Monday, June 04, 2007

Middlesbrough Music Live 2007

Middlesbrough's annual free music festival took place yesterday. Although the line-up didn't feature as many crowd-pleasing names or bands in the early stages of being overhyped in the press as in past years, there was still plenty of stuff to cater for my tastes. Seven stages spread across the town centre with bands on from midday til 10pm, for free. Sometimes you just have to appreciate what's on your doorstep.

The highlight of the whole day for me was undoubtedly St Vincent, who played the acoustic stage. She's definitely my type of songwriter. I love her strange, unpredictable melodies and the way her songs give off an atmosphere of impending weirdness. She was an absolute delight, and it was a privelige to see her. After her it was Euros Childs, another top highlight of the day. I saw him in March at a litle social club in Middlesbrough where he was brilliant, and last night was just the same. His songs sound like nursery rhymes and can't really fail to make you smile. Welford and Ed had joined me by this stage of the day but they had to leave half way through to catch the last train home, which was unlucky. I know how it feels to have to walk out of a gig you're enjoying from when it happened one of the times I saw Patrick Wolf in Sheffield, and it's massively frustrating. Anyway, Frank Turner was excellent too. His quite straightforward acoustic folk-punk songs are brimming with anger, especially the damning but amusing indictment of post-Thatcher child-rearing, 'Thatcher Fucked The Kids'. Oh, and Beth Jeans Houghton was fantastic aswell - listen to her.

I saw too many bands to mention here, but those were the highlights. A local festival wouldn't be a local festival without some local bands, and The Chapman Family were the pick of the bunch. It was the first time I've got round to seeing them, despite the fact I've been listening to them for a while. Of course, I saw some shite too. I watched Tony Christie for about ten minutes, which would've actually been quite fun except the sound was too quiet and he was outside on the main stage in the beaming sun. I preferred to retreat off to the cavernous indoor venues for most of the day. All in all it was a great day out, and a far more pleasant atmosphere than in usual. MML has gained a bit of a reputation as a place for teenagers to turn up, get hammered, and start fighting, as is often the way with free festivals. But a new security fence and ban on people bringing their own crates of beer really made a difference as far as I could see. I think it's probably best to coerce The People gently with - rather than an iron fist - a steel fence. Yesterday was proof, if proof be need be needbe.


Anonymous Jimi said...

I'm happy you got to see Frank Turner, I remember rather drunkenly telling you about him at ATP... Ah, it's things like Mbro Music Live that make me wish I wasn't such a big Teesside deserter

June 05, 2007 9:51 am  
Blogger D.B. said...

Great stuff. Quite gutted I had to miss it. I would've especially liked to see Frank Turner, a recent discovery to me. Could I copy this onto the PRT blog? It's a good report. (Only if you're willing, of course)

June 05, 2007 2:29 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

Jimi - I remember us talking about him at ATP, and me not realising I actually knew who you meant until you mentioned Million Dead about 13 minutes into the conversation. Anyway, he was great, as I've already written. Some good, caustic between song banter. Shame you missed out, but then again as a man who only returns to Teesside for major religious festivals such things are bound to happen.

DB - I'll write a slightly tweaked one for PRT later this evening, with more of a local slant. It'll be better and more suited, and indeed booted.

June 05, 2007 6:21 pm  
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