Festival Review: End of the Road – Sunday

The last day of the festival began for FFS at the Garden Stage.  Spirits were high –conditions underfoot were dramatically improved from the night before and the sun was showing its face once again. The Wave Pictures performed an accomplished and lively set which saw lead singer David Tattersal accidentally insulting his mother before dedicating scrumptious pop fiesta ‘Love You Like a Madman’ to her. I’d have forgiven him.  There followed drum, lead and bass solos to showcase the not inconsiderable talent of this three-piece.  Indeed, bassist Franic Rozycki’s solo was so good that Tattersal could not help but declare his surprise.  Stand-out songs included ‘Now You’re Pregnant’ sung by drummer Jonny Helm, which featured these delightfully funny lines on the death of Johnny Cash: ‘And you say “It’s not like Elvis” / and you would be right’. For we sleepers-in, this was the perfect way to begin our Sunday.  (Keep your eyes peeled for appearances from the members of the Wave Pictures in the ensuing account of the day.  They really do get about a bit). [HT]

Former Moldy Peaches singer Kimya Dawson arrived onstage early for her sound check, and was therefore ready 10 minutes before her official start time. Rather than shuffle off to stand at the side of the stage she did the only sensible thing and started early. The first few songs of the set were taken from her new kids’ album “Alphabutt” which slowly hypnotised the audience as they sang along to the simplest of choruses. The crowd seemed more comfortable, however, when Dawson moved on to her better-known solo work, including material from the Juno soundtrack which recently brought her to wider public notice. Whilst she is not the most confident of performers, Dawson’s frank lyricism and timorous demeanour had the better part of her audience eating out of the palm of her hand. [HT]

As darkness fell FFS nipped back to the tent to put on its fisherman jumper before settling into the shelter of the Big Top to see Darren Hayman and Jack Hayter reunited and playing Hefner favourites. In high-spirits throughout, Hayman instructed us all to trade in our old busman’s wave-inspiring Hefner tees for the new batch, they’re fairtrade don’t you know, as well as dropping the terrible news that they were ‘too old’ for Hefner, and this was the last time they’d play the songs live. Well thank God we were there. Wave Pictures frontman David Tattersal looked as awestruck as we were as he joined his heroes for a couple of tracks. To complete the End of the Road love in, Hayman demanded that we didn’t move from our spots for the next couple of hours. And FFS didn’t because we’re pretty sure there was nothing more important going on in the world than the next two acts. [LR]

In spite of sustained and apparently insurmountable problems with his faithful old guitar, Jeffrey Lewis delighted the army of fans who crammed into the Big Top to watch his set.  Jeff and his brother Jack were joined onstage for part of the set by (you guessed it) David Tattersal of The Wave Pictures, this time showcasing his skills on the ukulele.  Another delightful guest appearance was John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, who couldn’t have been more ebullient as he helped out with the shouted chorus of Crass cover ‘Do They Owe us a Living?’ New-ish songs of note included ‘Broken, Broken, Broken Heart’ which put across the part of the self-destructive lover, and witty delight ‘I Miss Herman Dune with Two Brothers in the Band’. And FFS’s two favourite songs: the as-yet unreleased ‘Roll Bus Roll’ and ‘Don’t Let the Record Label Take You Out To Lunch’ from the album It’s the Ones Who Have Cracked that the Light Shines Through came side by side. The audience were also treated to a home-made black and white detective movie involving carnal acts with musical instruments and more plot twists than a twisty thing.  Following the set Jack and Jeff risked being crushed to death selling t-shirts and comic books to the mass of adoring fans who had all, without doubt, just had an utterly excellent time. [HT]

FFS had now been instructed to remain at the Big Top stage by both Darren Hayman and Jeff Lewis, and when faced with authority like that, who were we to argue? The Mountain Goats were the last thing on our schedule before the gruelling late-night drive back to the big smoke, and we were glad we stayed. Not deterred by a pesky broken A-string, an overwhelmingly happy John Darnielle gave it everything in a set whose highlights were undoubtedly fan-favourites ‘This Year’ and ‘No Children’. [LR]

The Mountain Goats sent the FFS team from the End of the Road back to this metropolis of concrete and smog on a cloud of folk-tinged elation.  Until next year…

Words: Helen True and Lynn Roberts