Bowlie 2 curated by Belle & Sebastian - Day 3 - Butlins, Minehead

by Steve Rhodes Rating: Release Date:

Sandwiched in between swimming and crazy golf activities on the Sunday afternoon is a rare appearance for the folky whimsy of elder stateswoman Vashti Bunyan. With the backing of guitar, violin, keys and flute, Vashti's shanties are reminiscent of a children's version of The Wicker Man, albeit with a happy ending. Though Vashti announces that many songs are about heartbreak she does so with a cheery aplomb. The set though is often subjected to an annoying buzz from a band soundchecking below.

The highlight of Sunday is the fuzzed up sleaziness of The Vaselines, whose numbers often resemble The Cramps, albeit with an angelic halo. With 'Rory Rides Me Raw' summing up the lyricism and great smutty banter between Frances and Eugene, mostly about imagining sex with each other and how crap it was, The Vaselines are a delightful antidote to the sometimes insufferable tweeness of the weekend. The Vaselines are more like the dirty aunt and uncle of Belle & Sebastian, sleazy even during their most angelic jangly numbers, with more humour that the rest of the weekend's acts put together.

A close run contender for highlight of the day comes from a solo performance from Stereolab's chanteuse Laetitia Sadier. Armed with just an electric guitar, rather than the Moogs and bleeps of her erstwhile band, Laetitia's plaintive, gimmick-less songs of introspection are beautiful and serene. While appearing to be rather vulnerable and awkward on stage, her confident voice and polite mannerisms see her through.

C'mon Tracey-Anne crack a smile, you're headlining! Camera Obscura are the main act on Sunday night and the Belle & Sebastian B Team spin some nice yarns, but they are sadly rather inert, not helped by the reluctance of their frontwoman to engage. While 'Eighties Fan', 'Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken' and 'French Navy' all hit the mark with the audience, the plodding numbers and the lifelessness of the band mean that the performance feels more like a drag and boredness sets in far too easily.

So Bowlie 2 in summary: a successful if a rather predictable ATP festival, which would have benefited from a little more variety or surprise, but still it was well worthy of attendance.

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