there's a random day of music on offer on Saturday at End of the Road

End of the Road 2011 review

published: Mon 19th Sep 2011

around the festival site (3)

Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September 2011
Larmer Tree Gardens,Tollard Royal, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5PT, England MAP
adults £145, youth (13-17) £120, child (6-12) £55 - all SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 12000
last updated: Mon 11th Jul 2011

Another beautiful day in the middle of nowhere, the second day of the festival weekend starts with the last few songs of Timber Timbre over in the Big Top.

around the festival site (2)
There is still a relaxed air of tranquillity, the temporary residents opting against looting and pillaging during the nights cider and partying escapades. Instead there is still the pleasant vibe and a few people sitting under the branches of the forest, reading one of the many books on offer in the makeshift library inside the hollowed trees. Though, if there is anyone who managed to read an entire novel during the festival I would be surprised they opted to ignore a day of music to read just another chapter of 'Far from the Madding Crowd'. Without any significant pull from any of the music on in the afternoon I chose to check out the comedy stage yet again.

Pappy's are today's hosts and they seemed to be enjoying engaging the public to strip off per act, although it seemed that three items were the maximum limit that I saw from any patrons. We all sung the theme tune to 'Jurassic Park' in-between seeing performances from Joanna Neary (with her guide to novel sex toys) and the festival circuit legend Phil Kay (who just wings his way to our hearts with the aid of an acoustic guitar and singing about girls with funny eyes). Every time I had the chance to take a look around, the area has more and more onlookers; the news that the comedy is the place to be was certainly spreading. By Sunday the secret would be out and I doubted I would have a haystack to rest on.

Back to the musical side of the festivities, Super Furry Animals front man Gruff Rhys walks onto the Woods stage with a welcome applause for who is really one of the only household names on offer. But he sticks to his solo material rather that dropping any of his other bands hits. Which is fair enough, when his three solo albums are full of interesting pop nuggets like 'Candy Lion' and 'Sensations in the Dark'. With the added aid of massive white signs instructing us to clap and sing when held up, the audience plays along with the whimsical Welshmen who enjoys arguing with band mates on how many key changes his next song really has (it was 6 apparently).

around the festival site (1)
One of the best sets so far, but now worried that the day may have peaked already, I take myself to see Wooden Shjips over on the Big Top after being tipped off by a man in some awful knitwear, that they would be a top live act. They turn out to be into the popular San Francisco psychedelic drone rock, much like The Warlocks and early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, which when played at loud volumes in a toilet sized venue filled with ladies and gentlemen high on chemicals works rather well. In a big top in the middle of the field with half the audience chatting, is not the best atmosphere and the highlight was a silver foil boulder that the keyboardist uses as a stand. My thoughts were realised when a man shouts out post song "that was shit" I had to agree and moved on to see Nathaniel Rateliff at the Tipi tents.

After being tipped off by how great he is, by someone I trusted with taste, unlike a random man in knitwear. I looked forward to hearing his set as I had yet to be spellbound by any singer-songwriters so far. As he made his way to a lonely chair at the lip of the stage, everyone crowded round to watch including a lot of very attractive young ladies. There is a complete hush inside the tent, he sings in a rough American accent that matches his troubadour signature appearance, its rather striking and he captivates his audience. He has to stand up after a few songs to allow the rest of the tent to see as well as hear his talent. Sadly I promised myself I would check out 'Project Nim' at the cinema tent, as I love monkeys and quite fancy seeing a signing ape made by the people who bought us 'Man on Wire'. I scurry silently away to not bother his adoring public and run over to the cinema.

It is a tent of much the same size, strange for a music festival but great for budding film fans like myself and also it seems to be one of the only few places that phones can actually get a signal at. 'The Little White Lies' cinema group have technical difficulties to play the movies through the projector, so sadly they choose to play 'Let Me In' the teen vampire flick. This is a great work of cinema, but not one I wanted to see yet again. So I head off in the direction of the crowds and into the sonic hemisphere of M. Ward who I only really know as the other half of She & Him with Zooey Deschanel.

Sporting a cap and chequered shirt, Ward like everyone who plays the traditional garden stage greets us warmly and declares EOTR as "the world's best festival" he swaps between piano and guitar playing 'Chinese Translation' and a beautiful cover of Daniel Johnston's 'Story of an Artist'. Mogwai after their vocal exercises were about to headline the Woods stage, so as I have enjoyed a number of their tracks over the last decade or so, I thought I should check them out.

Mogwai
With a cinema screen backdrop the Scottish post–rockers mustn't get many opportunities to headline outdoor festivals. They seemed very at home to be playing to playing their sounds capes, but a shame Gruff Rhys didn't make a cameo to sing 'Dial: Revenge', a trick missed but they perform 'Mogwai Fear Satan' a new favourite of mine and what seems like most of the crowd. Though over an hour of Mogwai is maybe too much for the non elite. Okkervil River back on the Garden stage has had some stunning reviews for their latest album, so I ran over to see the tail end of their performance.

I get their in time to catch a Beach Boys cover of 'Sloop John B' which is actually rather fantastic. They own the stage, with drive and passion, leaping around with nervous energy and sheer enjoyment from the crowd reaction. It's a great experience to see a band that I can let loose to and I even put down my writing pen and pad to enjoy the dancing to 'Unless it Kicks' and 'Our life is not a Movie or Maybe'. A band that I will definitely have to buy more of the back catalogue of. Tired out from all the shape making, I retire to my car from a random day at the Larmer Tree.

around the festival site (3)
review by: Fran Jolley

photos by: Jason Wood

Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th September 2011
Larmer Tree Gardens,Tollard Royal, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP5 5PT, England MAP
adults £145, youth (13-17) £120, child (6-12) £55 - all SOLD OUT
daily capacity: 12000
last updated: Mon 11th Jul 2011


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