Bowlie 2 curated by Belle & Sebastian - Day 1 - Butlins, Minehead

by Steve Rhodes Rating: Release Date:

Another chilly December trip to the seaside is had with the Belle & Sebastian curated Bowlie 2 shindig at Butlins in Minehead. It's promoted by All Tomorrow's Parties aka ATP, which for one weekend only should be christened as A Twee P, for the anorak-enshrined line up that is afoot.

First up on the Friday is the fuzzed-up loveliness of Best Coast. Sharing the lo-fi tinniness of Vivian Girls with traces of The Bangles and Courtney Love in the vocals, Best Coast are a nice summary antidote to the bitter cold, but their expansive melody and wholesome sound on record is rather lost on stage. 'Boyfriend' appears almost by surprise and the lack of bass and harmony is evident.

Better is had downstairs with Teenage Fanclub, where I'm surrounded by most of Glasgow. New songs such as 'Baby Lee' and 'The Past' are balanced perfectly with the old, particularly the four song onslaught of 'Starsign', 'I Don't Want Control of You', 'About You' and 'Everything Flows', the latter of which has Raymond McGinley's glorious hypnotic guitar riff over the top of the treble. Main lead Norman Blake grins throughout the set, clearly happy to be there and the audience reacts with similar aplomb.

A brief trip to see the underwhelming Silver Columns is followed by a rather disastrous performance from a delayed-by-traffic Saint Etienne. The microphone for the support vocals on opener 'Who Do You Think You Are' is not switched on, Sarah Cracknell misses her cue on 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart', quickly turning into something resembling All About Eve's infamous Top of the Pops performance and Sarah introduces the closing song as 'I Was Born on Christmas Day' only for 'He's on the Phone' to start instead. Bar a nice touch with an acoustic 'You're in a Bad Way', Sarah's vocals are rather flat and the whole performance is rather embarrassing. A shame.

Thankfully The Go Team! more than make up for it. Their sample-heavy 70s cop drama theme meets Sesame Street guitars are perfectly supplemented by the fitness-instructor antics of lead singer Ninja. Ninja constantly engages and involves the crowd, while the band have an amazing energy, leaping around on stage bludgeoning their instruments. Only the random sound levels, rendering many of the samples tinny and loud (and thereby deafening in places), impact the performance in any negative way, but the crowd give The Go Team! the best reaction of the evening.

The best of the Friday is saved 'til last with a tremendous performance from Those Dancing Days. The synth ditties, trebly guitar and throbbing bass and drums work well with the soulful vocals of Linnea Jonsson, and are just what's needed at 2am. The pace is frenetic and never lets up with seemingly the whole crowd dancing along. A delight.

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