward to see for a quite a while, so I should’ve got up and danced. The have a punk- raucous noise that has an eerily nineties feel about it, it is also suitably catchy.
During the awesome set by Tender Trap it rained, it rained stupid amounts; it meant it rained enough to scarper into nearby shelter. So the decision was to catch some of The Rosie Taylor Project, beautifully moody and dreary, which met the same tone as the weather. It also meant we could get a good position for Tigercats. Their album being one of my favourites of this year it was so thrilling to see them live. It felt like they played ‘Isle of Dogs’ in it’s entirety, certainly as their set continued more of the audience felt compelled to dance, me included.
The Just Joans followed, my partner had already dismissed them and vowed he did not like them, so I reluctantly did not pull him to the front to dance. I think he changed his mind though in the end, certainly as favourites ‘If You Don’t Pull’ and ‘What Do We Do Now’. I personally love them for their witty and memorable lyrics, so it was super lovely to finally catch them live.
Now for readers of This Is A Popscene are fully aware of my love for Standard Fare, so today should really be no different. However, yes however, I was in fact disappointed, the sound quality was close to appalling, it’s obviously not the bands fault, it certainly distressed Emma yet their set went down an absolute treat if you look at the masses, and I was still one of many that was finding myself singing along.
Now sadly by this time, alcohol had been plentiful and somehow, most foolishly I managed to miss Go Sailor. Chatting gibberish to my partner on the wall, I hear the lyrics from a ‘Fine Day For Sailing’ I am awestricken, to the point of not moving. So I enjoy the vague sound of the band from a far, and wait for the beginnings of Summer Camp to usher us back into the shed. Summer Camp is one those bands I remember supporting some indie band way back when, they used projections, they were a boy/girl duo, they were unashamedly cool, roll on couple of years and WOW. They are even more unashamedly cool; they glide through their eighties styled songs, with more infectious synths and riffs then ever before. If it wasn’t for my intoxication they’d probably be the best highlight of the festival but sadly that intoxication also meant that I missed another must see band in Veronica Falls, I think it also meant I was back in the tent, and actually fast asleep before midnight, like I was some sort of festival Cinderella.
I was more than thrilled to wake up Sunday, feeling no where near as rough as expected. Today involved some challenges that we failed to do on Saturday these were; See or at least hear a band on the train, the same goes for the church, as we only ever got as close as looking in through the window. Go to an acoustic set and maybe do a workshop, although the only one I wanted to do was the ‘Indiepop Lindy Hop’ which was gutting as it clashed with Tigercats. The Results will be written later.
Before entering the festival, they was a marquee awash with birds well, parrots and owls. Clearly owls are cooler (and they are the better animals, reference to earlier.)
The first band was The Spook School, amazing pop music that had a lovely little essence of rowdy character thrown in, added points for having the most unconventional sailor as the drummer too. After the set I declare that they are my new favourite band. During the set of 14 Iced Bears, I explain to my partner that they were part of a C86 wave of bands, I think the only thing he says is they look a bit old. Still the sun is shining so we lay on the grass and enjoy, the discussion of face painting comes up… I declare but Sea lions are on next! Sea lions are an eclectic mix of guys, they are all rather lovely and there live songs are just as brilliantly moody as their record. However as their sets closes we have a whole forty minutes until This Many Boyfriends, face painting comes up again, and so my face gets painted, reluctantly.
No longer am I woman, but I am a tiger! Surprisingly I kept roaring and pouncing to a minimum. And as if by magic Duncan Barrett singer of Tigercats appeared, we declare ‘we are Tigercats! Can we have a picture with you?’ thankfully he accepted, actually he seemed quite chatty, and I feel a bit rude for not embarking in a more thorough conversation with him. So forgetting we are now tigers we head to the shed, to see personal favourites This Many Boyfriends, having barely seen them at a day festival called Long Division a month previously, it was time to get to the front and dance and sing along very enthusiastically. They sail through flawless pop songs; Starling, I Should Be A Communist and Young Lovers Go Pop seem to be particular favourites with the audience knowing the words as much as the band. Their performance is almost mind-blowing, they were one of my favourite acts of the weekend and I cannot wait for their album due out in the autumn!
Hanging around in the shed we wait for a band called Orca Team, I have spent the last month listening to their three songs on Spotify, on repeat, I am almost in love. The trio are possibly the three most sophisticated people you will meet. And in using all the S’s they are sleek, stylish, sultry and their surf style post punk pop is immediately a hit. We (audience) are in love, we even get blessed with an encore!
So can Sunday get even better? Yes is the answer. Allo Darlin’ anyone? It felt like the entire festival was there watching this amazing charismatic band play their beautiful whimsical fuelled pop songs. My boyfriends make all kinds of promises if I shout out for them to play My Heart Is A Drummer. I didn’t need to, thankfully they were given an extra twenty minutes, so we did get to hear their back catalogue, they played tracks from both albums, and a brilliant cover of The Just Joan’s ‘If You Don’t Pull’. They are such an endearing and genuinely nice band, every time we spoke to Elizabeth and Bill over the weekend they always seemed willing and wanting to chat. The encore was of Elizabeth, with her ukulele singing Tallulah to possibly the quietest an audience could possibly be, if anything it was the most magical experience possible. In a way it was a shame that it wasn’t the finale for Indietracks.
The Vaselines were indeed the finale, it was almost sweet that they didn’t realise they were headlining. As brilliant as they are, I never quite got into the set as I did listening to them when I was growing up, and concluding that this was going to be the last time I was going to dance to some indie pop for a while, we headed to the disco and then we sat on the train to finish the Indietracks program word search, I still even now have two bands to find.
And so back to the tent for one last night of uncomfortable sleeping, we wake up at dawn, pack everything up and trundle back to real life in Nottingham, work called, and the hangover set in. In fact for me, my hangover lasted three days; I have never felt so ill. I also realise I am badly sunburned. However I can not wait to do it all again next year.
In conclusion to the challenges we failed, so it’s a rollover. Next year we will see and hear a band on the train and in the church. We will go to an acoustic set and do a workshop.