Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

All Tomorrow's Parties, 2000

It’s a festival, kids, but not as we know it.

It takes a day for the shock to subside, and the civility and relative sophistication of it all to sink in. You’ve got a bed, a shower, a roof, and even your own film channel, even if most of them do rather suspiciously look as if they’ve been recorded off the television. There is however a catch. You know how at your average festival when half of the bands are shit, you always seem to miss a few that you want to see? Well, within the post-rock sanctuary of Camber Sands, you’re just going to have to accept the fact that you’re going to miss a lot of good bands, so before we go any further, apologies must be extended to Labradford, Pram, Plone and Tarwater; and also to Scott4 for having finished their set while we were still driving round in circles somewhere in Sussex; and the Radar Brothers for having to play while we stumbled around the site looking for our chalet.

This means that it’s left to the Delgados to belatedly start proceedings for our weekend, as their whimsical, fragile folk tries it’s hardest to hold our attention. Unfortunately a predominance of songs from ‘The Great Eastern’ means that their bittersweet melodies and vocal interplay is prevented from stimulating the senses to the same extent as a particularly haunting rendition of ‘Pull The Wires From The Wall’, and their decision to play acoustically does little to lift the subdued atmosphere.

Luckily Stereolab are waiting just round the corner to bring us another broadcast from the socialist manifesto that you can dance to. Given the rather select crowd before them, Tim Gane and his comrades opt to leave the pop numbers at home and dive headlong into a display of whirring noises, krautrocking keyboards and lilting harmonies which get the party, and maybe even the Party, moving again as Laetitia takes this opportunity to show off her new hairdo, which leaves her looking rather scarily like a hepcat Hilary Swank.

Not to be outdone by Stereolab surreptitiously slipping in a bit of French, the Super Furry Animals treat us to a predominantly Welsh set, which, despite our complete inability to understand a single sodding word, provides fresh hope that ‘Guerrilla’ didn’t signal an end to their previously undisputed creative genius. New single ‘Ysbeidiau Heulog’ shows a return to the frazzled and fazed sound of their early Ankst days; while ‘Northern Lights’ bounces along like the big plastic reindeer on Gruff’s amp wishes it could, and the frantic blast of ‘Calimero’ stakes their claim as outsiders to steal Pavement’s vacant throne. Having thankfully chosen to leave out ‘The Man Don’t Give A Fuck’, the Super Furries end the day accompanied by the man who probably can’t get a fuck, as Stuart Braithwaite joins them onstage to twat about with a tambourine while standing nowhere near a microphone. Still as the saying the saying goes ‘it’s my festival, and if you won’t let me play, then I’m taking it home’.