As you may know, we were at the inaugural Long Division festival in Wakefield on Saturday (we're aware it technically ran Friday to Sunday, but we have limits). The first thing to say is congratulations to Dean, Chris and everybody else involved in the largely excellent organisation. Yes, there was the odd issue with too big a band in too small a venue (cf Wave Pictures in a pub back room, the queue nearly back to the front door) and we hope what seems from all accounts to be a security overreaction that brought the Wedding Present's it has to be said slightly underpowered headline set to a lengthy pause (in the only venue the festival didn't supply their own people for, according to the organisers) doesn't affect the chances of a licence being granted for next year. That aside, everywhere ran pretty much to time, the venues were approachable and within short distances, there were no other major organisational issues on the day that we saw and it genuinely looked like everyone was in the best of spirits. Even the predicted rain pretty much held off.
Musically there was, of course, a great Los Campesinos! set, very much one from a band doing the summer circuit knowing they have a whole new set of songs ready to launch, but little the worse for that. It occurred to us as the floorboards became spring loaded that LC! gigs are, when you stop and think about it, becoming pretty weird. A room full of well lubricated kids, all with arms aloft, at least a couple of whom are trying to crowdsurf, indulging in a collective shoutalong to a heavy treatise on the death of love replete with imagery about being dropped from a plane and "given the option of dying painlessly in peace at 45". Elsewhere what we saw of the Wind-Up Birds confirmed their cynical outsider greatness (new single to be Tracklisted very soon) and that national cult status is overdue, Emma Pollock's command of offbeat melody really needs digging out from the shadow cast by the Delgados' catalogue and at the first gig of asking The Birthday Kiss are showing plenty of promise. Also we have it first hand that Darwin Deez seems to really like Napoleon IIIrd, even if the sound mix on the vocals didn't.
Plus, as press, we got given a lanyard.
And then there was the coming glory of hometown heroes Runaround Kids. They played Reading & Leeds at BBC Introducing's insistence last year and on this occasion they left the 200 capacity The Hop as packed as just about humanly possible, or at least such as it can under fire safety regulations. Even with all the windows and doors open it still felt like the oxygen was being fast sucked out of the room. Their power trio set-up takes its cues from the same well of American college rock fuzziness as Copy Haho and Tubelord (not unreasonably they supported Johnny Foreigner in April in that same place, and we think all of LC! were watching - half of them were standing next to us), slamming riffs and hooks into each other, taking longer time over songs to deviate at quieter hue from the straight ahead punchy path. We are going to have to watch these very closely because they could turn into something enthralling. In the meantime this is their single from last September, No Dreams.
No Dreams by Runaround Kids