Woodburner @ Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Last night we spent a warm August evening at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden for Woodburner.
The previous Woodburner events we have attended have been at Chats Palace in Homerton, the music quality is always brilliant. First time at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and it is the perfect setting for this time of year. The garden is nicely designed with a wooden pavilion and seating scattered amongst the flowerbeds. The whole event was really nicely done and really made me appreciate the fact it was summertime. Everything was beautiful; the music, environment and people.
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There was also amazing pizza. Seriously good. A big queue and we had to wait over an hour, but it was actually worth it when it got here.

Felix Hagan was first to play. I was a bit gutted to miss some of his performance but what I did hear was a quality musician and clever writer.

I did catch Swallow and the Wolf who treated the floor-seated audience to a lovely set. A two piece based in London, I’ll definitely be seeking them out again – their performance felt oddly intimate. Both comforting and refreshing, I’m keen to hear more.

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Very beautiful sounds, you can get their 3-track EP Fire in the following places:

i-tunes – http://goo.gl/3NoOxz
youtube – http://goo.gl/P0CoAd
spotify – http://goo.gl/Oq0AMJ

Next up was Shyfinger! It was a welcome surprise for us to see some familiar faces, although Matt now claims that there is a direct correlation between my proximity to people I know from Manchester and how Northern my voice is. It was my first time seeing Ellis and Biff in this particular incarnation, Shyfinger are dangerously strong – as to be bloody expected.

Here is a video of them for your ears and eyes to feast upon! It was recorded as part of the Sessions of March (a killer project created by some of my favourite people as part of a cause close to my heart).

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is a wicked space for Woodburner and they are there every Tuesday for the rest of the summer – check out the line ups here and get yourself over!

Isle of Wight

London in summertime is great and all but it does feel good to get out of the city. We planned to go and visit Matt’s mother at her home on the Isle of Wight.

A characteristically stuttered start, Matt nearly missed the train, but soon we were sat down with a couple of cans of G&T (classy…) and some pasties with golden fields rushing past us. It’s a surprisingly short trip to Portsmouth and it feels like you’re in a completely different part of the world once you arrive.

The houseboat is beautiful, as you would expect when two artists built the thing themselves and then decorated it. It sits in a harbour, the sea facing end is a wall of glass doors. You sit on the balcony and let the sky, sea and wine take their effect.

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It is such a relaxing place to be. Matt took me there back when we still lived in Manchester , it’s the perfect place to heal.

A couple of days after arriving we went out in the boat to Portsmouth for lunch, and then to watch the annual ’round the island’ race. Started in 1931, this is a 50 mile race around the island and people compete with varying degrees of seriousness. Over 1700 boats regularly attend from around the UK, Europe and parts of America. An impressive spectacle, it’s a lot of money and privilege to witness all in one sitting.

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This little guy was there to wave us off…

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Due to some massive oversight, I was allowed to drive our little boat. Feeling like James Bond, I took us into Portsmouth and managed to catch a lot of sun. Apparently even James Bond is not immune to a little sunburn.

There was a lot of walking to gorgeous places, everything smelt slightly sea stained.

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We had breakfast in the sunshine and just generally chilled out, as well as working on plans for our next venue project.

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Cannot wait to go back!

Cally Fest 2014

Cally Fest

I was invited here by Mangoseed, and as they are an absolute pleasure to see live made my way down despite a raging hangover. I don’t see London as a city. I see it as a massive conglomerate of villages joined together by the coloured lines of the underground. Until you’ve visited a place it has no meaning to you, it is just a word on a map. Caledonian Road will now take me back to smoky BBQ chicken clouds, vibrant music and summertime.

Cally Fest is a massive street party down Caledonian Road. There is music, art, performances and so much food. They have managed to create an inviting environment and it is obvious from how respectful and friendly everyone is that this is a massive community effort. It’s well worth it. Being there will be one of the things that most stands out to me from summer 2014.

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We checked out a few bands while we were here, one that particularly stood out for me was Lazytalk. Perfect thing for a summer evening, warm music with a ska-punk base. Their original songs are really well written and seem made for the dance floor. This feeling was further compounded by the fact that I kept getting tunes of theirs in my head weeks after. Carefully crafted for you to have a good time to.

This one especially –

The energy of the whole street party was really positive. Although there were people daytime drinking the presence of children meant that everyone was on their best behaviour. For me, the only break in atmosphere came when local councillors came to speak. This was after Lazytalk and before Mangoseed. My feelings towards my previous local councillors are quite negative, having been involved in a live music venue they tried to shut down repeatedly and having bad experiences dealing with various different departments. I have an instinctive distrust towards people in positions like this. When they came on stage, I felt it was to try and bask in some of the success of the event and make it about them. A lot of people switched off and left the area where they were speaking. I actually felt sorry for them to have such a response. Although I thought it would have been better to be more modest about their involvement, they obviously were some way responsible for the fact that the event went ahead. They were doing something positive and it was a good day for the local community.

The food was amazing, lots of different stalls and I tried as much as I could. I was heartbroken when I made it round to get some pulled pork as I was leaving and they had ran out. I made up for the disappointment by getting my face painted by the lovely girls at Face-My-Paint. It was a two person job as I was giving odd concepts I wanted expressed with the paint without giving any helpful advice (please make me look like my leggings but with more summer and also a unicorn and glittery).  You can tell that by this stage my hangover was being eased and transformed with cider…

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Then we went to see Mangoseed. After the local councillors had cleared out most of the crowd (sorry but it’s true) they had a bit of a challenge on their hands with getting everyone back into  a dancing mood. Fortunately they nailed it. Mangoseed’s music is difficult to define with heavy rock-dub-funk influences, it melts together to create something that is both exploratory and fearless.  Lyrically it is switched on both politically and emotionally, exploring different concepts in a way that is insightful and accessible. More than that, it makes you want to move with it and pulls you in. Their music blended well with an event like Cally Fest, a celebration of community and diversity.

Check out Brix-Tone –

Thanks to everyone involved with Cally Fest for putting the whole day on (local council and all 😉 ) you created something awesome.