The End of the Road festival fell completely in August this year for the first time ever and that confused the weather as much as Arc Iris confused the audience. Jocie Adam’s new outfit certainly have a vast array of songs and also seemed to have a ‘Marmite effect’ amongst the crowd. Less so The Districts. A band full of energy and swagger and great songs. What a start to a festival!
Arc Iris
Pink Mountaintops had rearranged their schedule to play Friday instead of Sunday, so a few of us lucky ones got to see this awesome spin off of Black Mountain in full sonic flow.
The Black Lips were on their best wacky form in the afternoon sunshine and were followed by one of the best group of (session?) musicians put together as a band, technically speaking, with Jenny Lewis out front. A totally polished almost Stevie Nicks like performance. New album ‘The Voyager’ was produced (some say over produced) by Ryan Adams. The stage set has rainbows, fluffy clouds and a long flowing gown in evidence. Having said all that, it was a tremendous set. Just watch Jenny Lewis rise to mainstream fame over the next couple of years.
Jenny Lewis
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks deliver a fabulous no nonsense (no Pavement) show. They produce great music consistently on record and the live show is no different. The highlight set of the day.
Israel Nash showcased his fine songs in the Tipi tent. The closest this festival has got to a Neil Young sound yet! The Gene Clark – No Other Band finish off the night. On paper this is a mega event, Iain Matthews (Fairport Convention / Southern Comfort)  Robin Pecknold (Fleet Foxes), Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear/Dept of Eagles) Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen), Victoria LeGrand (Beach House), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) and more. Taking turns at the mic the band sail though Gene’s No Other album and finish off with a song from Victoria and a collective ‘Eight Miles High’. 
It is great but it’s also a bit underwhelming and it’s hard to put your finger on it. The show is fragmented with introductions to most of the songs.  Staged in white light, a chill in air, and too many singers?  Not sure, good but from the back of the Garden stage, I started think perhaps in would be better in a theatre setting.
Saturday: With such an overwhelming array of fine talent on Friday it was always going to be difficult to follow that on day two. Traams certainly kicked the hangovers into touch early on. Adult Jazz was more on the sensitive, arty side. Zachary Cale had some sweet songs in his mid-afternoon set but, the first highlight of the day and perhaps one of the most original was The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger featuring Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Two albums, one acoustic and the second a real jamboree of sounds. The set showcased that second album ‘Midnight Sun’ and as the band grew into the set the more impressive it became. Early nerves perhaps but this was a great set from a great outfit. Oh and Sean won best hat of the festival, with Connan Mockison a close second.
The Ghost of a Sabre Tooth Tiger
Marissa’s Nadler’s beautiful songs were lost on a Tipi Tent crowd searching for a second wind for the night ahead as, it is energy you need for a Flaming Lips set as this band takes no prisoners in the nicest possible way. The main headline set of the weekend was a ‘’stormer. The Lips in pristine form just blew the place apart with a blinding display of colour and sound.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny and temperatures rose to make it a spectacular day weather-wise. Much the same could be said of the Woods Stage for opener’s Cold Specks. Al Spx’s vocals are totally amazing and this band should be a lot further up the pecking order very soon. Their UK tour kicks off in Portsmouth on 26th September.
Lyla Foy, sweet songs in the sunshine on the garden stage, and Deertick in fine form on the Woods Stage  and mid-afternoon post rock delivered with much energy by Tides of Man from Tampa, which was impressive.
The Rails delivered a superb set. Having pretty much played every festival this summer they are becoming a real live favourite but honours for highlight of the day goes to Kami’s Dad and James’ father-in-law Richard Thompson. This guy is the consummate performer and one of the country’s finest song writers. For an hour he had the Garden stage audience fully engaged. A brilliant and thoroughly entertaining performance.
So for me that was the END of End the Road 2014 but the team were able to stay on for Wild Beasts; “Glacial electro pop-rock might not be everyone's first choice to warm them up on a chilly August evening, but WILD BEASTS did a great job of entertaining aficionados like me with a set drawn mainly from their recent 'Present Tense' album, but hopefully also left in enough of a smattering of older tracks to keep the less committed happy. If anything the new material works better live than on LP, all driving motorik beats and keyboard flourishes. It certainly has me bouncing up and down in between taking warming sips of Talisker from the hipflask
"White Denim were rocking out on the Garden Stage with a storming set to heat up the cold night air
2015 is the 10th Anniversary of this ever expanding festival. Let’s hope it does not grow any larger because it is just the right size, although. I wouldn’t say no to Ryan Adams on the Garden stage next year with a re-formed, one night only, Pavement show on the Woods stage.