Indietracks 2012

You could be forgiven, given the apocalyptic nature of the weather on Friday, in thinking that God hates all things twee. Indeed, it looked like we’d have to borrow Monkey Swallow’s the Universe’s boat at one point on Friday. A last minute decision to commute was rewarded with the deluge stopping just in time for our arrival.

We got there just in time to catch the second half of The Smittens set; they proved very popular with the early crowd. Next up were my favourite band of the day, The School. The Welsh group’s popwagon has gradually been gathering pace since they released the Let It Slip EP back in 2008. They livened up the proceedings with their perfect pop which brought the sun out at least inside the Shed; the highlight being the almost perfect ‘All I Wanna Do’. Darren Hayman, along with a very talented collection of supporting musicians, brought the evening of live music to a warm fuzzy close, before a Pop-O-Matic shaped party began.

We braved the mud track to get there on Saturday to see Themakingof, and whilst I’ve never heard the Derby band before, I was very impressed; my highlight being ‘All Simon, Part Garfunkel’. I heard ‘Choking’ by The Birthday Kiss for the first time a few months ago, and was instantly hooked. They certainly didn’t disappoint, even managing to coax the sun out. They were followed on the main stage by one of my most anticipated bands of the weekend, Evans the Death. Their début album if one of my favourites of this year so far; adding a grunge sensibility to their stories about the pitfalls of romance. There is a moment on every day of a festival when you feel like the party has well and truly started, and this was it; ‘Telling Lies’ shaking-off the last traces of any hangover.

I’ve seen Tigercats at three festivals now, and they’ve always blown me away. Their performance on the second stage was the highlight of Saturday for me; they seem to get better every time I see them. With songs like ‘Harper Lee’ and ‘Full Moon Reggae Party’ it’s only a matter of time until they explode. Duncan’s voice gives them an oddly punk aesthetic, which makes their sound pretty unique. I must admit that my attendance at church hasn’t been what it should recently, so I decided to make up for it this weekend. I’m pretty certain the Joanna Gruesome drummer may have been slacking off as well recently. Sporting metal t-shirts and a ramshackle indie-rock sound, they performed their own Black Mass over the slightly bewildered, yet thoroughly entertained, indie-pop congregation.

Standard Fare seem to continually grow in confidence live, and the Shed was packed to the rafters with people eager to see them. Whilst songs such as ‘Call Me Up’ from their new album, Out of Sight, Out of Town, went down well, the roof was well and truly lifted by older tracks ‘Fifteen’ and ‘Philadelphia’. Summer Camp were rather an odd booking for Indietracks, and they were a bit hit and miss with the slightly bemused festival crowd. The same could be said for tonight’s headliners, Veronica Falls. However, they won everyone over with rousing renditions of ‘Found Love in a Graveyard’ and ‘Beachy Head’; bringing Saturday night’s antics to a close. More disco? Yes please.

Two days of hedonistic pleasure can leave you feeling a bit jaded; enter Velodrome 2000 to blow those cobwebs away. After addressing the “twee mother-fuckers” in the crowd, the newly reformed band proceeded to put on a spectacle of chaotic debauchery, which left my camera severely traumatised and needing a course of therapy. Whilst we’re on the subject of chaos, Leeds’ This Many Boyfriends also ripped-up the Shed. With an admirable energy, they belted their songs out to an excitable throng: ‘Young Lovers Go Pop!’ and ‘Starling’ especially catching the ear and daring you not to dance. They were followed by Seattle’s Orca Team, who easily won the prize for collecting the most new fans over the weekend. Resplendent in black, and with the coolest drummer you’re likely to see, they played an impressive set consisting mainly of songs from their new album, Restraint. Unlike their album title, praise flowed through the crowd with gay abandon; their music is a slice of 60’s post-punk sunshine.

I can’t remember when I last saw a band have so much fun on stage as Allo Darlin’ are clearly having. Timing their appearance perfectly to coincide with the appearance of the late evening sunshine, their performance was littered with smiles and great pop tunes. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the The Monochrome Set, who looked like they’d rather be anywhere else. The music was good, but the looks on their faces said it all.

The pièce de résistance of Indietracks 2012 was undoubtedly The Vaselines. I must admit to only having a passing knowledge of their earlier work, but so many tunes were instantly familiar, and quite frankly brilliant. Songs such as ‘Molly’s Lips’, ‘Son of a Sun’ & ‘Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam’ went down an absolute storm. I’m generally wary when bands reform, but they showed with newer songs like ‘Sex with an X’ that they haven’t lost their desire or the ability. They put on a live show that would put most bands to shame: a masterclass in showmanship and stage banter. It was Frances’ birthday and she even got a cake; which may have taken away the taste of giving Jesus a blowjob the night before. The Scots; you can’t take them anywhere!

Indietracks, as a festival, stands out for many reasons. It is by far and away the most compact festival I’ve been to, which gives it a warm friendly feel. Indeed, you find yourself spending the weekend with the most amiable bunch of people you’re likely to meet. None more so than the bands themselves, most of whom spent the weekend there and partied along with everyone else. There is also a high quality, and surprising range, of music on show. Add to this great sound and a nice range of food and beverage on offer, Indietracks 2013 is already in my diary.