Sunday, August 05, 2007

'Bring On The Dancing Horses...

...wherever they may roam'.

Bunnymen

This night, I have been to witness Echo And The Bunnymen appear live at Stockton Fringe Festival, where they were quite superb, what with all their timeless indie classics and bouffant hair. I found it extremely heartwarming to watch them reel off an effective Greatest Hits set with justified shamelessness. They exist as an Ode to a lost era of indiedom, when bands were far more lastingly iconic than most can hope to be today, and when I was but a linen-encompassed bundle of irritance, i.e. a baby. 'Bring On The Dancing Horses', 'The Cutter' and 'Killing Moon' were undoubted highlights, and worked up the crowd (a blend of forty-somethings harking back to their youths and fresh-faced types still plotting theirs) until, staggeringly, a security bloke set about telling them to "calm down". He even pointed down to the ground while saying it, the daft cretin.

Stockton Fringe is a free, three day festival arranged alongside Stockton International Riverside Festival, the street arts shindig. Although, in reality, the Fringe was probably a bigger event this year thanks to a more high profile line-up than it's had previously. Friday was headlined by The Ordinary Boys and Saturday by Badly Drawn Boy. Hardly inspiring stuff in my view of course, but much like Middlesbrough Music Live, free events like this have to be appreciated when they're on your doorstep. I went down on Saturday and Sunday with Welford and we had a ruddy good time on the site by the Tees, which, with its slow, soulful curve through Stockton, we agreed was highly reminsicent of the Seine as it cuts through Paris. But with less tree-lined quays and more stark concrete façades.

One of the best things about events like this is that some of the better local bands get a chance to play bigger stages. I'm very fond of Middlesbrough's own Idiot Savant. They're dark, harsh and manage to sound both tuneful and tuneless at the same time, which is something I always quite like. They're a very good band, and could be a great band if they'd just all stand up.

Idiot Savant


We Start Fires are from Darlington, which is never nice, but they managed to make a bit more of a name for themselves nationally and are always good to see live [photo]. More recently, East Cleveland's Dartz! [photo] have also been getting a bit of a national following and, although I generally find that kind of slightly-emo (whatever that is) tinged pop nuggets slightly uninspiring, it's obvious they're talented. The weekend also saw us take in a couple of woeful stand-up comedians, the worst of whom was a woman from Yorkshire who tried to crack a succession of vagina gags to an early evening family crowd, with an annoyingly high-pitched delivery. She fell a bit flat and was well and truly flapping by the end.

14 Comments:

Blogger D.B. said...

Great stuff. Nice pics too. Any chance you could hammer out a review (based on this one if you like) for inclusion in the next issue of the zine?

August 06, 2007 1:31 pm  
Anonymous Jimi said...

Hi Pad. Wow, to think I missed all this... quelle loser (even more so since I just said 'quelle loser'). I was sorry to miss Echo and the Bunnymen actually, instead I went to a 'free' festival in Manchester (which actually cost £3 to get in). Maps played. Not a patch on Ian McCulloch et al. though I reckon... Did they play 'Lips Like Sugar'? Were there any fights?

August 06, 2007 2:51 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

Yes D.B., I certainly shall. Let me know when you'll need it by.

They ended with 'Lips Like Sugar', Jimi, and it was very good indeed. And of course, being Stockton, fights were always just on the horizon, but it was actually relatively placid. I think the policy of not letting drinks in and charging extortionate fees for cans of beer does the trick.

August 06, 2007 6:04 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

Also, there was no sign of a 50-strong horde of angry youths charging through the site before being detained by Police, like last year when you were there. So that was an improvement.

August 06, 2007 6:41 pm  
Blogger D.B. said...

Cheers Paddy. Within the next week or so would be great if you could do it. I'm gonna continue with the Modern Lonely's roving reporter: Mr Incident-style vibe if that's okay by you ;) And a little bit about the vibe of the festival in general would be nice too.

there was no sign of a 50-strong horde of angry youths charging through the site before being detained by Police, like last year

That sounds bloody awful. What is it about these idiots? Apparently exactly the same thing happened at the Durham Miners Gala last month. It was predictable, which is why I didn't attend. It's a sad state of affairs which sometimes makes me wonder whether we're heading towards the same kind of violent, polarised society that we hear about from old punks who endured constant street violence back in the 70s.

August 06, 2007 8:16 pm  
Blogger Paddy said...

To be fair, that specific incident last year was more bizarre than threatening in any way. Nobody knew what they were running from, or where to, but it wasn't an attack or anything - probably just the old Stockton testosterone pumping for no apparent reason, as it tends to. I'll try and send the article later this week.

August 06, 2007 11:49 pm  
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