..and then we eventually all reached the final day of the 2018 edition of End of the Road. As all great events, there is always a sense of weirdness when one realises that something expected for months is actually going to end soon…
That was another day of choices and for instance my program did not allow me to make it for Haley Heyderikx, Iceage, Ezra Furman, Idles, Feist or Ariel Pink‘s gigs. Another time, another planet I guess…
No better way to start the day than with the Perpignan garage band The
Limiñanas from Perpignan, France. They may not be the most radical new band of all times but their music is really excellent, especially in the context of a festival. And being able to hear “c’est bon, on peut y aller” in the middle of Dorset was a real treat!
But this was nothing compared to the next gig I attended. I was not really familiar with the legendary Posies from Seattle, although I had recently heard the latest albums from one of their two leaders Ken Stringfellow, the other one being Jonathan Auer. The concert was actually a positive shock as their music is an incredible mix of grunge and power-pop, which makes them associated by many with the beautiful Teenage Fanclub from Scotland. I had never seen them in their prime but I read that they are as good now since they reformed as they were in the 90’s. A band not to be missed on stage.
I then attended two nice gigs at the Garden Stage. The first one was from the Velvet Underground influenced British band The Wave Pictures: quite a refreshing gig but with no real sparkle to be honest. The second one from an old acquaintance with Jonathan Wilson, a musician from L.A. and also fantastic producer of our 2017 album of the year with Father John Misty. Jonathan’s musicianship and taste are unchallengeable but I must admit I had been more excited when I first caught him on stage a few years ago in France.
After a final catch-up at the Big Top stage with Michelle Zauner’s interesting band Japanese Breakfast, I came back to the Garden stage, full of hopes for Julia Holter‘s gig. That was quite a disappointment actually as although her challenging music can be very good on record, I felt that a festival was probably not the best place to appreciate it, especially on Day Four… What makes End of the Road so beautiful is that rather than killing time, I then decided to check on rebel grunge country outlaw Jim White at the Tipi Tent, which actually ended as one of my best moments of the festival. In the great tradition of American singers, his songs are very simple but also very often straight to the point and full of a certain desperate emotion. Jim White is also one of the funniest musicians I have ever experienced and his introduction story about his former role as a Jehovah’s Witness was hilarious.
My fate was to finish the festival at my favourite Garden Stage with the final two concerts I attended. Always a pleasure to see rock legend John Cale on stage, for the second time of the year after his March concert at the London Barbican. Of course, John Cale does not sing Coldplay-hymn stadium songs and his music is often a bit difficult to say the least. But taking a step backwards, isn’t it incredible to watch this 76-year old man still eager to experiment? Amazing bunch of musicians as well.
I was also super excited and full of joy to finish it all with White Denim, from my favourite city in the USA, i.e. Austin Texas. I have always enjoyed a lot their records although their music is so diverse and embracing all styles that this is sometimes difficult to remember them as a real singular band. However, they are truly amazing live, playing endlessly super catchy but very complex songs, owing as much to jazz, Americana or power pop styles. Not a hint of weakness during this great concert and the best way to finish the day and the festival full of memories.
Any idea about where I will be next year late August/early September?