Rain soaked sing-alongs, inadequate camping equipment and mud (glorious mud); seems I’m getting the full festival experience. It’s pretty exciting too. I’m a tent down and have to sort a lift home for tomorrow but I’m completely immersed in the festival. Maybe I am ‘the outdoor type’ after all. I head towards the arena to see what Kendal Calling has in store for me today.
People go to festivals for a number of reasons. Some, as a good friend of mine so eloquently put it, just want to “eat chips and fall over” while others are there to take in as much music as humanly possible. Now, I enjoy chips as much as the next man (I’m not a monster) but I definitely fall into the latter category. Luckily for me, there’s plenty of music to get stuck into at Kendal Calling.
“I lied about being the outdoor type/I’ve never owned a sleeping bag/ let alone a mountain bike”, sang Evan Dando sometime back in the nineties. Now, while I have in fact owned both of those items, it’s a sentiment that’s still very close to my heart. A good festival is the only way I’ll be persuaded to head into a field with a tent. Yes, the time has come for me to visit the much-loved Kendal Calling.
Downstairs at Hyde Park Book Club on a hot and sweaty day, the venue completely sold out and deservedly so. The anticipation around tonight’s performance is palatable. Miranda Arieh will play bigger venues then this but it feels like the ideal place to finally launch her astonishing debut album, Ferine. It’s an intimate setting where Arieh can reach out, meet us eye-to-eye and really communicate with the crowd.
It’s about an hour before the gig and The Bug aka Kevin Martin is already on fire. Well, the equipment is anyway. Turns out, Martin’s soundcheck was loud enough to set a bass bin alight. Good job I remembered to pack my earplugs.
Truth be told, I’ve never been much of one to “jump to the beat of the party line” and for this, the world should be grateful. So when Belle & Sebastian’s slot at the 2019 edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival was billed as “Performing If You’re Feeling Sinister” it was beyond compelling. Real life got in the way of attending all of the three day Chicago based festival, but the Saturday lineup was one not to be missed.
- Mark Moody
Singer-songwriter Jeffrey Lewis is one of those artists that embodies’ the ‘indie spirit’. He released homemade cassettes in the late nineties, has made a number of albums for Rough Trade, championed underground music at every turn and has still found time to self-publish an ongoing comic book series. He’s in the UK touring with his band Los Bolts and tonight they roll into the iconic main room at The Brudenell Social Club.
Catching a show by legendary alternative rockers The Breeders would probably strike most people as a more than solid way to spend a Saturday night in Chicago. But when that aforementioned band is being hosted at the House of Vans in the West Loop as part of their House of Vans Parties concert series, it elevates the occasion from what otherwise might just be a casual night out, to a distinctly awesome experience.
- Zach Johnson (Texacaliago)
Last year’s Membranes and Friends event was on one of the hottest days of the year; I remember feeling mildly guilty about spending the majority of the day inside. Today offers no such conflict of interest as it’s absolutely miserable outside. Manchester looks more familiar in the rain. Fashionably decked out in waterproof trousers, I head into the Ritz for a little shelter and another brilliant line-up.
You might not be familiar with the work of New York singer-songwriter Willie Nile (I wasn’t until recently) but you really should be. Go back to the 70’s and 80’s and you’ll find Nile immersed in the Greenwich Village folk scene and the burgeoning punk scene of CBGB’s. Nile is always there, an ever-present songwriting force; one part folk troubadour, one part punk.
Ten years ago heartbreak helped inspire The Sleeper; the debut album by Brighton’s The Leisure Society. Fast-forward to 2019 and songwriter Nick Hemming is on stage at The Brudenell Social Club explaining how the new album, Arrivals and Departures, came from a very similar set of circumstances.