Wonderful weekend in the Pod for HWCH which I will now summarise in bullet form.
- Despite my reservations about the Pod complex being the venue this year rather than scattered in venues across town, it was (for me and many others) a resounding success. venues were never too full, corridors were never too packed and outside was never too jammers. It was well organised throughout the weekend, with no hassle at all. The only downside to the new venue, is the usage of three small club venues: the two above Tripod: Lennon Lounge and Working Man’s Club and upstairs in the Odeon venue. Bands that were playing in these venues were generally smaller bands so got the brunt of the deal, especially the Odeon where there was only really room for sitting down and no more than 20-30 standing. It’s hard for a band to do themselves justice in such a bar-like atmosphere, not to mention the fact that it was in another building surely contributed to lesser numbers at these gigs.
- I thought the Photography Exhibition in the bar of the Pod as well placed. It was slightly marginalised in Filmbase last year, yet this year it was central to the festival. Well done. Though having said that, there were a gazillion photographers at the festival this weekend. Last night in front of Jape, there was a row of seven photographers. Having said that, if any of you want to send on photos or links to your photos from the weekend, I’ll gladly put up a nice slideshow of HWCH images, so get in touch.
- Friday night,I caught Gavin Glass and the Holy Shakers who were pleasant enough yet played to a near empty Tripod as it was early. I had work to do in Crawdaddy so I headed over there and caught The LK a band from Malmo which was OK, best song is on their myspace called “Eurovision”.
- Doing visuals for Super Extra Bonus Party has afforded me the opportunity to see every live show they’ve done in the last two years but Friday night was without a doubt, one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen the guys play. Crawdaddy was electric, they had to close the doors before the set, upstairs was rammed, and I couldn’t get the projector to work for more than half the set but they gig was a pretty explosive buzz.
- After that madness, went to Tripod, for The Jimmy Cake who were a bit underwhelming to be honest. I wanted them to be fantastic but it just didn’t happen. The sound was a bit muddled throughout. They have a new album coming in six weeks they say.
- Saturday was a little different as I was going to El-P in the Button Factory so I would miss plenty. I did catch a little of Ham Sandwich’s set which was better the previous times I had seen them. Definitely improving.
- El-P was great like the last gig in Crawdaddy. The venue has been given a facelift, the wall between the bar and the stage is gone, replaced by carpet floors on two levels, then a wooden dancefloor. The sound-desk is now stage right on the floor which makes sense. However, the sound was bass-heavy and the vocals were low which was disappointing.
- Afterwards, we went to the Odeon for human beatbox White Noise and You’re only Massive, both acts notable for their representation of hip hop and dance music this year, which I mentioned was absent last year (Include Disfunktional on this list). Both acts impressed me by doing something a bit different which can only be a good thing.
- We arrived late on Sunday, therefore missing Dry County, Ily K, Jenny Lindfors and Stoat. Panda Kopanda weren’t very interesting, Paranoid Visions were mad, Cathy Davey was very good yet I can’t imagine myself listening to her album regularly.
- The last hurrah of the night involved another quality set from Kill City Defectors before the closing set from Jape. I caught Jape in Whelans earlier this year, but last night was much more exciting. When Richie and co. utilise the electronics in the show it makes for much more exciting music including a great electro-spazz-out (see below). “Floating” got a great reaction but highlight was the wonderful closer “I was a Man”, which although only in demo form, is one of my favourite tunes of the year.
More observations after the jump.