6th visit to EOTR and the early forebodings about lineup and weather came to fruition over a damp weekend at the begining of September. Changes were also noted, there appeared to be more here this year then ever before. Has it been increased I dont know but those car parks were very full. And merchenise too. Gone were the Nick Rhodes and Jacknife posters and in comes merchendise, tea towels, mugs, simple bags, tee shirts, and other stuff I have just simply forgotten.
Added to which, carton animals, the bear thefox and the badger were still there but Slyvan scenes with Human–animal hybrids riding on the backs of four legged creatures. So much so that either side of The Woods Stage had been dressed with mirrored scenes. Although this could have done with some better lighting.
To reinforce the settings there were the performers and never before has such a line up of animal related names been present. In the end there were 10 with Stealing Sheep coming in as a last minute substitute for Omar Souleyman. Namely and in no particular order Animal Collective, Bats for Lashes, Stealing Sheep, Cat People, Cat's Eyes, Goat, Dr Dog, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizards, LionLimbs, Tiger Cats. Add to that both Savages and Local Natives and you wonder if a theme is developing.
The weather certainly spoilt the whole weekend, but fortunately the site stood up to it. A little mud at a couple of locations but no more than an inch deep at worst. The Garden Stage which had its grass cut short was in rather poor condition by the end, but otherwise we were lucky.
A couple of themes developed with performances and these are reflected in my awards.
Without doubt Savages, Savages and Savages. Breathtaking performance late on Friday afternoon. The sight of Jehnny Beth walking and singing on top of the audience was pure theatre, but their whole performance just outshined everybody else. They have come a long way since we saw them at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles a couple of years back
National (Welsh) Treasure
Meilyr Jones. A great entertaining performance including appearing to die as he fell off the stage before walking up and down in the pit in front of the stage where last year the peacocks strolled. His rapport with the audience a lesson for all.
And four women grabbed the attention,
Ayse Hassan of Savages
Emily Lansley of Stealing Sheep
Naomi Griffin of Martha
And the girl from Meilyr Jones's band who name I forget which is appalling given he gave her 5 separate credits from the pit.
Gemma Thompson of Savages. The sheer orchestral sound that she produces is gob smackingly brilliant. A real talent.
Fay Milton of Savages, Dynamite and she is so small, puts most drummers to shame.
Noah Lennox of Animal Collective. He just powered away behind the three other upfront members. The dias his kit was set on was just rocking away underneath him so much so I was waiting for it to collapse.
Whitney, Martha, Goat (too much running around by the singers though) Broken Social Scene, (what a line up with at one point two bass players playing, bit of a mush of sound)
The complete Sunday afternoon line up so well compared, I had tears in my eyes, by Katie Mulgrew.