So I’ve not long got back from End of The Road Festival that takes place in the glorious Larmer Tree Gardens, a magnificent setting to say the least (that’s also home to peacocks!). The festival holds so much magic in its little setting from its carefully curated stages, food and ale tents to my favourite area – the wonderful woods with the numerous art exhibitions, deejays, a piano stage, games corner, comedy stage, a Ferris wheel and a cinema. The only real groan was that the initial queues on Thursday to get into the festival were somewhat tedious (I don’t think the festival expected so many people on the first evening) plus maybe the rain which of course can’t be helped but overall it was another amazing festival. Below are some of my musical highlights anyway.
On Thursday the first act I got to see was The Moonlandingz. The band toasted us all with their radiation filled cosmic-psych-pop meets kraut sounds. Imagine The Clangers along with Iggy Pop forming a psych-pop and you’re almost there with The Moonlandingz. Maybe.
Next up was the legendary Slowdive who closed the Thursday evening at The Woods with their beautiful celestial shoegaze which was fitting under the moonlight sky. It’s easy for shoegaze bands to sometimes sound atrocious with their numerous pedals and feedback but Slowdive gave a master-class in how to play dreamy shoegaze.
Imagine The Clangers along with Iggy Pop forming a psych-pop and you’re almost there with The Moonlandingz.
Friday is when all the stages and areas open yet despite this all my Friday highlights came from The Big Top. One of the first acts I caught on the Friday was Goat Girl. Graduates of The Windmill in Brixton, Rough Trade Records’ Goat Girl were a great way to start the day with their country-tinted, ramshackled, indie sounds.
Next up was Kelly Lee Owens. Somewhat minimalist techno infused with euphoric dreamy-pop and gorgeous, ethereal vocals, Kelly Lee Owens proved to be my favourite set from the whole weekend which is really saying something considering EOTR had the best line-up of the year in the UK. It was a shame it wasn’t just a little bit later but nonetheless, if there was an award for the best set of the weekend then Kelly wins it.
…HMLTD bringing their frenetic glam-soaked post-punk sprinkled with surf-rock, trap, EDM and everything else.
A bit later came a set that was also in contention as one of the best sets of the weekend with HMLTD bringing their frenetic glam-soaked post-punk sprinkled with surf-rock, trap, EDM and everything else. Visceral, menacing and berzerk as ever, HMLTD certainly proved their worth as one of the most exciting live bands on the planet at the moment with their eccentric excellence.
Sadly due to visa issues, Mdou Moctar didn’t make it to the festival which was a shame as he was very far up on my to see list. Instead, I went to The Big Top to check Ultimate Painting who serenaded us with their sixties infused psychedelic-folk which sounded more epic live than it does on record.
Later in the evening Pond brought the party to EOTR. Playing their more 80’s-soaked sounds from The Weather rather than their epic, monstrous psych sounds which although was a shame, it was still a great way to finish the Friday as the Aussie outfit are always on form.
On Saturday the first act I caught was Psychic Markers who played a very early set at 11.45am in the Tipi Tent. Their heavenly, bewitching psych sounds combining elements of dreampop and shoegaze though was the perfect way to start a hungover Saturday.
Saturday was also clash-ageddeon so I only managed to catch a bit of The Lemon Twigs at The Garden Stage but I caught enough of the crooning, glam-rock brothers to reaffirmed my belief that they will be the biggest band in the world in a few years time headlining all your favourite and not so favourite festivals.
During The Lemon Twigs I ran to The Tipi Tent to catch new outfit W.H Lung who only formed mid-last year. Despite having only been around for a year or so the charismatic Mancunian outfit were a sonic force with 80’s indie mixed with whirling kraut bangers. W.H Lung are certainly worthy of your full attention and I’m sure very soon they will have it.
Headlining The Garden stage was garage-rock god, Ty Segall. Mosh Pits were brewing in line-check so it was clear that anarchy was going to erupt. Ty Segall shredded through The Garden like some really good grass cutter or something. On top of the rawkus performance, EOTR proved itself to be the nicest festivals again after a friend lost her phone crowd surfing yet 10 minutes after the set finished she soon had it returned from someone half way out in the crowd. Once again EOTR is the best…
Opening the Sunday Garden stage was Vaudou Game who also delivered one of the best sets of the weekend with their fantastic, fun-filled, afro-funk sounds which was saw large number in the crowd dancing to the sounds of Vaudou Game in the rain soaked garden. Even the large Hornets were out for Vaudou Game causing utter chaos…
Over in The Big Top a bit later on Shame brought an utter frenzy to EOTR. The south-London quintet were furious and thrilling with their angsty punk. Later on in The Big Top still, combining industrial dance sounds with experimental and drone, Blank Mass along with some mind altering visuals was a monsoon of teeth-shattering noise. The party at End of the Road truly started though with King Khan & The Shrines with their garage rock meets James Brown esque funk and soul. It was one of the most fun sets of the weekend without a doubt.
Having heard they pulled out of Victorious Festival which was only the week before, I was very nervous The Jesus And Mary Chain would do the same but luckily that wasn’t the case. The noise legends started off somewhat admittedly dull for the first 10 minutes but soon upped the level and delivered a sonic force of wonderful shoegaze, post-punk and noise-pop proving JAMC can still very much go with any band on the planet live. The misty, rainy night sky was fitting as JAMC brought a tremendous wall of noise along with all their ‘hits’ to EOTR to close out the main stage.
Overall it was another truly remarkable festival where mother nature couldn’t even ruin things and I urge anyone with an eclectic music taste (and is respectful towards bands and people!) to visit End of The Road Festival as it’s truly the most spellbinding weekend of the year where it’s all about the small details which make the huge difference.
Tickets are on sale now for the 2018 event via their website, and to make it even easier, you’re already able to begin the deposit scheme allowing you to pay a little now and the balance by July 2nd.