Pffft! Who needs headliners anyway?

It is now an annual custom of mine that I regret not buying a Leeds festival ticket – a custom that is in part a result of my headliner-snobbery.  Unfortunately by the time the  full lineup has been announced the tickets are well and truly sold to the hordes of Arcade Fire fans leaving me perhaps a little bitter. UPDATE– I have just endured the Arcade Fire highlights (research purposes…) and can confirm that they are still dullards and I cannot for the life of me figure out what separates them from coldplay and the rest.

The last time I truly enjoyed one of the main stage headliners was way back in ’06 when the ever mighty Pearl Jam performed a near 2 hour set.  Since then only  repeated disappointment has followed in the shape of Razorlight, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Metallica and The Killers.

Your intrepid writer on location circa 2008

By this far through the post I have probably alienated 99% of music fans and  to few of you who have made it this far I thank you dearly, I will now introduce to you my pick of the bands whom I really wish I had a ticket to see.

The recently reformed (New album please!!) Atari Teenage Riot no doubt rocked the Festival Republic tent on Friday with their punk/metal/gabber noise anarchy though I cant help but feel amused at the thought of a few stray Ash fans being caught up in the resulting mayhem!

Whilst suffering from chronic RATM lyric syndrome, ATR do sound at least sincere if not a little ridiculous furthermore there is something charming in their uncompromising nature .  Nevertheless their intensity more than compensates for this 200+ BPMs, distorted kick drums, guitar samples and screamed lyrics are all standards of their songs.  Thouby gh now they  sound a little dated their influence upon the gabber and breakcore scene of which I am such a fan of is almost unparalleled and so to see them play is kind of a dream of mine. Enjoy!

On first impressions Gaggle look like a space-age (im thinking Sun Ra via Joseph’s Technicolour Dreamcoat) Polytechnic Spree, and thankfully they far exceed the expectations conjured by this description.

The 20 strong ‘alt choir’ perform pop songs backed with glitchy raw electronica, it is a refreshing combination and one which has (and quite rightly so) brought them much critical acclaim.  In my experience vocals in most of dance music tend to be ‘cheesy’ and are often to the detriment of the overall track, however the format of a choir provides much more varied textures, rhythms and harmonies and actually push vocals to the front of the mix and really enhance the track.

Caribou is the stage name of Daniel Victor Smaith, I am only really familiar with his most recent release Swim though I promise to explore the rest of his output soon.  Listening to this album is an absolute joy largely in part due to the excellent and interesting production (Caribou was aided by the ever fantastic Four Tet in some places) Smaith allegedly wanted to create music that sounded as if it ‘came from out of the water’, and upon listening it is clear that he was successful this music sounds fluid, organic and deep.

‘Odessa’ has scarcely been off my headphones since i discovered it, It is a psychedelic-pop electronica affair powered by a bassline and a drumbeat.  Upon this basic drum and bass framework caribou layers and layers melodic and rhythmic ideas resulting in something which kind of reminds me of ‘Remain In Light’ era Talking Heads; despite the complexity of the layering the arrangement still seems minimal and dancefloor orientated.

I was looking forward to seeing Mr. Smaith in November but I have unfortunately double booked myself. Don’t miss out yourselves and keep your eyes peeled for tour date.

And now for my final trick ladies and gentlemen, I shall return to bed for an extra hour (or so) of sleep.

Adios sleeping pattern!



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