mmm, its taken me a couple of days to get my thoughts together around this years Supersonic Festival. First up, I enjoyed it a lot. But, it seemed to end on a bit of a low for me and It didn’t seem as if I’d enjoyed it as much as I did last years weekend, nor the years before and I couldn’t really work out why. Actually, I’m not really sure you should compare one years to another, like most people I think my memory tends to improve on the reality highlighting the good and toning down the bad, but I couldn’t help myself, so here goes;
Tonight I was sat in my local arts centre, watching a band from the early sixties go through their paces, with a pint of beer at £2.10 [rather than £4.00!!!] and immaculate toilets [rather than, well, less said the better] Seven days before I’d been watching Light Trap, Thorrs Hammer and Monotonix. While the music I was sat watching, with my reasonably priced pint, was good, at some times it felt like watching a pub band, and not a good one at that. During the pub band moments I got my thoughts together on what I enjoyed, what I didn’t and why from the Supersonic weekend.
First off, this years weekend was seemed a lot busier than last year – I recall us watching the ever excellent DJ Rupture at about 1am last time and being two of about ten people around the stage on the Friday night – so that was a good thing, well, untill it came to buying a drink but that said, I seemed to manage okay with that over the weekend, maybe a little too well in fact.
Last year we had problems getting into the Kitchen on Friday due to it being far too small for the crowd, this year we struggled to see anyone in the old Medicine Bar or Factory Club as it is now called [okay as it had been for quite some time]. It might have been better if Space 2 was open on Friday as well but I appreciate this probably involves a bunch more administration and no doubt a whole load of other red tape so such as it was it was get there early if you wanted to get in to the Factory Club. As it was we did make it in early in order to reserve our place to see Scorn, this turned out to be a worthwhile bit of planning and was very enjoyable indeed, I did also manage to catch the now oft talked about moment of venturing outside halfway through the set and catching half of the sound from scorn and half of the fantastical noise coming from the outside stage from Sunn 0))) – I can’t recall now whether this was in order to get to a less busy bar or to find a toilet that wasn’t out of order – I’d guess the second as so many people seem to have stumbled upon this fantastical spectacle. I don’t think anything could have topped that for the night and while I recall a bit of Kylie Minoise and enjoying Venitian Snares we had surely peaked and it was off home in the wee small hours.
On Saturday, after a brief trip to the Lord Clifden, which used to be a proper, if empty, pub a few years ago when I used to work for Webazoot Industries in the Jewelry Quarter – I was there only a couple of weeks ago an it was very pleasant in the afternoon, busy with some fantastic food – unfortunately we stumbled into hard house day on the DJ decks and it was not at all conducive to late night recovery.
We quickly headed back to Birmingham central just missing Rose Kemp, which was a shame, we made it in time for Tartufi followed by Master Musicians of Bukkake [thats going to show this site in some odd searches now] We saw a bit of Skullflower and some of Marnie Stern before heading off for a decent pint and working toilet facilities at the pub. Turns out the facilities we’re taking a bit of a hammering in the pub too, with the toilets at both the Factory Club and the Kitchen being out of order – Clearly the plumbing in Digbeth isn’t quite up to coping with such an influx of people – mind, some of the things I saw – It seems some people hadn’t quite mastered the usage of modern plumbing themselves.
Back to Space Two for Iron Lung, who I remember enjoying, then we went to see Kim Hiorthoy in the Factory Club, getting there early to get in, The times had been changed and so instead we got to see Light Trap, who were fantastic. Then off to see Thorrs Hammer – the combination of Scorn/Sunn 0))) on Friday and Light Trap and Thorrs Hammer on Saturday really made the weekend for me. For some reason in my memory Thorrs Hammer played in the mid afternoon but looking at the timetable it was nearer ten o’clock. I think we had a bit of a break to buy our Thorrs Hammer T-shirts and recover making it back in time for Monotonix – I remember enjoying it a lot but thats about all I remember, I do have some quite odd photos on my camera from the set though. A quick pint in a Digbeth hostelry on the way home and to bed for Sunday.
I’ve tried to work out if I drank too much on Sunday because I was a bit bored or whether I got a bit bored because I had too much to drink. Or whether it was because of the weather – summer in Digbeth. I enjoyed Pontiak a lot, reminded me of a more MOR Pharaoh Overlord from Supersonic 2007, I had enjoyed them on the Brumcast a couple of weeks ago and already bought their CD. Then some acoustic music from Khyam Allami, which was an enjoyable low key break from all the noise and guitars – Though a bit of Black Sabbath did creep in even there.
After that we saw a few more people, caught a bit of the Memory Band who I also liked on the Brumcast and waited for Goblin. I should add we had been lucky enough to get a place to see Suspira at vivid as an opener to the festival. I remember enjoying the first couple of Dario Argento films I saw, since then they’ve been the kind of things I tend to stumble upon on late night satellite channels, falling asleep halfway through. While it was enjoyable watching the film in a disused car park in deepest Digbeth, and for Free, after an hour or so we got itchy feet, gave up waiting for the next set piece, normally the point I fall asleep I think, and headed over to the Spotted Dog for a swift half.
I mention all that as watching Goblin live didn’t work for me that well either, while it was unarguably well played, and enthusiastically presented, I found I just couldn’t really engage with it as music in its own right. Maybe it was the Space 2 stage. Due to how busy things we’re this year it seemed most of the ‘headline’ acts we’re on that stage and when its busy its not a great stage to see whats going on. Most of the memories I have from the previous years festival involve standing around the ‘Outside Stage’ which has a lot more atmosphere, character and also allows good views from both sides and the stage floor. Space 2 seems to have a much narrower area of view and taller fences each side of the stage this year, as such, if you can’t see whats going on it doesn’t involve. Whatever the was the reason I didn’t enjoy Goblin as much as I’d hoped though a lot of people did. Toward the end of the set we waded off to the after party at the Rainbow where we we’re quizzed by bouncers in the rain as to how many of tonight’s crowd we thought might be attending. A strange conversation to be sure but its always nice when someone values your opinion.
I got home on Monday morning to find a Tweak Bird CD in the mail, oh yeah, I thought, they we’re good on the podcast, where were they – turns out they canceled a few days before. Nevermind.
So, tonight while walking in to pristine and empty toilets at the interval, though theres no room for complacency, I was thinking back over all the hugely enjoyable parts of the previous weekends festival. Looking back there was possible too much going on, or we tried to do too much of it at least, I missed all the talks in the Theater Space, which was a shame as several of them sounded really interesting and worthwhile. We barely got a break in the day to grab some food with so many bands on – in fact I don’t think we did eat at all on Sunday.
A hugely enjoyable weekend all in all, I think its fantastic what capsule have achieved in the ten years they’ve now been bringing and supporting music into Birmingham. Has it really been ten years. gosh. The positives, Great acts, Real ale – though unpleasantly warm real ale from Saturday on, decent ‘bargain’ accommodation this year, I’m keeping that one a secret and I didn’t get short changed all weekend [see Dave, forgive and forget, well, forgive anyway].
I kind of wish Saturday was swapped with Sunday so I’d left on more of a high rather than a hmmm. I think maybe the line up this year was more noise or certainly rawk orientated than I remember from previous years. I think maybe by Sunday I’d had my fill of Terrorizer-esq action for the month and would have liked a bit of a contrast. Overall though another fantastic Supersonic weekend, and at a very reasonable price too.
A couple more pictures;
Friendly locals in Digbeth
Someones order list for the bar [beautiful handwriting but a short memory]
Nervous bladder anyone?
My cammera is on the way out, but I do like what it did to this photo of PCM