I realised last year, while attending a big show at the O2, a bit painfully far away from the sweaty pit, that THAT would be the last time of me on a standing seat nor in such massive venue. A bit later I also learnt how I much more enjoyable small bands were, when playing at touching distance in very scruffy pubs (and potentially stalking them a bit during their first promo gigs.
Just as has been happening on the previous weekends, it all started with a Tweet, or more precisely, with a retweet. It all occured because of the guys from Don't Panic: They gifted me with a pair of VIP tickets for 1-2-3-4 Shoreditch Festival this last Saturday and I couldn't be more happy about it.
The venue: Shoredtich park. One of those dark black holes of unexplored London in my map and ridiculously close to places I very often visit.
The deal: small bands, up-coming groups in a 1-day urban festival organised in different small tents an an outdoors main stage. Or according to the Evening Standard: 'A line up so Hip that it's band will probably be out of fashion by the time they leave the stage'.
I took it as a fresh Saturday lesson of new music for me.
The first gamble of the evening came with La Femme, as I had vaguely read about them on the Internet the day before while trying to figure out what was essential to see. From second 2, we knew we were at the right place although they didn't announce their name until passed the second song.
I didn't understand a word of what they were saying, but it was not necessary. Their attitude was enough to keep us dancing throughout all their set, constantly commenting that we should check them out back at home.
My lack of expertise on the subject unables me to describe their music, but I could say they were some sort of 80's French Block Party. And I liked them a lot.
Time for freshen up a bit after Out of nowhere I spotted a terrific leather studded jacket.
A bit unconsciously, followed the guy and ipdiscovered that he was surrounded by more people wearing black outfits. I'm fact, a very big group was wearing a similar t-shirt. It said THE PUKES. That when we looked at the program and realised that THE PUKES were playing in around half an hour just there, at the Rat Pit.
On the meantime, we went for a walk to the Artrocker tent were we saw a bit of Nightmare Air but was not engaging enough. Right there in the middle of the tent, I quickly needed to an alternative to our current position, so my right hand went straight to my face, emulating me throwing up. It was too noisy for words, so it was the only efficient way of saying 'Let's risk it and let's go to see The Pukes'.
Still a bit confused about the name, we walked back to the Rat Pit and made our way into the sweaty and crowded front row, unveiling the true meaning of the band's name: Punk with Ukuleles.
The Pukes, a band of probably 15 musicians playing all sorts of different Ukuleles and a drum set. Such display of said tiny guitars could perfectly be the entire catalogue of Thomann Guitars or the entire stock of all the music shops around Denmark St.
Just as mix matched he ukuleles were, so were the musicians. And that's what made them absolutely enjoyable, such diversity and eagerness. They were having so much fun playing that so was all the tent. It was pretty good.
Got a badge from them.
I kind of want to buy an Ukulele now.
A bit after dinner time and making full use of the golden wristband, we bumped into the guys of London On The Inside. It turned out to be absolute perfect timing, as my limited bands-to-see references had run out an hour ago and they helped me with that.
While refilling our glasses and catching up with random business, they spotted Charles Rowell from the Crocodiles showing up in the little golden-wristband yard so they stopped him for a little chat, while me standing with a bit of a poker face. And that's how the first induction of the day started....
We went to see the Crocodiles show, apparently secret, filling the worrying 1-hour gap between Dirty Beaches (yes, we was also sort of headlining) and The Duke Spirit.
First thing I loved was Brandon Welchez's energy on stage. Pretty full-on. Nice moves by the way.
The guy was enjoying himself, and so were we.
Then I further learned that they are related to the Dum Dum girls for marital reasons. Small world!
Americans, from San Diego by the way.
The second induction from LOTI involved a female. According to them, there are 3 big women in the music industry that totally ooze fierceness and sexiness. The first, I can't remember, the second Alison Mosshart and the third Leila Moss from The Duke Spirit.
Back into the yard, refuelling, discussing about what said above, they run into a blonde woman and brought her to where we were. I was introduced to her but my second poker face of the moment was just happening so I didn't catch her name. But it was there, while chatting with her that I realised who she was, as very well described by the guys.
It was Leila herself.
And minutes after she was jumping into the stage. Oh wow!
And there she was, full on with her band. Not a disappointment at all
I came across lovely characters.
I swear I didn't plan the photo. Just happened. I just really liked her headdress.
After running off the big crowd back to the sweaty Rat Pit as I was slightly certain that I knew the band Zulu (for a moment I thought I was mistaken them with Zulu Winter) . We listened to the first song and then we shoot off back to the main stage, as it was clashing with one of the headliners. We got a bit confused. They were quite peculiar. The are on my list of bands to double check at home.
By the time the sun was hiding, it was show time for more girl action on the main stage.
Deap Vally. Guitar and drum set. Just in the style of the White Stripes.
The singer, Lindsey Troy has an amazing voice.
I said about up-cycling...
And time for the Buzzcocks, the headliners of the festival and part of history. I couldn't miss it.
Steve Diggle giving it all with his white Telecaster. I'm kind if liking them a lot lately.
I sang (we ALL DID) along 'Ever Fallen in love'.
We managed to squeeze in to see Citizens! At the Artrock tent, but I was so tired I didn't even take a picture.
All in all, 1-2-3-4 Shoreditch was VERY good. I missed it last year, when The Raveonettes were playing, so managed to show up this year. In my opinion, the concept was ideal: small bands = bands discovery. Urban location = no awkward muddy camping nor taking days off. And price, well, I did not pay for the entrance, but 20 pounds for the whole day is rather good value for money for the whole day (and apparently better organized than the year before).
Let's see what they bring next year. That will be another story.