nme.com waves goodbye to the only festival that brings you everything from ABBA to Gorky's Zygotic Mynic...
How incredibly apt. At a festival by, for and featuring those who prefer to find their musical grace in the badlands way, way off the main road, it was ABBA who may accidently have left the most accurate mark on the weekend’s festivities.
Abba: The Movie was rolled out for an early Sunday afternoon dust-off. Chalet televisions throughout Camber Sands buzzed happily to the sights and sounds of uber-pop at its peak.
The battle-weary, it seemed, were crying out for some tunes. Maybe even, God forbid, a hint of melody or a dash of showmanship.
Thank God then for Alfie. The Twisted Nerve five piece ambled on to the stage at Bowlie 2 with just such a bag of tricks and a folk-fringed Oasis sound which may become a necessary part of our future. And judging by the flashing bulbs that followed frontman Lee around, it appears a new star may be about to shine.
Plone and Pram reverted to type. Both diverted without engaging – Plone by bleeping, Pram by being a cut-price Stereolab. But then they were never likely to do anything else.
Sophia closed with a cover of Pet Shop Boys’ ‘You Only Say You Love Me When You’re Drunk’. They dedicated it to Arab Strap’s legendary ligger Aidan Moffat, proving that alongside lushly melancholic, though still pacey, sparse alt(ish)-country trawls, Robin Proper-Sherpard carries a wry sense of humour.
Laika threatened to entertain for a time but failed to deliver. Their insertion of slightly menacing, slightly drum and bassy, slightly different beats remained, simply, slight. Shame.
Sometimes Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci sound as though they have a bagful of tracks made of little more than middle eights. Towards the upper limits of their psychedelic tendencies, they can sound as if they really are writing songs for themselves and if anybody else likes them, it’s a bonus.
And then sometimes, like tonight, they can course through the ‘hits’ and make you forgive them for the worst of their shyly bumbling excesses. So hats off to ‘Sweet Johnny’ and a majestic ‘Let’s Get Together’. And that one about the patio. And Euros’ more than competent handling of a (rather amusing) heckler demanding Super Furry Animals tracks.
Gorky‘s as festival closing showmen – who’d have thought it? Just put it down to that Abba bug.