Hayseed Dixie / Instill / Imperial Leisure

Vibraphonic Festival 2008 reviews

published: Tue 25th Mar 2008

Hayseed Dixie

Friday 29th February to Sunday 16th March 2008
various venues across Exeter, Devon, EX4 3LS, England MAP
Various - free and from around £8 - £20
last updated: Mon 21st Jan 2008

Tonight is the closing night of the Vibraphonic festival and the Phoenix is playing host to the final night of this three week long festival. The closing party is actually upstairs in the Voodoo Lounge where ten-piece party boys Imperial Leisure are mixing it up in style. Their brand of ska and hip hop spills from the upstairs windows and entertains those smokers who populate the outside flanks of the building. There's also a drum club on tonight and the pounding rhythms just add to the festival atmosphere. The sound of a drum circle really makes the feel of the evening complete as the crowd throng around the bar.

Downstairs Instill are on the stage, playing thrash metal and looking un-nervingly young, youthful and neat in shirts and ties, the obligitory megaphone for the final song 'Operation Go' has the crowd cheering and they're a surprise hit this evening.

Just like a festival there's now a musical programming clash, there's the feel good festival skank-a-thon of Imperial Leisure upstairs or the banjo and mandolin driven bluegrass of Hayseed Dixie.

I'm not even sure they're part of the Vibraphonic festival, but they're hear tonight and bumping into the tie dyed cut off dungaree wearing lead singer Barley Scotch as I'm about to go back upstairs kind of forces my hand.

Hayseed Dixie


I'd like to think I made the right decision as the frenetic Angus-esque super-charged solos on mandolin and the opening licks of 'Kirby Hill' have the crowd all dancing. They love to tell stories, drink beer, entertain and bring us sweet rockgrass to dance to. With an album of all their own material, called 'No Covers' obviously we're treated to more of their own songs and less of other people's. Obviously there's still the AC/DC tribute songs, and 'War Pigs, 'I Don't Feel Like Dancing', 'Fat Bottomed Girls' and their better than the original festival anthem of 'Holidays In The Sun' however Hayseed Dixie treat us to far more of their tunes.

Hayseed Dixie


There's tales of festivals like their playing Download and Glastonbury and the music possibly belies they've been watching and taking notes from a few festival circuit favourites, there's hints of Levellers and Pronghorn in their new material. It's interesting to not just heavy they sound when they add the drummer from Instill for a head thrashin' version of 'Whole Lotta Rosie'.

The new songs like 'Set Myself on Fire' and 'Born To Die In France' are extremely well received, sitting easily amongst 'I'm Keeping Your Poop' and 'Rider Song'. They're a fantastic festival band that drink, create laughs and sure can play their tunes, just what you want at a festival. A proper hill billy knees up, lovely.
review by: Scott Williams

Friday 29th February to Sunday 16th March 2008
various venues across Exeter, Devon, EX4 3LS, England MAP
Various - free and from around £8 - £20
last updated: Mon 21st Jan 2008


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