Brakes are a great way to bring End of the Road to a close

End of the Road 2011 review

published: Mon 19th Sep 2011

Brakes

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

Emmy The Great
The final day of the festival and surprisingly Emmy the Great (last seen on the Friday at the comedy stage) was so low on the roster at the Woods stage. She still managed to attract the crowds and alone on stage she seems so tiny behind her guitar. But that reminds us of her years when she states how she played the very first EOTR. Though complaining of laryngitis; she still manages to sound as silky as she does on the records and is in fine voice for fan favourite 'First Love'.

Willy Mason follows a voice I haven't heard in half a decade, still without a new album in nearly so many years, it's a surprise he is playing the UK but he promises that there will be one very soon. He is the opposite in appearance to Emmy The Great; he looks so much older than his years, much like his voice. He indeed plays the hit 'Oxygen' to a great deal of whooping from the front but he sounds at his best when his band are in full flow. He enjoys a chat whilst constantly tuning his only guitar, which leads to him even changing the set when a fan cries out for 'We Can Be Strong'. (you won't get that from Madonna). A solid performance leaves me only distracted by a man in the crowd with a beaver puppet.

I think about staying to see Tinariwen as they are a sought after world music act, the sort that is always on Jools Holland. But I fear I would be watching them for some pretentious reasons, other than actually enjoying their music, so I opt for the back up option. Jim Bobfrom Carter USM at the comedy stage.

He informs us that there must have been some kind of stage mix up, that's why he is at the comedy stage, which gets one of the biggest chuckles of his set. Made up of comedic tales on looting and festivals, interesting and clever but funny? The highlight is when Chris T-T comes around the audience with a bubble machine. Note to U2, why spend a fortune on sets when all you need to make people smile with bubbles. Robin Ince follows on with his rants on science vs. art and the Daily Mail, but he does start with one joke. He was the class clown, he didn't make anyone laugh he just appeared in their nightmares. Though the material on philosophy did make me wish I chose different A levels so I could laugh along, unless we were all pretending?

Laura Marling
Something I did know quite a lot about was one of the main acts of the day and for me the weekend, Laura Marling. Playing at the Woods stage she had the largest crowd of the weekend. Surprising that she didn't headline as she is one of the only world famous artists on show. Her backing band has doubled in size since she first broke out. As most of Mumford & Sons have been rather busy themselves to accompany her, she instead relies on woodwind and cellos as well as her normal guitar led group. She is becoming sexier by the years and is far from the shy teenager in such a short amount of time. She only treats us with a few new songs including the enchanting 'Sophia' but old favourites as 'Ghosts' and 'Rambling Man'. After battling with a few guitar malfunctions she bids us farewell and says that it's her "last festival of the year and what a festival to end on."

around the festival site (1)
After such a long time away, the rain starts to force its way through the clouds and onto our heads. So some more fish n chips and under cover at the cinema, showing 'Scott Pilgrim against the World' before I set off for ventures new and a walk round the site before Midlake take to the stage. In the midst of the forest somewhere after the fairy lights and origami there is a clearing with a stage decked out like a living room with a small piano and hanging lights, I once caught Herman Dune playing a random set there four years back and I was lucky enough to catch members of Tinariwen after all, as they played to half a dozen people, I even get asked to post my shockingly bad filmed footage to a member's Facebook.

If I knew he'd asked I wouldn't have clapped so much whilst filming. This is one of the true great things about the festival, the lack of any egos on offer and there are no VIP tents or girls with denim skirts and willies trying to get backstage passes. There is just a lot of love of music throughout, enough to ignore some of the over kitschy aspects of the festival. Sometimes it does feel like the festival is just for a niche audience of the well informed, rather than just the ordinary music lover, but at least there aren't hundreds of drunken youths setting fire to tents. And a band that definitely can't be called yobs were performing at the Woods stage.

Midlake who along with Fleet Foxes, look like they were born for this festival, take the stage as the sun drops on the final eve of 'EOTR'. The rain slowly drifting down over the stage lights creates a haze that goes hand in hand with the dreamy acoustics of the Texans. They seem so appreciated they even wish they could take us back home. Their music drifts off into the surroundings and the naturist stage show is rather halcyon, 'Young Bride' causes everyone to sway in time with the bassists head. They mention they are half way through a new album and play a new song 'Tomorrow'. That isn't too far from their psychedelic 60s rock and seems to attract a large number of folk with soft toys on sticks who emerge down the front. Surreal!

Brakes
This only leaves one act left on my list to see... Brakes - headlining the Big Top. They are virtually the festival's own house band with the number of times they have appeared, they have earned their place as headliners (though maybe not yet on the main stage). They are just simply the perfect act to end a festival, and so to the front row I set off, to be greeted by what seems to be an odd selection of bald, ruby types in their 40s. I start to worry for my safety when the band come on and the jumping starts, but it's not these fellows I have to worry about, it's a gaggle of late comings decked out in bow ties and striped shirts who seem to want to party the most.

As Brakes race through their hour and a bit set of greatest hits and terrible one liners, I find myself dodging flailing limbs, and even end up dancing country dance style in a random hoe-down pit. The group release each raucous gem like 'Porcupine or Pineapple?' and 'All Night Disco Party' with a keen smile and many in between banter, they are a band who need to be seen live to get what Brakes are all about and, they will surely end the evening with a few hundred more converts. They reveal they are to play a secret gig later that night at the Tipi tent, but one hour of dancing is far enough for me and a great way to end a festival.

Good night 'End of the Road'... same again next year, please!

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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