Friday, October 3

End of the road Festival 2008

In his BLog "Stereo Sanctity", Ben has reviewed the End of the road Festival which was held at the Larmer Tree Gardens in beautiful North Dorset inthe UK. Among a large amount of artists featuring Mercury Rev, Billy Childish and others, British Sea Power did a complete set of Jonathan covers. Here is the "Stereo Sanctity" report about the event but the report on the full festival can be found "here".

Speaking of which, perhaps the best moment of the whole festival goes as follows; after midnight on the Saturday, and we’re all a bit flagging energy-wise (well, I am anyway), looking for something fun to keep us going… so we’re crammed into this packed tent where apparently some kinda (clearly not very) secret musical happening is going to be a-transpiring. So, hey, apparently it’s some guys from British Sea Power and some of their pals and, with no disrespect intended to them as a band, this does not really fill me with faith in imminent good times… BUT, they take the stage, and they say, hello, we’re going to be playing a set of Jonathan Richman covers. And they do!

You know that feeling, when you’re in a situation of some kind – in this case, an unknown musical unit setting up to play - and you think ‘who knows, maybe something fun will happen here – prob’ly not, but you never know’, and then the universe knocks you flat by presenting you with something so, so, so, so, so much more fun than you could possibly have expected? Like, the absolute PERFECT thing you want to happen at that moment? – well it was a bit like that. They mostly did stuff of the first couple of post-Modern Lovers solo records – ‘New England’ and ‘Ice Cream Man’ and ‘Government Center’ and ‘The New Teller’ and ‘Important In Your Life’ and ‘Abominable Snowman In the Market’ and ‘Martian Martians’, as well as ‘Cornerstore’ and ‘The Girl Stands Up To Me Now’ from later in the great man’s career, and probably a bunch of others, I forget. ‘I’m A Little Airplane’ went down a storm too – I mean, it’s never really been a favourite of mine on record, but the appeal of getting drunk and yelling along at the top of your voice to a song that mostly goes “WANGITY-WANG!, WANGITY-WANG!” is never to be underestimated. And, moving from the ridiculous back to the sublime as only Jonathan can, they did ‘The Morning Of Our Lives’, absolutely note/word perfect to the version on ‘Modern Lovers Live’! I could have wept. I think I probably did. I think I might weep again now, just writing about it.

Go and do whatever you do, British Sea Power guys – even if you release twenty six albums of fascist speeches and reversed dog barks, I’ll love you forever for pulling this one out of the hat.

Ben Haggar

Thanks are due to Ben for having kindly given the authorization to reproduce his text and to my friend JC Brochard for having pointed out this review.

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