Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Supernormal

Supernormal Festival - 20th - 21st August 2010 - Braziers Park, Oxfordshire



Well it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting in A + E dosed up to the eyeballs…A band of alternating pain round my ribs keeps waving in and out like a curious eel… thankfully no fucked-up junky feels like vomitting over me...

The doctor looks quizically at me when I recount the bizarrely bland circumstances… festival hey…drunk… drugs? … Nope… I’m convinced she doesn’t believe me… a few health checks later and I'm moved into non lethal territory... felt a bit cheated though… no x-ray… man, was itching to see the damage in black n milky white…

I’m packed off with an advice leaflet and told that the modern approach to cracked ribs is absolutely nothing.... but it's important to breathe deeply… even if painful... as I could easily develop pneumonia… I leave through the sliding doors, wishing I’d stayed at Supernormal for the Sunday line-up after all…



Rewinding back to Friday… the festival was burning bright from the offset with a blinding set from Maria and the Mirrors, very percussive, similar to Bow Wow Wow in parts, but more ...way more... frazzled / screeching... those bad tempered skins bagging real clout especially when the tri-shouting competition ensued, and that re-working of Kate Bush's -Rubber Band Girl was simply superb... can’t believe they’ve only got one 7 inch to their name… We collectively loved 'em… Here’s a you-tubed moment to give you a flavour…



The vibe of this fest was a million miles away from the corporate circus that is Reading and the like… and all the better for it… not a burger van in sight and the composting toilets kept the inevitable stink to an absolute minimum… the main-stage was this cute wooden shed that looked like it was on fire when the dry ice hit… kept finding bird feathers everywhere...was secretly hoping to find a skull or two in the woods... wasn’t expecting the naked gardener… saw seven kites in battle formation, on the way there, harassing the crows... stopped in the lay-by watching the action unfold, their huge wingspans just floating there...In the evenings you could see plenty of them... silhouetted like gigantic bats… hovering sentinels hungry for rodent...

Got to shake Jean-Hervé Peron’s hand on arrival, having wandered down to the manor house by mistake… thankfully I spared him my dry mouthed fan-boy splutterings… (not bringing my Faust Tape vinyl for the signing, damn…)



Back to the music, Alexander Tucker's new project - Imbogodom was a monster of crawling inertia..., reminded me a bit of Gira's more dronal ventures, as those heavy textures spilled out like glowing Genghis copper...... until the electronics started throbbing like angry wasp abdomens that is, and the Yangtze river strings made it all the more surreal...



Regrettably somehow I missed Hakarl's set completely... felt like a real bastard, as I'd only been chatting with him a few hours before... I gave his EP a listen (early Sunday morning inside the blue sheen of the tent) loved it's stark, confessional beauty... but didn’t get chance to tell him before heading off…





By the time Eviltones were on, the night sky was a swirl with floating cataracts... the front man was a real showster in his white jacket... they plied some great tunes and catchy lyrical hooks... liked the one about... numbers falling out of pockets... the details of which have all but evaporated… then, half way through El Toro I somehow fell and my ribs made this broken twig sound... total disbelief then laughter followed by an insane burning... thankfully no coughing of bloods... The cover band up next got me in a right mood, hated them... I stumbled off up the hill in a foul strop, mumbling curses... hoping to grab another drink before the bar shut...



Waking up the next morning, my head felt like it had been turned inside out... I took a photo to check if that was the case, but everything seemed ok through the viewer...





Cranked up the festi-tron as the bodies around us sluggishly began to show signs of life... scrolling through the pod I realised that my music taste was probably not gonna be that hangover compatible but Zuhn and Sunburned Hand of the Man seemed mellow enough... the vibes mixed well with our weird breakfast concoctions......



By the afternoon, I'm sat in the bar area feeling totally retarded…my head was still a mixture of foggy wool and chewed cardboard while my side was jabbering out this dull depth charged ache... tried to sleep over the r'n'b dregs... I stared into a dogs eyes as he sniffed the air... thankfully Charlie came to the rescue with a full pack of painkillers (A+E inscribed on the capsule)... I'm feeling totally shit at this point but try not to show it... throughout the day I vary according to the amount of paracetamol travelling my system... try to simply ignore... and just enjoy... the afternoon whizzes by...



The first band of the day Listening Mirror were very welcome indeed... went a long way to lifting my frazzled psyche... the way those key strokes embered across that percolating drone was pure magic... and those vocals... can't believe this was their first ever show... incredible stuff... sort of semi ambient affair with lots of textural interest...





The bands that followed were just as good, the line up was hitting strong... John Vistic was a chord carnage king... found myself secretly karaoking to his cover of Nick Caves 'weeping song'



Polly's country textures were light and airy while Mary Hampton took the vibe into darker more gothic entangled territories… that child birth track was borderline horror... Deej tells me about his youth music project… a barrage of noise with Mickey Mouse backdrops, something I seriously need to hear…













Caught Rex Nemo plying his Psychick ills in the bar area - hilarious accompliment the chilli sauce burn of my Falafel wrap.



Hyrst's simmering violence was superb, tense Wire-esque words around barded music slightly reminiscent of Health I suppose, but way more focused, really wished they had some merch for sale... their sound was raw, intuitive... whereas I thought Bong lingered in the Sun 0))) vein for too long without adding much variety...











In contrast, Thought Forms were blistering... started out all ethnically layered... relays of effect birds circling, smouldering slowly with vocal gildings filling your mind with forgotten gods ... then bam!... straight into some seriously full-throttle assaults...



leaving me convinced the krautrock kernings of the last track was a pure Faust tribute... Totally captivating stuff, haven't seen them much this year apart from on world record day but boy there's very few 'alt-rock' bands out there that can match them...







Jean-Hervé Peron seemed to like Diagonal, he was crow dancing to almost every track - I would have too... even tried to (pathetically) when Gnod's tranced out weird-rave got too infectious...









seriously wished I could have thrown myself around more... as Gnod were just brilliant... free form alchemists of the highest order... warming us up for the main attraction...







Wow... Faust were absolutely amazinggggggg... totally living up to their legendary status... Gallon Drunk's James Johnston carving into the meat both Zappi and Peron were supplying... tunes quickly descended into pure slaughter, tangents clashing simply everywhere... they started with Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl... (ironically the heavens opened at the same time).. and moved on through their back catalogue... I was expecting a few acoustic moments but none came... I wasn't complaining though as this 'tour de force' was simply fantastic...







when it came to requests I shouted out Jennifer... at which a Faust Tape classic was resurrected... chip fat buddhaaaa... Geraldine Swayne supplying the rhetoric... everything quickly became a crooked house of jarring angles... later moving on to a riot of colourful metal and chainsaw petrol...



was feeling massively ropey at this point, the 24hr to 1 hrs sleep equation was taking it’s toll... just sat down and let it wash over me... watching the light show through by Poundland brolly... by 2am I was crawling into the tent feeling like a stampede victim...





6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice review. We had a great time at Supernormal! Sorry to hear about your rib, sounds very painful.
All the best

Jeff (listening mirror)

Cloudboy said...

thanks jeff, had a fantastic time, all things considered... loving that dwnld EP btw...

Keran James said...

thank you! You got it! Makes us even more determined to make it happen again next year - see you at SUPERNORMAL 2011! Keran x

Cloudboy said...

here's to 2011...

Daniel said...

That was Super!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am not Kek-w said...

Sorry to hear about your woes. Hope your ribs (and head) are feeling a better.