Saturday overview

Lounge On The Farm 2008

published: Thu 17th Jul 2008

New York Dolls

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th July 2008
Merton Farm, Nackington Lane, Canterbury, CT4 7BA, England MAP
£85 for weekend, child weekend £40, family weekend £180
last updated: Wed 2nd Jul 2008

The day starts in an overcast way with the threat of rain in the air, which is never a good omen for festival life, especially when you're on a farm. Luckily, there's no follow through with the threat. After farm-orientation Friday it's easier to negotiate and work out what's on and where so a few pit stops take in the Muddy Shovels who utilise a nice a cappella opening and a decent cover of the Byrd's 'You Ain't Going Nowhere'.

around the site (2)

Electric River, a local Canterbury band, put on a show full of enthusiasm and endeavour with a torrent of pop/rock power. They bring together a largish crowd and finish off nicely with a cover of Primal Scream's 'Rocks' which segues smartly into Fatboy Slim's 'Praise You'. All very enjoyable but you get the feeling that the world will remain unchanged by their appearance here.

Bohemia Ukulele Band

By now it's about 4.30pm and what do you need at this point in the day? Well, the answer my friends is a trip to see the Bohemia Ukulele Band. They're perfect for when the sun comes out (it does), people singing along (they do) and aliens landing on the site (unfortunately not). Any group that include Madness's 'It Must Be Love' and 'I Wanna be Like You' (from 'The Jungle Book') are okay in my books be they jungle or not.

Shortly after this the bands are staring up on the lovely aromatic Cowshed stage. Those Dancing Days, a 5-piece girl band from Sweden, gather together a small horde of people who seem more interested and intrigued rather than fans of the band. But the gathered masses are open and willing to cheer them on and the multitude builds steadily over the course of their set. The slight but pleasant tunes reverberate nicely throughout the auditorium, sorry, shed. They inform us that they've never played a UK festival before and I doubt that this is what they envisaged for such a debut.

Findlay Brown

There's time for about 20 minutes of Findlay Brown at the Farm Folk stage and it's a set worth anyone’s time. Findley plays an involving acoustic set and creates a warm and friendly atmosphere. Towards the end of his performance he plays 'I Will' and invites a young lad (Tom) up on stage to jangle sets of keys as make shift percussion (gathered from the audience) into a reverbed microphone and then encourages backing vocals which improve as the song progresses and are surprisingly complementary. It’s a warm and lovely moment and says a lot about Findley, all of which is in the positive mode.

Back to the Cowshed and it's time for the Mystery Jets. They arrive late on stage late (a theme at this festival it seems) and, as a consequence, play a shortish set for about 40 minutes. It's probably the biggest crowd of the weekend so far and the enthusiasm from the mainly young gathering is unabashed. So, it's a shame they don't really deliver. They look the part with a kind of up-dated Duran Duran fashion sense so make your own mind up on that one. Playing a set of predominantly new songs from the album 'Twenty One' I don't feel they take the initiative here and it's all a bit dull. The singles 'Two Doors Down' and 'Young Love' go down well with the devotees but I can't see unbelievers being converted by them. Don’t get me wrong they're ok at what they do it's just what they do doesn't put the cheese on my cracker.

At 10.45pm the New York Dolls strut into the shed and bring a welcome camp-glam to the proceedings. The sound is a bit messy at first but it's acceptable as you get the feeling that it's all pretty symptomatic of what the Dolls are all about.

'We're All in Love' and a cover of Janis Joplin's 'Piece of my Heart' instigate a sing-along amongst the respectable but emptying crowd and you realise it's easy to get to the front if you want. Getting too close to David Johansson may not be too advisable though as he does look a little like a transgender version of Mick Jagger. The Dolls commit themselves to the cause admirably though and make complimentary references about Canterbury and England but I do wonder if they really knew what they were letting themselves in for when agreeing to this gig.

New York Dolls

Still, their 100-minute set displays a certain value for money ethic even if it does drag a bit towards the end. A triple-whammy finish of 'You Can't Put your Arms Around a Memory' (dedicated to Johnny Thunders), 'Trash' and an elongated 'Jet Boys' brings it all to a close. It feels like the crowd have been exhausted by the set and there's no strong demand for an encore but we get one anyway and after 'Personality Crisis' it's all finito. The Dolls link together and bow for the punters. Even the cows in the adjacent shed clap and moo.

Overall it seemed like a day when no one really stole the show despite the opportunity being available. There were some good solid performances but nothing that gave you that open mouthed gaping look of amazement so maybe you can't always expect the 'wow' factor all the time. Still that won't put me off and it's round 3 tomorrow.
review by: Simon Soukal

photos by: Clive Hoadley

Friday 11th to Sunday 13th July 2008
Merton Farm, Nackington Lane, Canterbury, CT4 7BA, England MAP
£85 for weekend, child weekend £40, family weekend £180
last updated: Wed 2nd Jul 2008

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