Bowlie II: one-liners
All Tomorrow’s Parties: Bowlie II
Minehead Butlins, 10-12dec10
Continuing this site’s tradition of half-assed commentary on musical events, we present one-line reviews, in chronological order, of the second Belle & Sebastian curated Bowlie weekender.
Friday December 10th
Daniel Kitson & Gavin Osborn Centre Stage
Comedian and storyteller tells one of his whimsical comedic stories punctuated by singer-songwriter singing whimsical songs that he’s written, following suit.
Teenage Fanclub Pavilion Stage
So solid and unpretentious, they are the nuclear bunker of West Coast style harmony pop.
The Zombies Centre Stage
Colin Blunstone’s hair is as pristine as when they started 49 years ago, while Rod Argent has clearly kept his trousers from that mid-60’s heyday.
Saint Etienne Centre Stage
A funeral, a long drive, a traffic jam and being half an hour late as a result is probably not ideal prep for a set but Saint Etienne turn around their early disadvantages by displaying their hits like a peacock; a belated disco peacock.
Saturday December 11th
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan Centre Stage
A Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazelwood tribute act, but without any of their humour.
Edwyn Collins Centre Stage
Because of his triumph of the will, Edwyn could be said to be immune to criticism, but it is with no concession to his circumstances, yet with nods to Teenage Fanclub’s role as backing band and guest appearances by a Crib and two of Franz Ferdinand, when I say this was one of the best gigs I’ve seen all year.
Julian Cope Pavilion Stage
Dirgey on guitar, sprightly on the mellotron – next time: more mellotron.
Dean Wareham Centre Stage
With Galaxie 500’s gear re-released, Dean Wareham has gathered up his wife and new bandmates to perform songs by his former self, but without any real pizzazz.
Dirty Projectors Pavilion Stage
Struggled to understand the hyperbolic reaction to album Bitte Orca but on the basis of this set, I will need to go back and immerse myself in it once more.
The New Pornographers Centre Stage
Despite watching several stream out to get a good spot for the weekend’s headliners downstairs, The New Pornographers respond to keeping chins up and delivering one of the very best performances of the weekend.
Belle & Sebastian Pavilion Stage
The best set I’ve seen them do since their triumphant homecoming free show at Glasgow Botanic Gardens in 2004.
Jenny & Johnny Centre Stage
Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice collaborate on a set of brisk alt.rock gear.
Franz Ferdinand Centre Stage
A set on the smaller stage that went unbilled in the event’s advance press and, as is often the case, Matinee’s gear changes were the highlight.
Crystal Castles Centre Stage
Alice Glass staggering onto the stage on crutches means restricted movement for both her and the crowd as the energy doesn’t swell quite enough for those watching on eagerly to ‘go off’ in the usual manner associated with Crystal Castles shows.
Sunday December 12th
Stevie Jackson Reds
Stevie Belle & Seb goes partly solo and partly in tandem with Roy Muller for some ideal Sunday lunchtime acoustic fare.
Vashti Bunyan Centre Stage
Possibly the quietest, gentlest gig in history.
The Amphetameanies Reds
Alex Kapranos follows up his appearance with Edwyn Collins with another guest slot in a festival highlight set, but this is merely coincidence as this party 2-Tone outfit are infectious enough to stand on their own 18 feet.
Peter Parker Centre Stage
Glam pop that, as yet, hasn’t really found a distinct voice.
Jane Weaver Reds
Former Misty Dixon frontwoman doing a Gruff Rhys-esque guitar and table-full-of-tricks post-folk thing.
Sons & Daughters Pavilion Stage
Still striking me as a little lumpen, perhaps I’m missing something.
Mulatu Astatke Centre Stage
Ethio-jazz so becalming, the seas around Minehead took the opportunity for an afternoon nap.
The Vaselines Pavilion Stage
Spikiness in the tunes as well as Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee’s on-stage banter.
Camera Obscura Pavilion Stage
Any stage seems classier with Camera Obscura’s Spector-esque pop playing out on it.
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