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A dreamy line-up for the End of the Road festival
THIS was the year of dreamy, floating music at the End of the Road Festival, and the magical Larmer Tree Gardens was the perfect setting.
Although the likes of Beach House, Perfume Genius, Alt-J, Lanterns on the Lake and Midlake all shimmered beautifully, Indie music is a broad church and there were plenty of other fascinating forms to enjoy.
There were the two old stagers on Friday who couldn’t be anything but alternative. Roy Harper, founding father of psych folk, gave a transcendental performance, while the quirky American cult hero Van Dyke Parks made you glad the world is not a uniform place.
As Harper finished his set with When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease, it brought a tear to your eye and made you proud to be an Englishman; in a weird sort of way.
Then there were the noise merchants, principally The Dirty Three, who possess a savage beauty and were very compelling.
Toy blew up a storm in the Big Top and Delicate Steve roared through some stunning souped-up guitar instrumentals in the Tipi Tent.
Saturday night belonged to the soul blues power of Alabama Shakes who gave the enthusiastic crowd at The Woods stage a really uplifting experience.
Indie giants Grizzly Bear had to follow them, which can’t have been easy, but as I said it’s a broad church and they soon had their own audience enraptured by some monumental music.
Sometime in the night I witnessed the witty New York troubadour Jeffrey Lewis give an audio visual (he’s also a cartoonist) lecture on the history of Punk on the Lower East side 1950-1975 with appropriate musical interludes, which was very informative.
And Sunday brought Swedish sisters First Aid Kit who played a gorgeous set (very floaty and dreamy) on the Garden stage.
Graham Coxon worked hard and pleased his fans with a solid set, which in turn was followed by my own favourite highlight of the weekend, the elemental Patti Smith.
Smith is a shaman, a ghost dancer and a channel to the soul all rolled into one. Backed by an excellent band, her performance was electrifying.
The punk poet icon of a generation, she remains an active and potent force.