BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Sheep Music Festival (Day 3)
There are a few advantages of going to a festival on your own. Not many, but a few. The best way to do a festival is with a small gang of close mates who are on a similar wavelength and just party for the duration. Too big a gang and you get sucked into seeing bands you don’t want to see just to go with the flow. Even in a small gang you can be distracted from what you really want to do. Which is where flying solo comes into its own.

So, after gliding home after dawn, I was up at the crack of noon. The weather had changed though and today would be a test to see if the new tent was waterproof. During a break in the rain a leisurely stroll was embarked upon and a healthy does of vegan curry was consumed. Sick Note are off home so it is back to entertaining myself for the day. I did consider the prospect of and early return to Iguana HQ myself, but the thought of the Dub Pistols kept me going.

After the curry was demolished, the rain returned so it was back to the tent to be absorbed into Oliver Grey’s ‘Volume’. See, now if you were with a gang you would never get away with reading for hours.

Eventually the rain stopped so I headed out to suck in the last few hours of Sheep Music 2009. Some photographs were taken of spectacularly large, but musically unremarkable bands.

The Antipodean Mr Grunwald

There was one act I was determined not to miss though and that was Australian blues maestro, Ash Grunwald. Not only is he an awesome guitarist but he also has a full arsenal of foot pedals at his disposal to provide various beats and percussion. His stool even doubled up as a bass drum. A clever, bluesy, funky and sometimes witty set was only slightly marred by what appeared to be a constant battle with the PA. He was chuffed to bits with the fact that he had travelled half way around the world to play a tiny little obscure festival in the middle of nowhere and people knew his stuff and shouted out requests.

No one appeared to be in full on party mode, but there was a definite air of ‘last night of the festival letting your hair down’ going on. People who had been drunk all weekend were casually topping themselves up and I spotted a few security guys in off duty mode indulging an a few shandys.

The Suited and Booted Dub pistols

I headed up to the Big top to catch the main attraction. The MC whipped the crowd into a frenzy, the smoke belched out, the tension rose, and slowly but surely the Dub Pistols wandered onto the stage all suited and booted. The crowd went mad as the chunky bass lines gave them something to jump on and surf. I watched for a few songs and was taken by the vibe, but I have to say after four or five songs they lost me. It was not that they were not good, they are very competent at what they do, but it seemed to lack a little bit of imagination for my tired head. I wandered back down to Café Seren.

Mr Sheen getting grungy

Here the night was brought to a close by Mr Sheen (at least that’s what the programme says), who were a very grungy, unpolished (sorry could not resist) lo-fi garage rock, in the vein of Beefheart, and Zappa, with a stoner rock edge to it. I decided they were more challenging and interesting than the Pistols and made myself at home on the carpet. A drunk walks in and shouts, “F*cking hell man, you are great, much better than that nonsense in the Big Top, I am going to go back up there and drag everyone down”, then promptly disappears, never to be seen again. Whilst the Dub pistols had been a disapointment, Mr Sheen had made staying the extra night worth while.

As things wind down I witness someone old enough to know better, trying to perform a death defying skateboard stunt, presumably too drunk to remember he cant do skateboard stunts. His departure from the top of the ten-foot high ramp, with all the grace of a goose with one wing is only excelled in its spectacularness by the head first crunch into the concrete below him. Luckily the first aid tent is only yards away and he is soon in the hands of professionals and off to hospital.

Why do I mention this horrific accident? Well, I suppose to demonstrate that even though the event is geared up for entertainment and hedonism, the professionalism and sobriety of those that need to be professional and sober is spot on.

I suppose this sums up the festival. It has been relaxed with no bad karma; people have enjoyed themselves with out upsetting anyone (whether it be the locals or the balloon heads). Very few have gone over the top, but when they have there has been paramedics with first aid, or passing hippies with sound advice, to ensure every body keeps calm and carries on.

There has not been any music that I would say was actually crap and one or two of the bands have actually been excellent. The food was out of this world and the toilets possibly the best at any festival I have ever been to. I have made new friends, built on existing friendships, made a few contacts, discovered new music, eaten good food and drunk good cider. RESULT!

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home