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Summer Sundae Festival, De Montfort Hall, Leicester, August 14th-16th 2010 (Part 1)

August 19, 2010

June’s Big Session Festival in Leicester has become a firm favourite in our festival calendar, but this year we decided we’d also go to the venue’s bigger and more mainstream festival, Summer Sundae. Astral and I thought it would be a bit more fair on our lads to have some acts that were more their style, although their tastes are clearly far wider than those of most of their friends and acquaintances. And the Premier Inn’s all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet was an irresistible addition to the weekend’s fun.

It was grey and drizzly as we drove into Leicester and before we checked into the hotel, we headed to the Wetherspoons for a cheapo lunch. My handy Summer Sundae app then updated me that the first act that I’d pencilled in to see, Liam Bailey, had cancelled, which meant there was no rush to go and get wristbanded. When we did get in, I headed for the real ale tent and we indulged in yet more award-winning Castle Rock Harvest Pale, Woodforde’s Wherry and Bateman’s Summer Swallow (left), all of them delicious and hoppy session ales.

We saw south-east London folksters Trevor and Hannah-Lou in the bar and wandered next door to the Musician Stage tent to see them play with Danny and the Champions. The tent was half full to start with, but Danny and the gang were received enthusiastically. Danny Wilson (formerly of south London favourites Grand Drive) is clean-shaven and less hairy these days, but he still conducts a gig like a religious revival. Opener Henry The Van, a touching eulogy to a well-loved tour van that has reached the end of its days, has become something of a Champs anthem. It’s the first track on their latest album, the fine Streets Of Our Time, and they followed it with Still Believe, from the first album. The motley band play what looks like a folky collection of instruments, but create quite a big rock sound. They’re often compared to The Boss, but there’s more in there than just the stadium anthemic stuff, though These Days, from the first album, segues into a toe-tapping Dancing In The Dark. Lose These Rags was well received and the crowd seemed to appreciate the band’s enthusiastic and positive outlook. Danny is endearingly romantic in his upbeat demeanour and his belief in music as a purveyor of happiness. Long may he run – unlike poor old Henry the Van.

Astral and I then made for the main stage to catch jangly Scottish band Teenage Fanclub (left), who make some of the sweetest Byrdsian, Big Starian sounds around. I know some people who are huge fans of theirs and I like them, but don’t understand the adoration. They do what they do well, though they sound pretty much as they did when I first saw them at least twenty years ago at the Mean Fiddler. And most of tonight’s songs were from the 90s, too – Can’t Feel My Soul (from 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain), Star Sign (from 1991’s Bandwagonesque), Everything Flows (from their first album, 1990’s A Catholic Education), Sparky’s Dream (Grand Prix, 1995) and The Concept (also from Bandwagonesque). Still, it was good to see them again and hum along.

After a beer-tent interlude, we returned to the Musician Stage tent for Jason and the Scorchers, a perfect band for Friday night. There was a slight chill in the air and the tent wasn’t full, but we were soon warmed up by some good ole Southern cowpunk fun. New numbers Mona Lee, Land Of The Free and Gettin’ Nowhere Fast were joined by oldies but goodies Shop It Around, Absolutely Sweet Marie and the rollicking 200 Proof Lovin‘:
She gives me 200 proof lovin’
Pure as any moonshine
Made down in Tennessee
I get high on her kissin’ and her huggin’
200 proof lovin’ is all the proof I need.

After that, we had a riproaring selection of more oldies – Harvest Moon, White Lies and Broken Whiskey Glass – before they left the stage to a huge roar of approval. Great stuff. Afterwards, I said hello and thanks to ace guitarist Warner Hodges (who I’d seen not only at this year’s Scorchers show in London, but also at the Dan Baird one), who said that Dan was planning to come back to Europe in November, which is nice. It was a great way to round off our first Summer Sundae evening.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. john denley permalink
    August 19, 2010 11:36 pm

    Must confess I love the Fannies warts and all – I think they are still in touch with their younger selves – perpetual West Coast teenage music – with a young live fan base even now,in my experience.

    Jason & The Scorchers – now that is another wonderful live band – migh sound daft but I always thought that Jason Ringenberger sounded like a rockabilly version of Gram P,with a certain amount of heartbreak in hi voice.

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