Pennyblackmusic Presents: Heist & Idiot Son + The Volunteered & Simon Bromide

Headlining are Heist with support from Idiot Son , The Volunteered and Simon Bromide
Hosted at the Water Rats London, Saturday 10th September. Doors open 7:30; First band on at 7:45; Admission £10 on the door or £8 in advance from We got Tickets
Located at ....... Click here to view in Goggle Maps We look forward to seeing you on the night. For more information Click here

Miscellaneous - Midland Railway, Butterley, Derbyshire, 267/2008...27/8/2008

  by Jamie Rowland

published: 31 / 7 / 2008

Miscellaneous - Midland Railway, Butterley, Derbyshire, 267/2008...27/8/2008

At the second ever Indietracks Festival, which takes place in a railway heritage site in Derbyshire, Jamie Rowland enjoys sets from indie pop/rock acts such as Herfner's Darren Hayman, the Bobby McGee's, the Wedding Present and ballboy


Over the weekend of the 26th and 27th July, the normally quiet, unassuming and entirely steam train orientated site of the Midland Railway Centre in Derbyshire was taken over. From the four corners of the earth they had come, the indie-popsters of the world, on a pilgrimage peppered with sherbert, crumpets and French-fancies, to worship at the tea cup-shaped alter of twee. In other words, there was an indie music festival! Yes, the second ever Indietracks festival arrived stocked to the brim with sunshine, music, burgers, trains and an unfathomably high concentration of polka-dot-dress-and-specs combinations. For Pennyblackmusic, I headed up there to soak up the good vibes and listen to a variety of interesting, enjoyable and sublime bands. And one really, really bad one. Oh, and I also saw some trains! Arriving around 1 p.m. on the Saturday, the first thing I noticed was the small-scale of Indietracks – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. There’s an intimate, personal atmosphere to Indietracks which you don’t get at the larger, sponsor-driven festivals. It feels like a real labour of love on the part of founder Stuart Mackay, and all the bands seemed genuinely flattered to have been invited to be a part of the proceedings. There are three stages (four, including the acoustic area at one end of the tea tent), the biggest being called, as tradition dictates, the Main Stage. This was inside a large, steel warehouse-type building, which I assume was once used for storing resting steam-trains. On this stage, the indie-revellers were looking forward to seeing the likes of the Wedding Present, Los Campesinos, KateGoes, Comet Gain, and many more! It’s the perfect size for the audiences these bands drew, but the corrugated iron walls meant that any sounds louder than a quiet twang drowned in their own echo, making it very difficult at times to discern what the band was actually playing. Don’t get me wrong, the bands that played on this stage were still enjoyable, and some great sets were played, but it could become quite frustrating to have to keep straining to hear what songs were being played after a while, particularly with the headlining bands, who played for longer. But this is really a minor gripe, which I shall dwell on no longer. The secondary, or ‘Outdoor’ stage was one of those trucks which transform into a stage and, for me, was where most of the festival highlights played, including acoustic-antipodeon song-smith Darren Hanlon, who had a selection of anti-folk style songs to play to the appreciative Saturday afternoon crowd. He also seemed like a thoroughly decent chap. The third stage was the Church stage, which as its name suggests was in a small railway church. This was a pretty great setting for a number of the bands that played here, as the acoustics within the church were really good, and their songs were coming through crystal clear. The problem with the church stage was that often at times it would become packed to the point of bursting, and with the sun beating down on it too, it’s tin and brick structure acted like a very effective oven. Indeed, during Darren Hayman’s set some people were in fact quite literally cooked in their seats, and their charred remains were left to sate the appetites of those hungry festival goers who couldn’t get out the door and make their way to the burger van. But the set was fantastic, so you know… every cloud, and all that! (some of these things might not have happened.) Now, after all that, let’s get round to the music itself – after all, that’s what it’s all about, innit? One thing which struck me about the Indietracks festival was the propensity for under-sized instruments; there were more ukuleles, mandolins, toy keyboards and kazoos than you could shake a stick at. The most notable use of tiny instruments probably came from the ever-popular, and charmingly aggressive, Bobby McGees, who played in the church towards the end of Sunday. I’ve seen the Bobby McGees once before, and was thoroughly entertained, so I had high expectations for their set this time around, and I’m happy to say I wasn’t left disappointed. If you don’t know what they sound like, it’s sort of like listening to the songs from Playaway after all the cast have become drunk, angry and violent. But I’ve gone ahead of myself. The first band I saw upon arrival at the festival was Slow Down Tallahassee, a bubble-gum pop revival sort of band of the sort that seem to be ten-a-penny, in the wake of the Pipettes. They were fun, and the small crowd watching seemed to be into it, but it’s not really my cup of tea to be honest. Next, I wandered over to the main stage, where Tortoise Shout! were playing. They played an enjoyable set, and though the point when they got a number of audience members up on stage to play kazoos, in a song about kazoos, played on a mandolin, was a little too twee for me personally, the crowd certainly enjoyed it – and if you are going to be twee, Indietracks is the place to do it! Other acts I caught on this first day were Shrag, who were a No Wave influenced keyboard-led band in the vein of Das Wanderlust, and Red Pony Clock, who worked the crowd at the outside stage into a Latin-laced-lather with their brass scented folk-pop. On the main stage, Airport Girl played a blinder, enough to make me stick a little asterisk next to them in my festival guide as a reminder to look them up later. I recommend you do the same! Not so enjoyable were the Russian group Punk TV, who closed the outside stage on the first day. The guide says that the Russian music press has called them "the best indie band in the country", which seems rather harsh on all the other indie bands in the country. To my mind, Punk TV sounded like a bad version of Secret Machines, who, let’s face it, aren’t that great anyway. Somewhere amongst all this, I came across Darren Hayman playing in the church, but the heat coming out of the place practically burnt my eyebrows off, so I opted to listen at the door – it sounded brilliant, and I’m assured by some who endured the heat inside that it was well worth it. Bringing Saturday to a close were the Wedding Present, who pretty much filled the main stage area. They were absolutely fantastic, as expected, and David Gedge and co. seemed to be enjoying it as much as all the people watching them (which seemed to be true of all the bands playing over the weekend, actually.) A disco carried the festivities on into the early hours, but sadly I wasn’t able for it, as I’m afraid I was just plain tuckered out, and headed off to get some sleep ahead of the next full day of Indietracks fun. Sunday was a little all over the place in terms of the line-up, as some kind of technical fault or something similar held up the bands on the outdoor stage from starting. This meant that a lot of the acts were shuffled around in the schedules, resulting in ballboy being moved from main to outdoor stage, and the Retro Spankees from outdoor to main, amongst other changes. To be honest though, I think this change worked in favour of ballboy, whose outdoor stage-closing set took place just as the sun went down, with drunken festival-goers dancing to their melancholy tunes with arms around each other, and of course getting a bit more bouncy and frivolous when necessary. ballboy were the highlight of the whole festival for me; the music, setting and atmosphere for their set were all in perfect harmony with each other. It’s taken me a long time to get it together to see ballboy live, and it was definitely worth the wait. So the change was good for ballboy, and probably good for the Wave Pictures, who were much touted around the site leading up to their set. And they were good, certainly one of the more musically adept bands at the festival, but I felt lacking a lot of the charm that the other acts had to offer. Less fortunate were the Retro Spankees, who were now playing on the main stage. A lot of people coming in were asking who they were, and in normal circumstances I’m sure they would have drawn a bigger crowd, but what with a lot of people leaving the festival early, coupled with the poor sound quality on the main stage, it was hard to discern tune from noise. As a fan, I really enjoyed their set, and they were as energetic and fun as always, but it did seem a great shame to me that a lot of their sound was lost in an echo. Having said that, the crowd they did gather, which was still a decent size, seemed thoroughly entertained. Sadly for all concerned, one set that was in no way affected by all the changes was Strawberry Story, who I feel deserve a special mention for being the only band who received a curt “no!” from the crowd when they asked if they should play another song. Other highlights from the day included Zoey van Goey, who were ten times better than their name would suggest, Brontosaurus Chorus, Winston Echo, who played a brilliant set on a moving steam train, and Derby ensemble the Deirdres, who were a lot of fun, and probably very nice people too (if you know them and they’re horrible, do let me know). I didn’t get to see Los Campesinos close the festival, as I had to get all the way back down to Kent before work the next day. So for me, Indietracks ended with the sun setting behind ballboy. And as I watched a drunken man in a Newcastle shirt dance, eyes closed, drunkenly on his own, a stupid smile spread across his face, I thought back over the two days I had spent at Indietracks. I really enjoyed myself, and I hope to return next year to see the few remaining sound problems all ironed out, and a bigger line-up, with more of the same and extras on top. What’s great about the festival scene at the moment, is that there seem to be smaller alternatives popping up all over the place, different festivals to cater for different needs. And Indietracks has the least threatening clientele of any festival you’ll find. This one’s for the tea and toy trumpets crowd. 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Miscellaneous - Midland Railway, Butterley, Derbyshire, 267/2008...27/8/2008

Miscellaneous - Midland Railway, Butterley, Derbyshire, 267/2008...27/8/2008

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