Image:- Steven Velentzas (@captainstavros)
Saturday dawned grey and blowy so clearly it was the best day to check out the excellent new swimming pool and flumes, improved no doubt by the lack of children (waiting up to 50 minutes to climb upstairs to the highest slides in peak season sounds awful).
Having got that fun out of the way we repaired to see Dutch trio The Sweet Release Of Death. A mix of Sonic Youth & Argentina's Capsula best describes their sound. A loud, propulsive and enjoyable way to start off today's live offerings.
Captain Stavros is a great advocate of the work of Our Girl & for me they were one of the very few acts whose Flying Vinyl disc was worth keeping hold of. This evening though the Brighton trio's sound strikes me as no more than pleasant. More bite is what I seem to be after in many cases this weekend and the indie on offer in their set isn't really grabbing my attention so I step out for some air after a couple of tracks.
Our main stage sojourn tonight kicks off with Peter Perrett, not far off the same vintage as John Cale from the night before. An articulate & amusing lyricist whose set on Marc Riley's 6 Music show last year was one of the best of 2019, he has a great number of punchy songs in his repertoire. Unfortunately he doesn't play these in the first part of his set & I'm left yet again trying to explain an act's relevance to The Captain as we mooch back down the stairs.
Next up though comes what, with hindsight, was the best act of the weekend and I'm not even a fan. Nova Twins' play funk metal, in the main, & that's one sub-genre I've never liked. They do though play it loudly and extremely well (their technical ability is fantastic). Singer Amy Love is genuinely pleased to be playing on a stage in a venue she's been to a number of times on childhood holidays and that pleasure is evident in the exuberance of her and Georgia South on bass (no idea who the bloke on drums is). I manage to stick around for most of the set, just to experience the volume & distortion and it's safe to say they do the job required of warm-up act very well. Perhaps too well in fact.
For tonight's headliners are The Jesus & Mary Chain, reformed in the past couple of years and with an overlong comeback album under their belts. Jim Reid falls foul of the urge to be ironic about Butlin's (managing to equate the place with "Stalag 17") and it's also their bad luck to have poor guitar sound for much of the show, rendering William Reid's guitar solos practically silent. I last saw the band on the Destroyer showcase tour in the '90s in the aircraft hanger that is Glasgow's SECC, a venue far too large for them & so tonight is intimate in comparison. Back then though it was already clear they'd shot their bolt in terms of audience baiting antics etc. and tonight was a reminder of how many of their tunes speak to you as a gloomy teenager but in middle age turn out to be plodders. The final straw is Jim's attempt at a joke prior to the encore "we'll go off for a half cup of tea" - just man up and either say a beer or don't mess around with a break in the set at all. Much of the crowd aren't in a state to care anyway so why not plough on?
When the band speed things up and the sound technician improves things guitar-wise a bit this is probably a vintage performance from the JAMC as they are now but they were close to being blown offstage by the previous trio. Not feeling the need to stick around for an hour until Steve Lamacq gets behind the decks to unleash some lame musical world cup or other we call it a night.