Sunday, August 30, 2015

Celebration Days 2015

Cermoy, Picardy, France
13th—15th August, 2015

Rae, my friends from Bristol, were booked to play this little festival in France and offered me a lift over and a free ticket. I've been curious to experience this one for the last few years, so the offer was too good to turn down. We traveled over with Rosy, an old Canterbury friend now based in Cornwall and a Celebration Days regular.

My musical highlights:

Hot Feet: the quartet from Stroud were playing as we arrived on site
Hanami: I caught most of Keeley and John's joyful set after I'd quickly put up my tent and returned to the main stage
Karma Sutra: heavy, fuzzy, bluesy psych-rock
Cheap Wine: more heavy, fuzzy, bluesy psych-rock, but done incredibly well! The demented howling and theatrical theremin playing of the lead singer is just perfect for their sound. This is one of several bands which Valentin, the festival organiser, plays in.
Ezza: a Tinariwen-style "desert blues" band, but just a three piece (guitar, bass, drums) — unfortunately I was very sleepy at this point, when I should have been jumping around up at the front

Joe Woodham: solo set from the Jouis' bass player
Leonie Evans: always great to hear Leonie — no set list, she just plays the old blues and jazz songs that come to mind, and everyone loves it
Lapis Lazuli: They played four pieces — two parts of the Alien suite, the new epic "Phighyphe" (which I learned is just pronounced "five") and an even newer, equally epic piece called "School". Their set was punctuated by a heavy downpour, but it didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm. Nice to see them playing outdoors for an enthusiastic crowd.
The Mindflowers: heavy psych-rock trio, now called "Sonic Dawn", for legal reasons

While Joe was warming up before his set, one of his friends asked if I played anything. I mentioned the saz, and it turned out her family were from Turkey. I was urged to go and get it, and ended up recording this simple modal jam with Joe:

Belly Hole Freak: a freak howling through a megaphone and playing slide guitar, nice and raw
Rae: they got me up to play a bit of saz on "Phonomonous", which sounded OK on stage, but the front-of-house mix went wrong, no Leonie vocals, me barely audible, apparently...oh well

Leon and I working on "Phonomonous", Hayley from The Psychedelic Treehouse crew and some anonymous knees

Me and My Kites: Their name stood out as obviously borrowed from a track on the legendary early 70's prog/psych-folk Fuschia album. Great stuff from Sweden. I spoke to the singer afterwards, and they've recently been acting as a backing band for Fuschia's singer and songwriter Michael Day, touring Europe! He lives in Sydney now, thought his band had been completely forgotten until a few years ago, so that must be pretty amazing for him.

Vels Trio: Cameron from The Boot Lagoon has this trio project happening in Brighton, with virtuosic drummer Dougal and keyboard player Jack. Jack's a guitarist who's only been playing keyboards for 18 months, which is almost impossible to believe when you hear them. Incredibly tight, vibrant music (made more vibrant by their hi-vis waistcoasts, a last minute stage innovation). The set morphed into an almost "organic disco" direction at one point. Great stuff!
Ape Skull: Super-heavy bluesy psych-rock, of which there was a lot during the weekend, but they looked the part (having stepped out of a time machine from 1969) and sounded great that evening.

Sunday was take-down day, and I spend most of it chilling out with the Psychedelic Treehouse crew, helping them pack up some decor. Overall, a great weekend spent in a beech wood in rural France surrounded by cheerful freaks from all over Europe. Good to see this happening...


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