Gig Review: Summer Sundae Weekender, Day One, 11th August 2006

Liam Frost and the Slowdown Family at Summer Sundae 2006This was our first time at Summer Sundae, having been attracted by the cheap price of a ticket, the excellent line up and the even better word of mouth. Let it be said that we weren’t disappointed. In fact, Summer Sundae 2006 surpassed all expectations and there’s every chance that the event will become a regular occurence on the Indie Credential calendar.

We arrived on Thursday night, set up tent in the friendly Regent’s College campsite, ate at a local Thai restaurant and repaired to camp for a beer and chocolate digestive nightcap. A typical festival evening then. The weather on Friday was in its default festival setting: cloudy, cold winds, the sun occasionally gracing us with its presence. After food and some beer we found ourselves in the Jim Beam tent watching Now who, if the programme notes were to be believed, should really have sounded a bit like Stereolab. They didn’t and after two songs we left for a walk round the very entertaining Polly’s Garden and then visited the Real Ale tent where young men with beards poured beer into the silver tankards of middle aged men with beards. Eventually we saw our first full set of the weekend, Liam Frost And The Slowdown Family on the Main Stage. Although I’d never heard any of their stuff before they certainly lived up to expectations after JustHipper had raved about them at D:Percussion the previous weekend. Frost’s brand of energetic modern folk was a cut above most of the singer/songwriter fare on offer these days and his excellent rapport with the crowd and with his own mandolin player, who joked how one day Liam might be able to afford to buy him a bigger guitar, made for a thoroughly entertaining half hour.

Next up on the Main Stage was Richard Hawley. We love Richard Hawley round our way and knew he would deliver but were worried that he might tone down his between song banter to an audience that included many many young kids. Fortunately he didn’t but having seen him a couple of times in the past year the banter sounded a little too familiar, like sitting through the same stand up routine for the third time. The songs were familiar but majestic as always, the sweeping melancholy of “Something Is…” giving way to a beguiling version of “The Ocean” with Hawley’s impassioned guitar work making it one of the highlights of the weekend.

Guy Garvey of Elbow at Summer Sundae 2006We skipped Delays, save for one song that JustHipper insisted that we hear, which was dull and it had started to rain so we drank and ate more and waited for Elbow, who were headlining a festival for the first time. And they were well up for it from the opening “Station Approach”, with its glorious mantra about the lure of the hometown, through to the wired version of “Newborn” that closed the set they played with more passion and more confidence than I’d ever seen in them before . Genial frontman Guy Garvey was on fine form, both vocally and in engaging the crowd between songs, joking before “Leaders Of The Free World” that there are some terrible things going on in the world at the moment “and I don’t mean Cud reforming”. Well, I laughed, while JustHipper asked who the hell Cud were. Though there was no “Powder Blue” or “Scattered Black And Whites” there were plenty of spine-tingling moments on offer. “McGreggor”, with Garvey pounding away on a kettle drum, was chilling, the equal of anything off Leaders, “Forget Myself” brought an anthemic close to the main set while “The Stops”, played in the encores, was a revelation taken out of the context of the album. If this performance was anything to go by it won’t be long before Elbow are headlining bigger festivals than this.

All our pics from Summer Sundae 2006 can be found on our Flickr page.

5 Responses to “Gig Review: Summer Sundae Weekender, Day One, 11th August 2006”

Leave a Reply