Saturday at Summer Sundae offers a wealth of indie talent in the sunshine

Summer Sundae Weekender 2009 review

published: Thu 20th Aug 2009

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Friday 14th to Sunday 16th August 2009
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 7RU, England MAP
£102 w/e, camping £7 per tent extra
last updated: Fri 7th Aug 2009

Awaking to a lovely sunny day, a little earlier than I expected thanks to what sounded like a jet turbine cleaning the loos. Just as well it gave us a chance to prepare for our daughter's birthday, cake and presents later we head back into the festival.

First up is Leicester's answer to Nick Cave, Mr Plow, a highly enjoyable half an hour of dark songs, interspersed with wit and apologies for the fact we have to listen to his takes on bleak Deep South styled songs of murder in the sunshine. It turns out that he is the best of a fairly indie directed line-up through out the rest of the day.

John Smith
John Smith whilst having a rather innocuous name delivers a decent set of acoustic songs. Sounding not unlike Damien Rice, the highpoint has to be an acoustic re-working of Grace's 1995 hit 'Not Over Yet', and he has a captivating manner, filling his set with lively banter, leading him to overrun and his final number is swamped by the Frontiers starting up on the main stage.

Frontiers are nothing to write home about, and there's little to distinguish them from countless other indie bands. I go to see David Thomas Broughton, who is intriguingly off the wall, lying on the floor with an amp on him, I go to capture the moment with my camera, and security ask me to leave. He's someone I'd like to see more of.

The Domino State
So instead I venture around to the Rising Stage to see The Domino State, and I’m impressed, a band set to grace bigger stages in the future. They throw large anthemic shoegaze indie out from the crowd, sounding not a little unlike Echo And the Bunnymen but with a much more upbeat charismatic lead singer the accomplished six piece prove a real highlight.

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Back at the main stage local boys Minnaars put on their best Foals impression and raise themselves slightly above the indie landfill landscape, it's foot tapping but I think the growing crowd before them would like something more interactive. The whole festival is thrumming with a busy crowd, but the numbers don't make getting around difficult, merely add to the colour of the place.

I go to see another local boy Kav, he of the Happy Mondays and his songs about London, the guitar work is intricate, and the sound works well, he even brings on a guest vocalist for a song about Camden. He seems to love London more than Leicester. The music is upbeat and surprisingly well worked blues, rather than anything styled from his previous band. The band's Black Crowes-esque dirty rock went down well in front of a small crowd.

The Kabeedies
The main stage, which has no other musical offerings available at the same time as bands play has another indie act this time the loud swirling guitar of The Joy Formidable. So I grab a beer and steel myself for the forthcoming three way clash, deciding to allocate 15 minutes to The Kabeedies, Sonic Boom Six, and Morph. All three prove excellent, the former pair both fronted by charismatic redheads and the latter offering overblown rawk. It's the best three quarters of an hour of music all day, a shame then that they all clashed, all three have great interaction with the crowd. Turns out it was a four way split with good reports coming back about Beth Jeans Houghton folky set on Phrased & Confused.

Having seen these three it's a little depressing to try and witness more indie with Broken Records on the main stage, with the crowd lovin' it and starting to crowd surf. By contrast American duo Golden Animals on the Musician Stage prove a much more watch-able aural experience, delicately wrought Californian infused psychedelic songs.

The Jim Jones Review
Later still the same stage plays host to more rock'n'roll from the energetic The Jim Jones Review, sleazy psychotic dance about rock, the band give us their all and it's a decent crowd enjoying this 'old school' sing along music.

St Etienne bore the pants off me, although their laid back music is nice enough in the twilight, it's not until the last brace of songs they come alive and being some life to the swaying crowd.

Talking of life, Frank Turner delivers another immense singalong set of his old material and the new stuff from the forthcoming album, rattling through the set, he's the highlight of the weekend for me. Airing personal favourites 'I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous', 'Long Live the Queen', 'Reasons Not to Be an Idiot' and 'The Road'. Everyone who saw Frank seemed to be mightily impress, he'd have been an excellent choice for the main stage I reckon. Frank's set had clashed with Hugh Cornwell who I'd also liked to have seen.

Mr Hudson
Taking a breather I catch a little of The Charlatans headlining set peppered with their well known hits, a perfect festival headliner. I'm drawn away from them as the sun sets to catch up with my daughter at the Indoor Stage, and walk in on a full on rave! The place is packed, the youth element are going wild for Mr Hudson who reveals himself to be quite a showman. The people above in the balcony are on their feet dancing and it's something to behold! Deciding it's easier if you join in with a bunch of screaming teenagers, it actually turns out to be great fun, topped with 'Supernova' and some steel drumming, an unexpected highlight.

Chipmunk
The final act was the one my daughter was most looking forward to. Thankfully with The Streets already cancelled grime's new star, the youthful Chipmunk took to the stage, to cheer said offspring up no end. Sounding not unlike his peers the youngster delivered an upbeat set, and stuck tunes like 'Chip Diddy Chip', 'Diamond Rings' and 'Tiny Dancer' deep into my head. I couldn't stop repeating it as we made our way back to camp. We considered going to the silent disco, relocated tonight to a bigger site, but the queues proved off putting.

Overall today has proved that the best of today's music has appeared on the stages away from the main stage, worth seeking out rather than basking in the sun. But then again, if it's current indie darling rising stars that's your bag then sitting on a picnic blanket in the sun must have been most appealing.

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review by: Scott Williams

photos by: Karen Williams / Phil Bull

Friday 14th to Sunday 16th August 2009
De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 7RU, England MAP
£102 w/e, camping £7 per tent extra
last updated: Fri 7th Aug 2009


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