Tuesday, June 05, 2012

unexpected Small World incursion

Just a couple of days back from the USA and I found myself being whisked along backroads to the Small World Festival near Headcorn in a van with 3/4 of Syd Arthur, their sound engineer and all their gear. I'd only found out the festival was on the day before and wasn't expecting this to happen. We did the "we're in a band, we're running late" thing at the gate, got in fairly easily.

While helping to unload the van, a particularly familiar funky/proggy riff was floating over the nearby hedge. "What is that?" I kept thinking? "Who is that?" I was imagining some classic 70's album. Then I realised it was being played live. "What is it, and who's playing it so well?" became the next recurrent thought. This lasted a few minutes until I realised that it was my friends Lapis Lazuli playing up a storm (of their own material) over on the Kaplick stage. I got to take in a bit of their set before getting drawn into conversations with old friends and thereby somewhat distracted. But it was still daylight on the Friday, and they had a healthy crowd getting down to their complex, multilayered sound, I was happy to see.

Syd set up and played the set they've been touring lately — most of the superb On and On album, plus "Pulse", "Exit Domino" and "Morning's Calling" from the Moving World EP. Good to see Fred back behind the drums — his tinnitus has receded enough that he's been able to tour with the band (wearing earplugs). And always good to see the band playing out under an open sky for a festival crowd. A great welcome back to England.

I then hurried over to the Full Circle geodesic dome to catch the latter half of Cocos Lovers set. I caught one new song ("Gold or Dust") and lots of old favourites, played to a very lively Friday night crowd. Their new percussionist Hans wasn't able to be there, so Josh Magill from Zoo For You sat in on congas, to great effect. Ashley, who Josh drums with in Famous James and the Monsters, had also got up on stage, sort of tranced out next to Nicola, mouthing the words, occasionally adding the odd weird harmony, but somehow fully part of the band, funny that! They encored with "Old Henry the Oak", a song I thought I'd heard too many times, but somehow this version (with Will and Natasha's young son Henry playing tambourine, grinning and singing along) really did it for me. After that it was over to the Small World Tent for a bit of dub and socialising, before being whisked off site in the same direction we'd come. Summertime!


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