Thursday, 7 May 2015

An Oddbox Ode

Having fallen out of the habit of blogging over the last eighteen months or so I have been rather abruptly drawn back in by the inevitable need to comment on what has been the fifth, and described in some quarters as final, Oddbox Weekender.

As a result of unfortunately missing the Friday night action I (along with a solid number of fellow audience members given the time of day) started proceedings at a quarter past two on Saturday with Joey Fourr. The 30 minutes or so set of wandering DIY psyche pop provided a perfect start to the day and also set an unnervingly high quality threshold for the 21 remaining bands to live up to. The morning session continued with the happily wonderful, and impressively outfitted, post Ace Bushy sounds of Okinawa Picture Show, followed by the short sharp shock of the even faster and louder than expected City Yelps. Next came a surprise (to me at least) with the beautifully fuzzy melodic Feature and the beginning of a perhaps predictable cassette & badge habit which continued for the 
remainder of the weekend!
The volume levels stepped immediately back up with the always exciting noise pop discourse of Giant Burger, and stayed that way for the long awaited return of Sarandon who wholeheartedly, and having seen the state of Simon's guitar towards the end of the set, quite literally gave their blood and sweat in taking us to the afternoon break via a full bore 40 minutes covering fan favourites, guitar tuning tips & gentlemans towels.
After a short natural air (at least for those of us who hadn't entirely realised by this stage that the Shacklewell Arms has a large open air garden) and, perhaps more importantly, sustenance break we returned to the always welcoming stage with Not Right. An absorbing, angry, overtly political set flew by, giving everyone present something of a shock. Dog Legs were next up with their perfect, fun, noisy take on surf pop. There had been a couple of surprises up to this point in proceedings, but no one could ever have been prepared for the arrival of The Fish Police. A frankly lunatic mix of R&B and hip hop styles with live guitar, bass, drummer and outrageously magnetic front man rapping about the most mundane of topics, they were a life affirming, joyous thing to behold. 
Penultimate duties were handled with aplomb, not to mention chaotic volume and feedback, by Slowcoaches, and the evening finished off (for bands performing at least, as I'm given to understand that several late nights might have been enjoyed!) by the unstoppable Spook School who, astonishingly, get better every time that they make the journey to London! One can only hope that they are destined for even bigger things than has already been the case.

And with that (or a little later at any rate) it was time to start considering heading home just in time to  make the journey back to Dalston to start all over again.

After a local lunch of sorts, quarter past two was again upon us with the arrival of The Wednesday Club and another blistering start to the day, along with a lovely free CD. The fabulous (and previously unknown to me) punk pop of Nervous Twitch, replete with beautifully appropriate powder blue retro kitsch Danelectro bass, (and what might or might not have been a Led Zeppelin Swansong tattoo adorning the guitarist) enthralled and entertained in equal measure. Up third came the (I understand Danish) breakneck fun pop sounds of Charla Fantasma, closely followed by the sultry, hard rocking, eternally enjoyable (and eternally hung over) Cosines. After such an intense first couple of hours Steven James Adams provided a somewhat more whistful change of pace. A mix of amplified and fully acoustic tracks kept the audience enthralled and utterly engaged. Last on for the morning session saw the return of two thirds of Sarandon, but this time making up half of A Witness who again kept spirits up with a well judged mix of new and older material.
Another, this time sadly overcast refreshment break came and went with just enough time to make it back inside for the Ethical Debating Society. 35 minutes of raucous dual guitar led garage punk led to the wonderful, whimsical world of a solo Fishboy set, ending with an extraordinary acoustic rock out amongst the audience. The utterly magical and sublime (even with makeshift improvised tic tacs shaker) Middle Ones were as infectuously melodic and harmonious as always.
Up next came leather, sunglasses and astonishing extreme feedback noise in he shape of the Manhattan Love Suicides. They are absolutely extraordinary and should without doubt be experienced by everyone. Rounding off the weekend fell rather perfectly to Motherwell's finest, the Just Joans. A great mix of old and new songs flew by, interspersed with the intrinsic, easy rapport between David, Katie, and occasionally the audience. A perfect end to a spectacular three days.
By the end of Sunday, and having seen 22 bands over the two days, I can firmly (and quite incredibly) say that I didn't say a bad one amongst them!!

If this has indeed been the final instalment of an ever growing, intriguingly (or should that be 
increasingly...) insane proposition then it can only be said that the bank holiday weekend will be rather empty for a lot of people next year and I sincerely hope to see a sixth event, but then Oddbox does need a little time off now and then!
 However, in a somewhat uncertain world, particularly given the point at which I am writing 
this, there is one certainty. Trev can put on one hell of a do!!

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