Summer Sundae

‘Summer Sundae’ is a kind of mini-Glastonbury at Leicester’s De Montfort Hall, just round the corner from where Sue works, which is useful for parking. On the Saturday, I fancied seeing Laura Cantrell at three. However, as the temperature in our garden hit the mid-thirties, we decided to leave the 45 minute journey until the day reached a more temperate 30C, just before six. We arrived to find three of the festival’s four stages in action, lots of stalls, a relaxed crowd, many of them flat out from the sun, and The Alabama Three about to come on. We put down our blanket in a prime spot as they began with with ‘Woke Up This Morning’, the theme song from ‘The Sopranos”.

Often a mistake to start with your best known number, as it can be downhill ever after. Yet A3 were perfect for the hot, hot evening, and, anyhow, all their numbers sounds pretty much the same – a kind of combination of country and blues to a techo backing. In less relaxed circumstances, their humorous intros might grate on me. They’re from Brixton, yet pretend to be from the deep south of the US and do some sarcastic stuff about the Rev Jim Jones before a fan comes on stage to ask his girlfriend to marry him. It’s rather reminiscent of Hank Wangford, the London GP who does a more reverential act as a comic Nashville star and, who, coincidentally, I saw play the Riverside Festival last week (for some reason I’m going to a lot of festivals this year. We’re off to Edinburgh in 12 days). On the whole, A3 are fun and don’t outstay their welcome.

‘Now And Zen’ my favourite noodle bar from Glasto, are here, but we’ve bought sandwiches, so reserve that pleasure for tomorrow. Two quid buys me a decent latte. Sue’s very fond of tonight’s headliners, The Gotan Project, whose album fitted perfectly as were driving around rural France in the blazing heat. They’d have been ideal in the hot afternoon, but their set relies on projecting images onto a screen, so they don’t take the stage until it’s dark and….

And they’re background music. I’d have been happy for them to soundtrack my reading the paper but it’s too dark to read so we sit down and watch their arty projections. Later, as the set progresses, we stand up and sway our hips a little. Half the set takes place behind a screen. Then the projections stop, the screen goes and we see why they needed it. Visually, they’re very dull. But the music is nice and I manage to think through a bit more of the plot of a novel I’m preparing. We leave during the final encore, getting home in time to watch ‘Pop Idol’ and, in my case, most of a rather good documentary about ‘Straw Dogs’ before bed (the tape ran out). Maybe I’ll write about ‘Pop Idol’ and how it relates to my novel ‘Dying For You’ another day.

A decent day out, especially as the two day ticket was only a fiver more than the one day ticket for today. Sunday includes, this evening, The Concert for a Landmine Free World , featuring Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Chrissie Hynde, Joan Baez and Emmylou Harris , all of whom I like and the latter three of whom I’ve never seen play before. And it’s a great cause, too. Probably be rather more crowded than yesterday, though. Full report tomorrow.

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