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

by Steve Rhodes Rating: Release Date:

It's an early start on the Saturday for Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan's delicate balance of breathy dulcet tones and gravelly, wistful deep-throated vocals, but Saturday's highlight is to be had immediately after them. Edwyn Collins, with Teenage Fanclub as his backing band, is a revelation. Opening with 'Losing Sleep', there is an air of vulnerability about him, with his disability a result of his long and difficult recovery from illness, but he is charming and full of jangling soul. Plunging deep into both his solo and Orange Juice back catalogue and with guest stars popping up (Ryan Jarman from The Cribs and half of Franz Ferdinand), Edwyn belts out his glorious vocals in numbers such as 'Rip It Up', 'A Girl Like You' and 'What is My Role', to an ecstatic audience. A surprise encore of 'Blue Boy' is enchanting and the audience leaps to a standing ovation and prolonged applause at the close. A triumph.

Struggling to follow downstairs is the enigmatic Julian Cope. Seemingly dressed as Zodiac Mindwarp and armed with just a guitar, Julian feels oddly out of place but also seems to fit perfectly, perhaps summing up his whole career.

I was sadly too late in discovering Galaxie 500 shortly after they split, which is why I'm very excited to see lead singer Dean Wareham performing the songs of his old outfit, nearly 20 years after they broke up. 'Snowstorm' and 'Blue Thunder' typify the band, with Dean's delicate and frail vocals being supplemented by subtle, spacey guitars and lots of high end bass. With understated quietness being the way forward they occasionally break out into cacophony such as on 'Don't Let Our Youth Go to Waste', and close with their definitive version of the much covered 'Ceremony'.

As the dark sets in Wild Beasts again enthral with their often operatic and cinematic performance. With chiming guitars and the dual lead vocal/falsetto of Hayden Thorpe and the more soulful vocals of Tom Fleming, Wild Beasts enchant the audience, particularly on stand outs 'We Still Got the Taste Dancing on Our Tongues' and 'Two Dancers'.

Following the interesting XTC meets prog time-changes of the now five-piece Field Music, the main event is upon us. Belle & Sebastian, though, are slow-starters with early numbers including 'A Century of Fakers' failing to induce the subdued crowd. Finally, however, after a rapturous 'Sukie in the Graveyard' and a delightful 'Stars of Track and Field' the audience wake up and B&S are in their element. Inviting audience members to dance (badly) during 'The Boy with the Arab Strap, closing the main set with the infectious 'Sleep the Clock Around' and unveiling Monica Queen to duet on encore 'Lazy Line Painter Jane', B&S seal a decent but inconsistent set, but they fail to match previous Saturday night ATP headliners such as Pavement and Sonic Youth.

Due to Franz Ferdinand insisting on playing upstairs, Jenny and Johnny enjoy perhaps their biggest audience ever, though their music veers wildly from bog-standardd guitar and roll, scarily reminiscent of 'Acky Breaky Heart' on the opener, to an improved few numbers, aping in places Ryan Adams and Juliana Hatfield. The not-so-secret act Franz Ferdinand are on next with a short set oozing confidence and cool. Surprisingly omitting 'Take Me Out', 'Darts of Pleasure' and 'Do You Wanna', Franz Ferdinand deliver a set almost worthy of their Talking Heads idols, particularly on the subversive 'Michael' and closer 'Jacqueline', but the shortness leaves the audience rather bemused and demanding more, which is sadly not forthcoming.

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