Friday; One sharp shower all weekend otherwise the sun shone on what must have been the largest End of The Road Festival ever. End of the Road is getting very familiar in Rock club circles now, this being our fifth visit, in the row.. No obvious changes to the lay out of the site which was at capacity over the weekend. Rumoured headcount was around the 14,000 mark and I am pretty sure everyone had a cracking time.
We started off with the ‘Man in White’, Mark Mulcahy was in fine form and with his band mates who got the Garden stage crowd engaged for the length of their set, even the animal noises were fun. Talking of fun, Allo Darlin were in fine fettle next up. Braids were running late because of an accident on the M3 so, they only got a thirty minute set in the Big Top tent but, even with 30 minutes they were still able to show their class.
Matthew E.White and band have had a phenomenal rise to popularity out of nowhere this year and packed out the Garden stage whose audience were soon into the groove. Eels were the best band in shell suits I have ever seen. In your face, rocking’ set, just the thing as darkness approached and the rain shower faded and the rainbow came out.
There is obviously no doubting the musical prowess of David Byrne and
Saturday; and the Garden stage area was full even before the first band came on (a sign of the larger capacity perhaps), That first band turned out to be the delightful Americana harmonies of Yorkshire’s Fossil Collective, followed by Producer – Singer/songwriter, Ethan Johns then, a superb set of songs about depression from Night Beds.
Juliana Barwick is another artist to lie on the grass in the sunshine to listen to rather than, stand in a crowded hot tent, where there is no opportunity to close your eyes and drift off to her delicate vocal layers. Shame.
The Leisure Society put on a great set on the Woods Stage. Full of three albums worth of wonderful songs. Full of fun and full of joy. The band were joined by the Willkommen Collective to finish off their set.
Warpaint with their magical groove followed next. New songs sounding as hypnotic as the more established ones, this was a really classy set and just right before the evening headliners, Sigur ros. A full two hour show from the mighty Icelanders was nothing less than spectacular in both sound and vision.
Sunday; drew the usual partial emptying of the campsite with some people packing up for an evening get-a-way and a slight lessing of numbers on the site as the day wore on. An early morning Belle & Sebastian sound check gave us in Stuart Murdoch’s words “B&S greatest hits in 30 minutes” which was a charming way to start the day.
Sunday was a ‘chilled’ day, Frontier Ruckus gained a lot of praise on the site for their Woods Stage performance as did The Barr Brothers with their strain of
Timothy Showalter otherwise know as Strand of Oak gave us a Crazy Horse eqse set with his drummer in the Tipi tent. A real rocker, it was a shame to see so many people sitting down during his set.
Heartless Bastards put in a very solid stint for their first
A big highlight of the festival was a thumping set at dusk from Frightened Rabbit, leading the Scottish main stage take-over with Belle and Sebastian headlining. This B&S booking was a masterstroke. All the hits, Stuart Murdoch and Stevie Jackson brought all the songs and bags of charm. The festival finished on a real high.
Superb late night shows from the Barr Brothers and Caitlin Rose in the Tipi tent. Indeed Caitlin’s show “My most candid in 5 years” was a fun filled 35 minutes in the early hours of Monday morning. In typical Caitlin style, battling a sore throat with red wine and “sounding like a truck driver” (her words), the songs still sounded superb and the banter, hilarious!
So another End of the Road festival has been and gone and as usual was thoroughly enjoyable. The headliners were bigger; the crowd was bigger so next year perhaps a return to the festival’s boutique roots? Unlikely.