Live Music + Gig Reviews

Summer Sundae Weekender 2004, Day 1 @ De Montfort hall, Leicester

14 August 2004

Before going to Leicester I have to admit that I was one for the big festivals. The Glastonburys, T In The Parks and Readings. I am glad to say that this has now changed. I used to think that the little festivals were no more than village fétes with a stage. A stage where really bad bands play really bad songs. I forgot of course that I have seen really bad bands at the really big festivals.

The Summer Sundae at De Montfort Hall is now in it’s forth year, and judging by the line-up, the crowd and the setup, it will no doubt be around for a while to come. I guestimate that there was perhaps four thousand people at Summer Sundae (this may be completely out, if this is the case, please enlighten me) and after the rain of Friday night all eyes were skyward come Saturday Morning. They needn’t have been: The rain held off and by early afternoon all four stages were in full swing.

It may lack the hedonism of Glastonbury and the attitude of Reading or Leeds but it makes up for it in other ways. The atmosphere was extremely relaxed and friendly, and the small crowd made sure seeing any band (with the exception of The Belles) was very easy. The small site meant you were never more than five minutes from anywhere, the toilets were clean and the scally kids of Leicester were, thankfully, nowhere to be seen. Also surprisingly, with so many families around, the security were blissfully comfortable with the more antisocial amongst us.

Smaller festivals give smaller, up and coming bands the chance to play further up the bill than they otherwise would. This was true onSaturday with two performances from The Ordinary Boys and the much published Dogs Die In Hot Cars. Both bands showed the vigour, energy, and, especially in the case of Dogs, invention, that have had the music press chomping at the bit. The increase in crowd numbers also displayed the Leicester public’s awareness of the future and they were rewarded well. There was no arrogance or couldn’t care less attitude, they both appeared to really enjoy the spotlight, as did the crowd.

Saturday was turning into a very good day of music and the appearance of Kings Of Convenience on the indoor stage just added to the brew. A few mindless hecklers could not diminish the talent, musicianship and originality of this band that will no doubt be playing further up the bill next summer.

A clash of headliners meant I had to make a choice Saturday night. It was a choice between Super Furry Animals on the outdoor stage, and Lambchop indoors. I am not Luke Rhineheart and I didn’t roll a dice. What I did do is stay outdoors and catch  Super Furry Animals because you can’t smoke at the indoor stage.

I heard that Lambchop were good and I know that Super Furry Animals, with their cult status, were excellent. The set was well mixed up with songs of their latest album Phantom Power as well as classics from Rings Around The World, Radiator and Fuzzy Logic. Run Christian Run, Juxtaposed Wit U and Presidential Suite all got an outing before the band left the stage for the first time. We were then given an interlude by the computer player who upped the tempo even more with what can only be described a 10 minutes of furious techno.

When the band finally appeared back on stage they were dressed as dogs. Really. The mad, crazy world of the Super Fury Animals. Wales, andcome to think of it, Leicester, has never sounded so good.

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