Thursday, 30 December 2010

All Tomorrows Parties - Bowlie 2 - Friday Butlins, Minehead 10/12/10

So here it is, officially the first day of Bowlie 2. Whilst approximately 6,000 music lovers were making their journey from various destinations across Europe to Minehead, the Middle Boop team were already lying in our chalets nursing the first of a potential four hangovers this weekend. In the midst of all this we decided to have a little wonder around Butlins, in the hope that Pizza Hut would be open for some brunch. It wasn’t. Nor was any other food outlet for that matter. It was quite flabbergasting how quiet it was, with the only other beings on site seemed to be staff of the leisure park and ATP. Of course it was due to pick up in a matter of hours, so we thought we’d head on a mini journey to the hustle n bustle of the Minehead streets, in search of a cafe/pub/chip shop or anything that would basically serve us a large greasy meal. Instead we settled on the one open pub we could find open at 12pm, which name escapes me. Waiting until they started serving food, a mixed grill for £5.95 I think was a bloody good deal, and you may be thinking there’s something dodgy about that. There probably was.

As bands weren’t due to begin until 4.45 we spent the hours leading up till then drinking and watching the brilliant Shane Meadows documentary film ‘Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee’ on ATP TV. We then decided to head up to the arena to catch the opening act of the weekend Daniel Kitson & Gavin Osborn. In typical atp tradition they showcase acts not from the norm and provided us with a nice, albeit bizarre start to the weekend. Kitson told us spoken word tales reading short stories from what I assumed was his book. He spoke rather elegantly without a duff word in hearing. This accompanied by Osborn serenading us with acoustically sung folky melodies in between. Ideal for an opening act, but perhaps would have been more ideal opening the Saturday or Sunday.

The next act on the centre stage were one of the bands I’d been most looking forward to all weekend, Best Coast. Opening with (I think, I could be wrong I saw a lot of bands this weekend)‘Each and Everyday’, Beth Consentino and co ploughed their way through hits from this year’s outstanding debut LP ‘Crazy For You’. Best Coast, a band I’ve had countless opportunities to see in 2010, however this was the first time I’ve managed to catch them, just in the nick of time before the year is out, and glad about that too!

Next up for me were The Zombies, again on the centre stage. Apparently this band have been going since the 1960’s, which me not knowing that shows how much (or little) I know considering I write about music! I’m rather careless when it comes to ancient pop groups strumming away to old tracks from yesteryear. However, these old boys were a lot of fun, getting the near capacity crowd into a sing-a-long frenzy, myself included. Considering I originally thought I knew nothing about them, I didn’t realise how many songs they play I did actually know.

Despite personally not being a huge fan of the latest Foals album, ‘Total Life Forever’, the Oxford quintet are still one of the most energetic, charismatic live bands out there. Headlining the pavilion stage on the Friday night really shows how far they have come since I saw them play tiny clubs and smaller stages at other music festivals. They still manage to own the crowd but this time on a much larger scale, replacing the quick, sharp, mathy numbers with epic anthems from both albums, where tracks such as ‘Olympic Airwaves’ and ‘Balloons’ failing to look out of place amongst their current stage set up. These boys deserve to be playing in front of massive crowds and it wouldn’t surprise me to find Foals playing main stage sunset slots at UK festivals next year.

Back to the chalet before The Go! Team, who I’ve got to be honest, aren’t usually my cup of tea. Yet somehow, this is the third time I’ve seen these guys live, and every time I leave thinking to myself “actually that was pretty darn good”. On this occasion it was probably the best of the three as this was a more intimate affair (compared to others, being Bestival main stage [2005], and pavilion stage at ATP vs The Fans [2007]). Live, these guys are just so tight and danceable with Ninja again justifying herself as one of the best frontwomen around.

Unfortunately, I missed the first half of Steve Mason. However, I did manage to catch a good 20 minutes of his set. As ever, Mason was on top form, be it on his own, or with his backing band, even treating us to a stunning rendition of The Beta Band track ‘Dr Baker’.

Lastly the 1.30am slot belonged to Swedish female four-piece Those Dancing Days. I’ve got to admit I was feeling slightly sluggish at this hour but that didn’t stop them owning the centre stage, despite such a late slot. Wowing the crowd with new songs as well as tracks from their debut LP ‘In Our Space Hero Suits’, my personal highlights from them had to be their rendition of new single ‘Fuckarias’. However, what really impressed their loyal audience and I, was the cameo from Belle & Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch. Lead singer Linnea J├Ânsson would subsequently return the favour the following evening during B&S’ set.

So with the bands over with for one day it was tunes and dancing in Crazy Horse, then bed. Even though for us at the time it felt like more than halfway through the festival this was in fact only the beginning. And if you thought day one was good, it was going to get better.

Words: Freddy Rothman
Photos : Linz Smith and Gordon Reid

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