Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings

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On Thursday the bath-time lovelies at Lush supported one of my great loves, case troche by staging Climate Rush themed picnics outside all 89 of their UK stores.

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As was detailed by Cari in a previous post, unhealthy my local Lush store just happens to be in Liverpool Street Station. Chosen as the flagship store for this event the picnic was attended by Lush superstar campaigners Sean and Andrew, here who have together helped us out in a very big way.

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I sent the interns ahead on foot and arrived to find a fetching gingham tablecloth – bearing the timely ‘Climate Change is No Picnic’ slogan – being spread and upon it a yummy selection of vegan cake and cookies laid out for passersby to enjoy.

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A trio of violins led by the Rush’s very own Deborah (her of sticky-fingers-in-parliament fame) struck up a tune as the lovely Lush girls, dressed in full Edwardian garb, handed out Trains Not Planes sashes to business men passing by and even managed to engage some climate change denialists in some productive conversation.

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The police, as ever, were present. In fact I swear I recognised one of them from the “Riot Gate” at Kingsnorth during Climate Camp last year. Unlike then, they were eager to smell the soaps (all packaged in recyclable paper – Lush tries not to use excess packaging, just one of the reasons we love ‘em) and chat to the pretty shop girls. I wonder if they’ll be so nice to us on Monday…

As Tamsin did her best to butter up the passersby in those famous suffragette must-haves, fishnet tights and a miniskirt, we were pounced on by a person dressed up as a giant mobile phone.

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A slightly surreal experience to say the least, as the Lush shop girls tried to dress the ungainly thing in some bright red sashes, whilst Sean did his best to engage the phone in conversation about how many times a year it flies. My interns finally arrived and proceeded to pose marvelously for the camera. We’ve been joking that Jonno and Roisin are evil twins – just check them out!

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Over the weekend there has been a flurry of Climate Rush activity, both promotional and creative – we’ve flyered the South Bank twice, and approached friendly looking cyclists left, right and centre.

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It seems that if you ride a bike you are generally a friendly soul, and all of them were happy to hear about Climate Rush bar a particularly unpleasant yuppie couple with a pair of fold out Bromptons that no doubt only see the light of day when the sun shines at the weekend. Fairweather cyclists, who’d have ‘em?!

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In between accosting cyclists we have managed to print a mammoth amount of sexy sashes and flags to attach to the back of bikes.

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I’ve discovered that I can still sew, and managed to knock up 5 pairs of fetching bloomers in record time (just don’t look too closely at the sewing, I was in a hurry okay?!) Made out of red and white striped fabric with lacey ruffles on the legs they look part clown and more than a little bit burlesque, but then whoever said we take the Edwardian theme too seriously?! I can’t wait to see what everyone else dons for out bike ride tomorrow.

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Bring it on…. let’s show the government and big corporations that we won’t let them get away with business as usual when it comes to Climate Change. Collectively we can stop this beautiful world of ours from being buggered over, so make sure you come along and enjoy a stylish Bike Rush with a purpose. This is one cycle ride you’re sure to remember…

Read a past blog about this event here. What do you think about direct action over Climate Change? Let us know your views.
Rowdy – Never Smile at a Crocodile

Sartorial Contemporary Art
26 Argyle Square
London WC1H 8AP
June 4th – June 27th
Open Tues – Sat 1:30 – 7pm or by appointment

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With work described as ‘Ren & Stimpy meets Goldsworthy’, shop this is the first major solo show for Rowdy in London to date. Mixing the Ancient with the Urban, medical Rowdy juxtaposes his trademark playful crocodile sculptures with the modern cityscape jungle. He also produces street art paintings reminiscent of caveman-esque cartoon monoliths.

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Abstract America: New Painting and Sculpture

Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York’s HQ
King’s Road
London
SW3 4SQ
Until 13th September
10am-6pm, illness 7 days a week
Free

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A new generation of radical American abstract painters and sculptors from the US, 35 of them in total, with work both daring and inventive, fresh and exhilarating.

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Aditya Pande

Alexia Goethe Gallery
7 Dover Street, London W1S 4LD
Until 18th July
Monday – Friday 10-6
Saturday 11-4

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New Dehli artist Aditya Pande’s first solo London show draws on both fine and applied art principles. What start as drawings on computer morph into paper prints or canvas creations, and then become starting points for three-dimensional narratives. Frantic, glossy, grand and descriptive.

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Feel The Force

Cafe Gallery
By the Lake, Southwark Park
London SE16 2UA
Until 28th June
Wednesday – Sunday 12 – 6
Free

Maja Bajevic, Benjamin Beker, Astrid Busch, Kate Gilmore, Immo Klink, Susan MacWilliam, James Pogson, Anina Schenker

Curated by Clare Goodwin and Liz Murray

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Inspired by engagement in power and resistance, Feel the Force is a collaborative show from eight international artists and debates the psychological, the political and the physical. Investigating roles of victim and perpetrator, the artists approach the term Force through avenues diverse as obsessional first love and the military.

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The Social Lives of Objects

Castlefield Gallery
2 Hewitt Street
Knott Mill
Manchester M15 4GB
Until 19th July
1-6pm Wednesday-Sunday
Free

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Hilary Jack, Lisa Penny and Dallas Seitz provide insightful examinations of society’s complex and perplexing relationship with material goods, from their beginnings in production to their inevitable obsolescence and decay. Everyday objects are recovered and represented and reinterpreted for our reevaluation of what role ‘stuff’ has in our lives and in our world.

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The Butterfly Effect

ARCH Gallery
15 Resolution Way
Deptford
London SE8 4NT
Until 20th June
Thurs – Sat 12:00 to 5:00pm

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The well-known theory that subtle actions can and will ultimately alter the paths of world disaster is given a makeover by God’s gift to drawing Paul Marks. Using the system to create intricate line drawings in which each line added by hand effects the next one added. The comparisons are as varied as lunar landscapes, overtly sexual and flows of air, smoke or water.

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ARCHIPELAGO – Gemma Anderson

Whitecross Gallery
122 Whitecross St.
London EC1Y 8PU
Until 6. June
Tues – Sat 11 – 6pm or by appointment
Free

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The final week to catch new work from Gemma Anderson including her signature drawings and newer etching work. Dream-like and fantastical depictions of fairies, land and seascapes drawing on her experiences of researching the Natural History archives in Canada, Japan and France her new work doubles as a personal travelogue.


Monday 1st June
Gang Gang Dance and About at Dingwalls, buy more about London
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Gang Gang Dance are one of the most exciting bands around at the moment. They take inspiration from all over the world without erring into the Vampire Weekend‘s at times jarring pseudo-exoticism, by mixing everything through a furore of delay pedals and reverbs, to create a cyclical and danceable freaky electronica. With support from Hot Chip‘s Alexis Taylor’s improv side project About.

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Tuesday 2nd June
Fanfarlo and {Stricken City} at ICA, London.

Amelia’s favourites Anglo-Swedish Fanfarlo, bring their grandiose but whimsical pop to the ICA. With support from {Stricken City}

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Wednesday 3rd June
Post War Years, Milke and My Tiger My Timing at The Lexington, London.

The Lexington reminds me of that friend you had when you were 16 who introduced to lots of awesome bands. Tonight they host Post War Years, Milke, My Tiger My Timing. Come and boogie on down.

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Thursday 4th June
Deolinda and Oliver Man at ICA, London

Get that summer vibe with some Portugese music… Deolinda, an excellent four piece inspired by traditional fado music. Australian Oliver Mann offers support at the ICA.?

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Friday 5th June
Dan Deacon, Future Islands, Teeth Mountain, Adventure at ULU, London.

This Friday, Upset the Rhythm are serving up the finest Baltimore exports since The Wire, with the promise of more bells than Stringer. Dan Deacon headlines at ULU with the Wham CIty Collective, having loved his latest record Bromst with it’s melodic plinky plonky electro noise, I can’t wait to see him live apparently his shows are a sight to behold. He shares the bill with the Baltimore synth-poppers Future Islands, the noisy electro outfit Teeth Mountain, and “game-boy” soul band Adventure.

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Saturday 6th June
Devo at The HMV Forum, London.

Q. Are we not men?
A. No we are Devo.

That’s right! Mega-group Devo play the Forum this Saturday, interestingly and even more awesomely member Mark Mothersbaugh also composes for Wes Anderson. They merge kitschy science fiction and a dark sense of humour- this is truly going be legendary.

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Categories ,Devo, ,Electro, ,Indie, ,Listings, ,London, ,Noise, ,Pop, ,Reverb, ,Sweden, ,Wes Anderson

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Amelia’s Magazine | Interview: Johnny Flynn


A couple of weeks ago, medications I was sifting through work emails and idly wondering how my forthcoming weekend was going to shape up; it seemed to be taking on the familiar pleasures of the default setting – drinks, pilule lazing around Shoreditch Park, case catching a gig or two, having a coffee at Columbia Road flower market; the same old same old essentially, and then an email dropped into my inbox that quickly made me revise my plans. It was from Ben, an old friend of Amelia’s Magazine from French-Music Org, and Liz from Brittany Tourism who were both involved in the French music festival des Vieilles Charrues in Brittany, and wanted to know if Amelia’s Magazine was interested in coming along to check it out. Being a champion of all kinds of festivals, both in England and abroad, but at the same time staying true to the ethics of not flying wherever possible, I was pleased to see that the festival encourages all non-flight forms of travel, and had a good deal with Brittany Ferries worked into one of the ticket packages that also includes transfers to and from the festival. I had a quick look at the line-up, which included performances from Phoenix, Midlake, The Raveonettes, Fanfarlo, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and Julian Casablancas. Then I checked my ipod and saw that apart from a little Francoise Hardy and Charlotte Gainsbourg, it was woefully lacking in French music and decided that this Gallic version of Glastonbury could be my guide to France’s vibrant music scene, especially seeing that Chapelier Fou, Revolver, Indochine, Fefe and the brilliantly named Sexy Sushi were all headlining. So that was that. All I needed to do was grab my trusty pillow and I was off to France! A few hours later, after a bumpy ferry ride that unfortunately took place on the windiest day of the year, I found myself in the picturesque town of Carhaix, home of the festival, and about 45 minutes inland from the coast.


Sune and Sharin of The Raveonettes give us a shock and awe performance.


Watching The Raveonettes with my friends – wet and bedraggled but happy.

It was straight to the festival and to the front of the crowd to watch The Raveonettes do a typically kinetic set of howling, fuzzy guitar riffs, liberally sprinkled with lots and lots of noise. Just how the audience like it. The Danish duo, made up of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are a dark force to reckon with and played an incredibly tight set, featuring songs from their fourth album, In And Out Of Control. I hadn’t see them play before and I came away thinking that the bands waiting in the wings such as Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Castles and Vivienne Girls still have a long way to go before they steal the crowns off of these two. Later I managed to get in some talk time with Sune who refused the offer of dinner with his bandmates in favour of shooting the breeze over mugs of vodka cranberries for a whole hour. (Interview to come in the next few weeks)

The next day, when I was a little less exhausted from twelve straight hours of travelling, and no sleep, I was able to properly explore the festival and see it through renewed eyes. Truth be told, it was refreshing to find myself at an overseas festival. The crowd were relaxed, extremely friendly (stand next to any random group of strangers and within a few minutes you will be conversing away happily in a garbled mix of Franglais) and the FOOD (and drink)! It doesn’t matter how many boutique festivals are springing up over England, festival des Vieilles Charrues trumps us with champagne bars all over the site (to be sipped insouciantly while you watch French rock gods Indochine) and food tents which can provide you cheese plates and fruits de la mer to go with your choice of wine. It being slightly earlier in the day, I was trying out the regional cider which was so tasty it practically made me weep, and made my way over to watch the Fanfarlo set. Unexpectedly, this was probably my favourite performance of the festival. Having toured constantly for the past year (watch the mini documentary on their website which painfully documents their incessant and exhaustion-inducing schedule), the performances of the songs from their 2009 release Reservoir have taken on a whole new level. Each band member seamlessly flitted between a myriad of different musical instruments; no-one ever held onto a guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin or musical saw for more than a few minutes before doing some musical-chairs. I’m not sure how well France was aware of Fanfarlo, but the full audience loved every song they played, and noisily demanded an encore – which unfortunately they didn’t get, but then, the band do only have about twelve songs in their back catalogue.


Fanfarlo talk about life on the road and divulge the little known fact of lead singer Simon’s childhood love of ham radios.


Traditional Breton music. Everyone knew the dance moves but me.

Night time gave me a chance to flit between the bands playing. I watched Midlake, the indie Texans who are fast gaining popularity over on this side of the pond, serenade the audience as the sun set, their hazy Americana sound drifting over the breeze and through the fields. Then it was a hop, skip and a jump to watch Sexy Sushi, the raw Parisian rap of Fefe and – I didn’t see this coming – some traditional Breton music involving some old men, a couple of accordions and a lively crowd who were all versed in the dance moves that accompany the traditional folk style. Then the midnight hour was upon us and the audience was heading in droves to watch Phoenix, who are clearly the prodigal sons of France. I’ve heard before that some of the French don’t appreciate the fact that Phoenix record all of their tracks in English, as opposed to their mother tongue, but there was no such bad feeling in the crowd that stood around me that night, sending waves of love and adulation towards the stage which prompted lead singer Thomas Mars to briefly lie on the stage in slightly dazed wonder at this epic night.

It was frustrating to have to leave on Sunday, as I missed performances by Pony Pony Run Run, Julian Casablancas and Etienne De Crecy, but work commitments dictated an early departure. Nonetheless, I had such a great time that I am already planning next years Festival des Vieilles Charrues (which will be the 20th anniversary of the festival). Brittany was the perfect setting for such a chilled festival, and a welcome addition to the festival calendar.

Way back in 2007, click Amelia’s Magazine was one of the first to recognise the raw talent of a young Johnny Flynn, for sale who won us over with the delicately nuanced themes in his poetic and lyrical songwriting. (The fact that he could wield a Gibson guitar like nobodies business also helped make him alright in our books). Fast forward to today and it’s safe to say that the kid done good. Supporting Mumford & Sons in their upcoming October tour, performing at summer festivals all over the country (including this weekends Cambridge Folk Festival) and collaborating with Laura Marling and Anna Calvi, Johnny has more than established himself in the British folk canon. But Johnny is no one trick pony; his new album Been Listening shows a strong appreciation of musical diversity, and gives respectful nods to early 20th Century blues, African music, and even takes inspiration from Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. His creative streak runs deep, and the animated video for his new single, Barnacled Warship (released August 16th) is a dark dystopia directed by Christian DeVita, lead storyboard artist on Wes Anderson’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ as well as Tim Burton’s forthcoming ‘Frankenweenie’.

So, as you can imagine, we felt that a catch-up with Johnny was long overdue, and so when we were approached by his team to do a video interview, it was only a matter of fighting over which contributor was the biggest fan (the honour went to the lovely Chloe) and then we were ready to go!

Watch the feature for Barnacled Warship here:
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Go to Johnny’s MySpace and website for lots more, including his newly released tour dates.

Categories ,Anna Calvi, ,Been Listening, ,Cambridge Folk Festival, ,Fantastic Mr Fox, ,folk, ,interview, ,Johnny Flynn, ,Laura Marling, ,Mumford& Sons, ,Nu Folk, ,Siddhartha, ,tim burton, ,video, ,Wes Anderson

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Amelia’s Magazine | Noah & The Whale on Film

Having spearheaded the new London folk scene with their debut album, there medical Noah and the Whale are back with their hands full up, releasing a new single, album and film out this summer. We talk school plays, Daisy Lowe, weddings, gardening, Werner Herzog in the studio with the effortlessly charming frontman, Charlie Fink.

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Photos by Katie Weatherall

Amelia’s Mag: You’ve got a whole host of new releases coming up – single, album, film – how are you feeling about it all, happy/nervous/excited?

Charlie Fink: All of the above… I dunno, we did the album so long ago… From the last album, I realised the only satisfying feeling you’re going to get is the feeling you get when you’ve finished it and you think it’s good, that’s the best it gets. Reading a review of somebody else saying it’s good is good to show off to your mum, but it doesn’t really mean anything. Likewise, if there’s something you believe in and someone says it’s bad, you’re still going to believe in it.

AM: And the live shows must add another dimension to that?

CF: Yeah. What I’m excited about really is that this record realises us as a band more than the previous one. So that’s going to be really exciting to go out and play that live to people.

AM: And is there anything in particular that has done this or has it been the natural progression of the band?

CF: It’s a million small things, from us playing together more, us growing up, learning our trade a bit better, from what happens in lives and the records you listen to. I very much try to rely as much as I can on instinct and satisfying myself. And this is not a selfish thing because the only way you can supply something worthwhile to somebody else, is if you’re totally satisfied with it yourself. Doing the right things for us and hoping that’ll transfer to the audience.

AM: Was there anything in particular you were listening to whilst making the record?

CF: The things I’m listening to now are different from the things I was listening to when I wrote the record. When I first started the record, I was listening to ‘Spirit of Eden’ by Talk Talk, which is a different sounding record to what we did. Nick Cave, lots by Wilco

AM: So tell me about the film, ‘The First Days Of Spring’, that accompanies the album (of the same name)… which came first?

CF: The first thing was the idea of a film where the background and the pace was defined by an album. But it totally overtook my whole life. It’s one of those things you start for a certain reason and then you keep going for different reasons. The inspiration was sort of how people don’t really listen to albums anymore, they listen to songs. We wanted to try making an all emersive record where the film puts people into it. We’re not dictating that this should be the only way people listen to music, we just wanted to offer something alternative. On a lot of records these days, you don’t feel like the unity of the album gives it more strength than each individual song. Whereas with this record, the whole thing is worth more than the individual parts. That’s how I see it anyway.

The First Days Of Spring Teaser from charlie fink on Vimeo.

There’s this quote from I think W. G. Collingwood that says, ‘art is dead, amusement is all that’s left.’ I like the idea that this project, in the best possible way, is commercially and in lots of other ways pointless. It’s a length that doesn’t exist. It’s not a short film or a feature, it’s 15 minutes and the nature of it is that it’s entirely led by its soundtrack. It’s created for the sake of becoming something that I thought was beautiful.

AM: And Daisy Lowe stars in it, how was that?

CF: She’s an incredibly nice and intelligent person. I met with her in New York when we were mixing the album and I told her I was doing this film… She was immediately interested. And her gave her the record as one whole track which is how I originally wanted it to be released. Just one track on iTunes that had to be listened to as a whole and not just dipped into. She sent me an email two weeks later, because she’s obviously a very busy person. With her listening to the album, a kind of live feed of what she thought of it. Making a film and having her was really good because she kept me motivated and passionate. She genuinely really took to this project. The whole cast as well, everyone really supported it and it was a pleasure to make. I had to fight to get it made and understood. It’s one of those things that people either passionately disagree with or agree with. From thinking it’s absurdly pretentious or beautiful. Fortunately all the people working on the film were passionate people.

AM: So is film making something you want to continue with?

CF: Yeah, definitely! At some point I’d like to make a more conventional film. The thing that really stuck with me about making a film was surround sound. When you’re mixing a film, you’re mixing the sound in surround because you’re mixing for cinemas. You realise the potential of having five speakers around you as opposed to just two in front of you. The complexity of what you can do is vast. So I’d love to something with that. If you record in surround sound you need to hear it in surround sound, so maybe some kind of installation… Then another film after that…

AM: You’ve been put into a folk bracket with your first album, is that something you’re ok with?

CF: I like folk music, I listen to folk music but then every folk artist I like denies they’re folk. It’s one of those things, it doesn’t really matter. We played last year at the Cambridge Folk Festival and I felt really proud to be a part of that. It’s a real music lovers festival. That was a really proud moment so I can’t be that bothered.

AM: I recently sang your first single, ‘5 Years Time’, at a wedding, do you ever imagine the direction your songs may go after you write them?

CF: Wow. That’s really funny. I’ve had a few stories like that actually. It’s touching but it’s not what I’d imagine.

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AM: Do you write songs in that way? Some bands set out to write a love song, dance song etc…

CF: I can’t really remember how I write… I was writing last night but… do you drive?

AM: I just recently failed my test.

CF: Perfect! Well, you know when you start driving you have to think through everything – put my foot on the clutch, take it off the clutch etc. Then when you’ve been doing it a while, you just do all those things without even knowing you’ve done them. That’s how it feels with songwriting, I can’t really remember doing it. It just happens how it happens. Or like gardening… you’ve just gotta chop through and it’ll come.

AM: Is being in a band everything you imagined it to be?

CF: For me it’s more about being creative. I do some production for people, the band, the writing and now the film. I just love what I do and just keep doing it. I follow it wherever it goes. The capacity I have for doing what I do is enough to make it feel precious.

AM: So are there any untapped creative pursuits left for you?

CF: At the moment what I’m doing feels right. I never had any ambitions to paint. I don’t have that skill. I think film and music have always been the two things that have touched me the most.

AM: So how about acting?

CF: I did once at school when I was 13. I played the chancellor in a play the teacher wrote called ‘Suspense and a Dragon Called Norris.’ Which had rapturous reactions from my mum. I don’t think I could do that either. When you direct though you need to understand how acting works. It’s a really fascinating thing but I don’t I’d be any good at it.

AM: Do you prefer the full creative potential a director has?

CF: The best directors are the ones that build a character. Building a character is as important as understanding it. It needs major input from both the director and the actor. You can’t just give an actor the script and expect it to be exactly right. You need to be there to create the little details. The way they eat, the way they smoke… That’s an important skill.

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At this point, Charlie asks me about a note I’d made on my reporter’s pad, which was actually a reminder about a friend’s birthday present. Which draws the conservation to a close as we recite our favourite Werner Herzog films. Turns out, he shares the same taste in film directors as my friend.

Categories ,daisy lowe, ,folk, ,johnny flynn, ,laura marling, ,noah and the whale, ,pop, ,werner herzog, ,wes anderson

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Amelia’s Magazine | Interview: Johnny Flynn


A couple of weeks ago, medications I was sifting through work emails and idly wondering how my forthcoming weekend was going to shape up; it seemed to be taking on the familiar pleasures of the default setting – drinks, pilule lazing around Shoreditch Park, case catching a gig or two, having a coffee at Columbia Road flower market; the same old same old essentially, and then an email dropped into my inbox that quickly made me revise my plans. It was from Ben, an old friend of Amelia’s Magazine from French-Music Org, and Liz from Brittany Tourism who were both involved in the French music festival des Vieilles Charrues in Brittany, and wanted to know if Amelia’s Magazine was interested in coming along to check it out. Being a champion of all kinds of festivals, both in England and abroad, but at the same time staying true to the ethics of not flying wherever possible, I was pleased to see that the festival encourages all non-flight forms of travel, and had a good deal with Brittany Ferries worked into one of the ticket packages that also includes transfers to and from the festival. I had a quick look at the line-up, which included performances from Phoenix, Midlake, The Raveonettes, Fanfarlo, Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip and Julian Casablancas. Then I checked my ipod and saw that apart from a little Francoise Hardy and Charlotte Gainsbourg, it was woefully lacking in French music and decided that this Gallic version of Glastonbury could be my guide to France’s vibrant music scene, especially seeing that Chapelier Fou, Revolver, Indochine, Fefe and the brilliantly named Sexy Sushi were all headlining. So that was that. All I needed to do was grab my trusty pillow and I was off to France! A few hours later, after a bumpy ferry ride that unfortunately took place on the windiest day of the year, I found myself in the picturesque town of Carhaix, home of the festival, and about 45 minutes inland from the coast.


Sune and Sharin of The Raveonettes give us a shock and awe performance.


Watching The Raveonettes with my friends – wet and bedraggled but happy.

It was straight to the festival and to the front of the crowd to watch The Raveonettes do a typically kinetic set of howling, fuzzy guitar riffs, liberally sprinkled with lots and lots of noise. Just how the audience like it. The Danish duo, made up of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are a dark force to reckon with and played an incredibly tight set, featuring songs from their fourth album, In And Out Of Control. I hadn’t see them play before and I came away thinking that the bands waiting in the wings such as Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Castles and Vivienne Girls still have a long way to go before they steal the crowns off of these two. Later I managed to get in some talk time with Sune who refused the offer of dinner with his bandmates in favour of shooting the breeze over mugs of vodka cranberries for a whole hour. (Interview to come in the next few weeks)

The next day, when I was a little less exhausted from twelve straight hours of travelling, and no sleep, I was able to properly explore the festival and see it through renewed eyes. Truth be told, it was refreshing to find myself at an overseas festival. The crowd were relaxed, extremely friendly (stand next to any random group of strangers and within a few minutes you will be conversing away happily in a garbled mix of Franglais) and the FOOD (and drink)! It doesn’t matter how many boutique festivals are springing up over England, festival des Vieilles Charrues trumps us with champagne bars all over the site (to be sipped insouciantly while you watch French rock gods Indochine) and food tents which can provide you cheese plates and fruits de la mer to go with your choice of wine. It being slightly earlier in the day, I was trying out the regional cider which was so tasty it practically made me weep, and made my way over to watch the Fanfarlo set. Unexpectedly, this was probably my favourite performance of the festival. Having toured constantly for the past year (watch the mini documentary on their website which painfully documents their incessant and exhaustion-inducing schedule), the performances of the songs from their 2009 release Reservoir have taken on a whole new level. Each band member seamlessly flitted between a myriad of different musical instruments; no-one ever held onto a guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin or musical saw for more than a few minutes before doing some musical-chairs. I’m not sure how well France was aware of Fanfarlo, but the full audience loved every song they played, and noisily demanded an encore – which unfortunately they didn’t get, but then, the band do only have about twelve songs in their back catalogue.


Fanfarlo talk about life on the road and divulge the little known fact of lead singer Simon’s childhood love of ham radios.


Traditional Breton music. Everyone knew the dance moves but me.

Night time gave me a chance to flit between the bands playing. I watched Midlake, the indie Texans who are fast gaining popularity over on this side of the pond, serenade the audience as the sun set, their hazy Americana sound drifting over the breeze and through the fields. Then it was a hop, skip and a jump to watch Sexy Sushi, the raw Parisian rap of Fefe and – I didn’t see this coming – some traditional Breton music involving some old men, a couple of accordions and a lively crowd who were all versed in the dance moves that accompany the traditional folk style. Then the midnight hour was upon us and the audience was heading in droves to watch Phoenix, who are clearly the prodigal sons of France. I’ve heard before that some of the French don’t appreciate the fact that Phoenix record all of their tracks in English, as opposed to their mother tongue, but there was no such bad feeling in the crowd that stood around me that night, sending waves of love and adulation towards the stage which prompted lead singer Thomas Mars to briefly lie on the stage in slightly dazed wonder at this epic night.

It was frustrating to have to leave on Sunday, as I missed performances by Pony Pony Run Run, Julian Casablancas and Etienne De Crecy, but work commitments dictated an early departure. Nonetheless, I had such a great time that I am already planning next years Festival des Vieilles Charrues (which will be the 20th anniversary of the festival). Brittany was the perfect setting for such a chilled festival, and a welcome addition to the festival calendar.

Way back in 2007, click Amelia’s Magazine was one of the first to recognise the raw talent of a young Johnny Flynn, for sale who won us over with the delicately nuanced themes in his poetic and lyrical songwriting. (The fact that he could wield a Gibson guitar like nobodies business also helped make him alright in our books). Fast forward to today and it’s safe to say that the kid done good. Supporting Mumford & Sons in their upcoming October tour, performing at summer festivals all over the country (including this weekends Cambridge Folk Festival) and collaborating with Laura Marling and Anna Calvi, Johnny has more than established himself in the British folk canon. But Johnny is no one trick pony; his new album Been Listening shows a strong appreciation of musical diversity, and gives respectful nods to early 20th Century blues, African music, and even takes inspiration from Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. His creative streak runs deep, and the animated video for his new single, Barnacled Warship (released August 16th) is a dark dystopia directed by Christian DeVita, lead storyboard artist on Wes Anderson’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ as well as Tim Burton’s forthcoming ‘Frankenweenie’.

So, as you can imagine, we felt that a catch-up with Johnny was long overdue, and so when we were approached by his team to do a video interview, it was only a matter of fighting over which contributor was the biggest fan (the honour went to the lovely Chloe) and then we were ready to go!

Watch the feature for Barnacled Warship here:
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Go to Johnny’s MySpace and website for lots more, including his newly released tour dates.

Categories ,Anna Calvi, ,Been Listening, ,Cambridge Folk Festival, ,Fantastic Mr Fox, ,folk, ,interview, ,Johnny Flynn, ,Laura Marling, ,Mumford& Sons, ,Nu Folk, ,Siddhartha, ,tim burton, ,video, ,Wes Anderson

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