Thursday, 30 September 2010

Indietracks - 23 - 25 July 2010, Midland Railway Centre

Oh look, my Indietracks review has been sitting half-writ on a memory stick for ages. Waste not, want not though, now the dark nights are drawing in, let’s relive the summer. Yeah. That’s what we’re doing.


Woo! We are going for all three days of Indietracks this year. Checking in at our Premier Inn (ooh! get us!) there’s time to greet The Specific Heats who have just arrived back from a fruitless laundrette search before we zoom of into the gauzy haze of a sunkissed July eve in search of pop thrills. A few hundred metres up the road from the Indietracks site, one of our car windows explodes. We stand disconsolate by a pile of shattered glass whilst insurance thingies are sorted. Then return to the Travel Inn, pop-free. Doh!


We get in a steamtrain ride first thing, listening awhile to The Lime Chalks delicate folky songs before settling in a carriage to watch the fields trundle by in the sunshine and to suffer an allergy attack seemingly brought on by the comfy old furnishings.

Back at the festival The Hillfields are opening proceedings on the Indoor Stage with their solid fare of moody jangle – a bit Chameleons-ish in parts? Respect to Rob Hillfield for his acapella vocals on ‘Canvey Island Queen’ – quite a shivery spine moment.

Next, a discovery. The Felt Tips, who I have down as a band to investigate, turn out to be great. Twangly, spangly guitars (alright, they jangle) race by and snatch your heart, Scottish accented vocals sing entertaining stories. With rudeness! There is also touching hilarity to be found in ‘Dear Morrissey’, the story of a fading hero, sung in the style of that hero, “At a rate that’s inverse to your increasing girth, I am losing my interest in you”.

Over on the Main Stage, This Many Boyfriends are EXCITED. They have party poppers and do half-arsed jumps, but we have to wriggle away from their shamblerific funpop to ensconce ourselves on a wooden pew for double church fun. First up: The Give It Ups with their nonsense, sweetly embarrassed indie-popping.

Then it’s Betty And The Werewolves. Due to the band being so ace, loadsa people want to be in the church now, but have to make do with peering sad-eyed through the windows. As ever, B and the Ws are heartwrenchingly, skyscrapingly, joyfully marvellous. They are Happy! They are Noisy! and Fast! with oh so many Tunes, and they still manage to jump up and down despite quite severe space constrictions.

We rush out of church to get all teary over The Just Joans. Like The Felt Tips, they trade in wry Caledonian vulgarity, but have a satisfying swaying-down-the-pub maudlinism, especially on the bitter-sweet likes of ‘I Won’t Survive’ and of course set closer ‘What Do We Do Now’. We all sing along with gusto “The bands we loved are dead!” (this isn’t strictly true, as the bands we loved keep peskily reforming – see tonight’s headliners) and truly, there is nary a dry eye in the house by the end.

Oddly, we then see The Smittens doing their cover of ‘What Do We Do Now’ during their main stage set. Cleverly, the Main Stage has the effect of making everyone who plays thereon sound fantastic. And so it is with The Smittens tooth-dazzlingly upbeat pop.

We laze about on the grass to The Orchids. I only ever got round to buying their first seven inch (‘cos it was on Sarah, natch), so I am a little behind on their oeuvre (Oh and there’s that flexi with The Sea Urchins). Luckily they have the good grace to play tracks from that very disc, so I can feel nostalgic to the sounds of ‘Underneath The Window, Underneath The Sink’. Later, I start feeling cold to the sounds of Ballboy and so enjoy their set from a nice chair in a thoughtfully constructed gazebo/library by the tea stall.

Boo! Love Is All have pulled out of their Indoor Stage headliner spot. Hurrah! Tender Trap have stepped in and are thumpingly, tune-bouncingly good fun. One of Amelia’s small daughters can be spotted at the side of the stage singing along with gusto, whilst her mum leads the girl-group charge tambourine ahoy amidst the chunky stand-up drumming and fizzing guitars. We think it’s all over, but there’s an encore. And it’s Talulah Gosh’s ‘My Best Friend’. Aeeeeiiii!!! My friend, T, literally sprints from the bar to the front screaming (T is a man in his 40s) whilst I sing along at the top of my lungs. We are the ghosts of indiepop past!

Having enjoyed their fat men moshing Scala set earlier in the year, I stand at the front for The Primitives. Oh look, I just happen to be standing directly in front of Paul Court and his excellent taste in shirts and pointy boots and cord jeans and argh! What’s that moustache thing?! As a ‘bystander’ suggests, Court is wearing “the facial hair of a man called Raoul”. This ruins my enjoyment of proceedings slightly, as does the sensation that the band are maybe not that comfortable with their headlining status. Still, all the old faves are there to be sung along to gleefully. And Paul Court is still cool. If I squint a bit.


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