2019 was my 13th End of the Road festival. The festival has seen many changes to the site over the years, although the music has remained consistently excellent. No changes whatsoever to the site this year, apart from the parking the cars, pointing in a different direction in the car park! Our Rock Club crowd was split into two this year, the camper Van section and the campers, but, we all managed to meet up for gin and cake over the weekend!
So we can get straight into the music. Thursday night saw a loud and exciting set from Flamingods followed by the brilliant Spiritualized who played a magnificent full band set on the main stage.
Friday dawned with all the stages open and Ohtis with lead man Sam Swinson were in fine lo-fi Americana form in the garden. Eric Pulido from Midlake AKA. ‘EB The Younger ‘ was in the Tipi tent and had some great songs to play. There was also an indication of a return of Midlake soon as well!
The Beths, I had missed at Green Man so I was keen to see them at EOTR. They did not disappoint. A tight indie band from Auckland. Great songs and a dry Kiwi sense of humour. A brilliant set.
Steve Gunn started his show with an acoustic guitar and then went electric. First time I have seen this guy live. It really was a superb set. Wand had the volume turned up to 15 in the Big Top and with ear plugs left in the car ... well I lasted a fabulous 20 minutes. Cass McCoombs was more gentle and dreamy on the Garden Stage, even Steve Gunn appeared for a song.
The evening was completed by the legends that are Wire in the Big Top and a soulful Michael Kirwanuka on the Woods stage.
A cold night and an overcast Saturday was suddenly all forgotten with the fabulous NÉRIJA opening the Garden stage. A jazz collective from London, they were absolutely fabulous. A young band of amazing musicians. New album, ‘Blume’ is out now.
Happyness from Leeds played their first show in two years in the Tipi tent and it was a riot. New songs sounded great and with autumn tour dates announced, this band are definitely back.
Tyler Childers was the ‘Country’ star of the weekend and played a crowd pleasing set on the Garden stage with a full band, who were all introduced as the set went along in highly entertaining fashion.
Another band from Leeds, Bilge Pump rocked, a solid outfit indeed. No fuss just power! Nubya Garcia and Nerdeyday are also members of NÉRIJA and played superb sets in their own right during the afternoon.
Two bands on the Garden stage to finish off the evening. Kikagaku Moyo from Japan are just the type of band that EOTR throws up, something totally ‘out there’. They were a Psych wonderland. Low headlined the stage in new album drone mode. An impressive set from these EOTR regulars.
Sunday always starts with many punters heading to the car park for their Sunday night departure. This year’s event was 99% dry so everyone who was staying did seem to make it back to the site for the early bands.
Jessica Pratt was sublime in the early afternoon sun. She was followed by a dynamic Israel Nash and band. An outfit that went down a storm. The closest EOTR will ever get to have Neil Young play I reckon.
Anna St. Louis played a lovely short set in the woods on the Talking Heads stage, after which it was just a general wander around the site to see who we could find for the rest of the evening. Mark Mulcahy and Beak> were my highlights , both in fine spirits and both with a dark sense of humour to close out my festival for 2019.