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Miscellaneous - Pow to the People, 31/3/2002

  by Gary Wollen

published: 15 / 4 / 2002

Miscellaneous - Pow to the People, 31/3/2002


The third annual Pow to the People festival at the Camden Monarch in London featured such indie pop lumionaries as the Butterflies of Love, Woodchuck, Cane 141 and Saloon. Gary Wollen has a riveting Easter Sunday

I normally make it a rule of thumb never to attend anything that ends in a number(Sequels are never the same, are they ? ), but this Easter perhaps due to mild chocolate intoxication I decided to lay that ideal to rest. I thought a day out in the fresh air of a Camden pub with nothing but Indie music and perhaps the occasional drink was what was called for. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. This is Track & Field’s third Pow to the People, all of them at the Camden Monarch and quite a line-up it was too. After a preliminary pint I headed upstairs to catch the last 5 or 6 songs by the American band Sodastream. They ease us into this fine, sunny Easter Sunday with their plaintive and sombre songs. They gently swell and sway through some beautiful folk melodies and pave the way perfectly for Riviera who embody the late 70’s, early 80’s synth pop of Soft Cell and Human League. This they couple with the vocal delivery of Debbie Harry, together with the presence and distance of Kraftwerk. Woodchuck presented a much more organic sound with some very lush arrangements and two glorious singles for us to hang on to long after they’ve departed the stage. As with all Track & Field events, the songs played over the PA between bands were impeccable and I even forgot to venture downstairs to fill my glass. Thank heavens there was a bar upstairs. Cane 141 were a touch more lo-fi, but, as the band members chopped and changed their instruments from electric guitars to moogs and back again, their songs stood out on the strength of their advanced melodies. There were times though when the acoustic guitarist looked as though he would rather have been somewhere else. When Saloon took the stage the atmosphere seemed to increase a gear or two and the sound became noticeably better and louder. On this occasion they were edgy and more urgent than when I had seen them before and they certainly benefitted from this urgency. Sure they were still in their anti star, non performance mode, but there was a desire and warmth that balanced that stance and complimented their new album, '(This is) What We Call Progress' very well. I had never seen Black Neilson before but after this gig I would certainly try to see them again. They play their songs, or should I say dismember their songs with a mighty mournful noise that sometimes felt downright uncomfortable and tense beyond belief. Just as the song sounded like it was going over the edge they haul it back to the relative safety of downright uncomfortable. Top stuff! This was not, if the truth be told, Camera Obscura’s best night. They were plagued by the Darren Anderton of Guitar amps. It took a good half an hour to rectify this problem, while they all stood around on stage looking somewhat ill at ease and nonplussed. During that half hour they didn’t play any songs at all or entertain us with their wit and charisma. It sounds like half of a Stereophonics gig. When they did start playing they were enchanting and ran through a good half of their fantastic debut album, 'Biggest Bluest Hi', although they didn’t play their first two singles, which are my personal favourites. The Butterflies of Love were another band I had never seen perform live and if you are unfamiliar with their work they rock like fuck!!! They demonstrated supremely their awe-inspiring wall of jangle and I lost myself completely in tinnitus heaven. The songs were just working their way into my head without, I should add, any opposition when they floated away into the ether to be replaced by another gem. If you don’t own any of their records, buy them because they are classics and as a live band they would give anyone a run for their money. So there you go, Easter Sunday, 8 bands and as many great records as you could cram into the Monarch and all for a paltry £10. That’s 66% of a ticket to see the great Gomez (and I don’t use the term great lightly or indeed correctly). So save the money you would have spent on the Gomez ticket until next Easter and with the other fiver…well that will get two into the Betsy Trotwood for the next Track & Field club night.

Picture Gallery:-
Miscellaneous - Pow to the People, 31/3/2002

Miscellaneous - Pow to the People, 31/3/2002

Miscellaneous - Pow to the People, 31/3/2002

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