Monday, May 16, 2011

A grand day out: Brainlove Festival

So to the first in an occasional series this spring not quite summer. We know some people don't have the staying power or will to sleep on soil (and that's just those booked into Travelodges, ho ho) to do festivals, and we're aware that a lot of people don't find multi-venue city roustelays of the Camden Crawl/Great Escape type agreeing with them as they can only get normal wristbands and hence get crowded out of all venues below O2 size by A&Rs. Instead, let us recommend festivals that take place in one or two days and have full knowledge of onions when it comes to booking policy.

Over the six years we've been doing this you may just have become aware of our pervading love of 90% of the output of Brainlove Records, home to electronic effects box-toting DIY waifs and strays and marshalled by the keen ears of man of strength and beard John Brainlove. His annual general meeting is Brainlove Festival, every spring bank holiday weekend at the Brixton Windmill, and this year's crop provides particularly fine fare. Some choice cuts...

This year's headliners have had a lineup rejig of late and the demo we've heard suggests something if not thrashier then certainly a greater barrage of sound, somewhere more straight-up anguished. That stated All Creatures Will Make Merry wasn't our number three album of 2010 out of mere loyalty to Song, By Toad's consistently great output and that album's sense of space and time, not to mention extravagantly gifted songwriting and Neil Pennycook's hoarse bellow, carried through to their live work.

Napoleon IIIrd
From 2010's number three to 2010's number four. More directly this time, as James Mabbett and his recently acquired band will be playing the whole of Christiania with ace video/animation wrangler Broxen Pixel VJing behind him.

Pagan Wanderer Lu
We thought Andy Regan, ten years in, had gone on hiatus at the end of last year - in fact there were murmurings that he was considering giving up the PWL handle. In fact it turns out he's been quietly making a new album and he'll be playing chunks of it for the first time (including, if we're reading this correctly, debuting the songs to his own label boss) as well as whatever you fancy from his intelligently cracked back catalogue.

Mat Rivere
When we put on the Brainlove tour in October Riviere spent the whole set on his knees fiddling with various effects and noise boxes and took up the rest of the time watching The Room. That combined about sums his approach up, and here he'll be collaborating with cellist Oliver Barrett of Bleeding Heart Narrative.

Bear Driver
The Leeds outfit have been there or thereabouts for two or three years now but it's only in the second half of 2010 that they began really showing what they're capable of. What that is is a sound influenced by the underground US all-stars (Broken Social Scene, Pavement, Grandaddy, NMH) but with their own exuberance and way with a warped melody.

ALSO: Chicago kalimba viruoso and drone-psych exponent Bastargeist, of whom more tomorrow; industrial Dadaist but largely unclassifiable septet Kreatiivmootor; fellow Estonian lo-fi loop guru Multiphonic Rodent; electronic post-punks Patterns; Norwich duo about whom we can tell you nothing else Octagon Court; intimate Song, By Toad folkie Rob St John; Tom Milsom, Snorri Helgason, Tawny Owl and an as yet unnamed outdoor headliner TBA on the 21st. Plus DJ sets from acclaimed Italo-odd remixer to the micro-stars Dreamtrak, Matthew off Song By Toad and Brainlove himself.

Calendar: 28th-29th May, Brixton Windmill
Tickets: A tenner through Musicglue or Gigantic


andypwl said...

You going to come to the festival this year, Simon?

Simon said...

Mmmmmmhopefully. I'm actually doing proper reviewage elsewhere on Sunday and at a Leicester gig on Friday so it's touch and go, but if I can etc.