So we’re down to just one more day of music to go at Bowlie 2. *Boo hoo*. Sunday seemed to be a much more laid back affair as opposed to the day before. The afternoon we decided to skip to Vashti Bunyan and to head for the much belated Pizza Hut buffet. That’s right, we’ve been waiting three days for this and it finally had come to suffice. Ultimately it would become the only meal I’d eat all day baring the odd piece of fruit. But I’ll stop talking about food get back to the main topic of this review.
The first group I wanted to catch were Glaswegian’s Sons & Daughters on the pavilion stage. Who I personally think are a much underrated band who have been writing simple but effective pop songs for the best part of a decade. How they have only had ONE top 40 single is beyond me, and that only managed to scrape in at number 40 in the charts! Anyway, unfortunately I missed the latter stages of their set to catch the second half of Tottenham Hotspur vs Chelsea in the sports bar. Did I make the right choice? Probably not, but oh well.
Next up were Scottish heroes The Vaselines who were simply brilliant. Not only was it a set full of sing-along Indie classics but the onstage banter between Francis McKee & Eugene Kelly with the audience was on par with Shellac and Future of the Left. I didn’t think they would be as enjoyable as they turned out to be but I left feeling a bit overwhelmed. Their set comprised of a mixture of early favourites and tracks from their new album ‘Sex With an X’, was more vibrant than expected. Ending their set with the upbeat dance anthem (to me it is) ‘You Think You’re a Man’ was a joy to behold.
My first venture to the centre stage on Sunday wasn’t until 7.30pm and that was to catch Laetita Sadier. I’ll have to be honest I’d yet to really listen to much of her solo work and I knew not to expect any Stereolab-esque tunes or covers. She was definitely the most intimate artist of the entire weekend. The set up was simply Sadier, an acoustic guitar, and her beautifully French voice and humour. Topics such as her music, 10 year old son and social issues that she seemed passionate about were frequently discussed between songs. I had almost lost sense of what was going on around me, and her debut solo record ‘The Trip’ is an album destined to be purchased.
Headlining the pavilion stage on the final day were Belle & Sebastian favourites Camera Obscura. Bowlie 2 was indeed the perfect festival for them and I think a large quantity of the festival participants were aware of that. In a sense I felt a slightly out of place at a Camera Obscura show. As much as I enjoyed their performance it seemed that everybody else around me knew all the words to every song where as I only really recognised the big favourites. However, they went down a storm, and it’s fair to say that the vast majority of the audience left in a buoyant mood.
Next up. A tribute band! That’s right, I’m not stuck in some Somerset pub with the local resident Sunday night house band, and this was All Tomorrows Parties festival with a Beatles tribute band, aptly titled Them Beatles. Makes sense a bit though really, its 10pm and people are exhausted from three days of partying and are in need of a musical pick me up. To be fair to Them Beatles, they got the crowd going and were actually quite similar sounding to that original 1960’s pop group you may have heard of. Musically, and even speaking in Liverpudlian accents referring each other to their on stage characters. A set split in 2 halves, with the first being the early era, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’, ‘Please Please Me’ etc with the second being ‘Sgt Peppers’ ‘Let It Be’, and White Album, with the appropriate costume changes in between adding a nice touch.
Having caught a 10 minute glimpse of Zoey Van Goey, I think we felt perhaps they were a bit too laid back for a midnight slot. Shame they didn’t perform earlier in the day as I feel they had some nice sounds and definitely the potential to gain some mainstream success and would have stuck around longer otherwise.
I feel its worthy of a mention for the DJ set at the Reds stage during the latter stages of the evening. Being on the same dancefloor as Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand, the DJ’s awkwardly played ‘Take Me Out’ unaware that Kapranos was right there. However, I cannot believe it took me until after the event to realise that the man DJing that slot was ex-Chelsea and Scotland football legend Pat Nevin! Just a shame I didn’t spot the great man once during the duration of this weekend.
So all that was left of us to endure was the long Monday morning journey back to London, coupled with the mandatory post ATP depression. I’ll have to admit I was less psyched about the build up to this weekend as I have been with others but it turned out to be as consistent as ATP festivals can be. Here is to Bowlie weekender 2020!
Words: Freddy Rothman