Tom White joined us (replete with a pink silk scarf) and proceeded to taste the afore-mentioned liqueur with gusto and some abandon; eventually finding sanctuary on the verdant greensward.
A look at the cloudless sky gave every indication of a hot day ahead. Given the fact that I'd got rather tiddly with those lovely people from Brakes the previous evening, (leading to a noticable and unpleasant feeling of nausea and dehydration upon waking) I sensibly decided to wear a heavy leather jacket combined with heavy duty, industrial-stitched clothing suitable for a November day. Still. I couldn't worry about being sensibly dressed. I had a free festival to attend. The site for Metropolis had been moved from its old location to a new part of the Zuiderpark that was more aboreal, the stages being spread out and sometimes hidden from each other by small (but charming) woods, and ornamental lakes.
The main thing was to find the Rotown/Ekko/Paradiso/Vera/Waterfront/Patronaat tent complex; the blue and yellow stripes of the tents, and their pointed, almost Gothic roofing suggesting a setting fit for a mediaeval jousting tournament rather than a venue for hot new musical talent. Yet again, I couldn't care less.
Brakes were on at 1pm and I was hungry for more Brakes action after the previous evening's set at the Paradiso. I was pleased to see that I was not the only person with a hangover, as the band looked slightly frowsy once they took the stage, but luckily this didn't stop them using the extra amplification available to belt out a set a hundred times better than the previous evening, (a good gig by anyone's standards and a gig I have praised to the skies elsewhere in this magazine). A thumping run through of All Night Disco Party got a great reception, and a very acerbic version of I Can't Stand To Stand Beside You was treading anthemic territory. Proceedings were hotting up and the audience were getting very appreciative. Hell, a baby was lifted up and shown to a bemused band by an enthusiastic father at one point. I sincerely hope the little mite had some ear protection, as Brakes succeeded in wrecking the sound system, causing a 30 minute delay before the following act, Stars came on.
Once things were back to normal, Stars proceeded to play an intriguing set, their folksy, whimsical music very reminiscent of Camper Van Beethoven, or Mekons. The singer jumped around a lot, pulled faces, adopted the foetal position and played the kazoo with abandon, determined all the while to win over a crowd hot and sulking after the delay. It worked. This band have a set of incredibly catchy, offbeat songs in their repertoire and a pop sensibility that is anything but formulaic. The girl guitarist has an incredibly sexy stage presence too. As for the bass player, (nonchalantly ursine, sporting a pencil moustache and wearing a hat last seen in a Peter Breughel painting), well; he was bonkers. A moment of pure unintentional comedy happened towards the end of the set, where, obviously moved by the noise created around him, the bassist climbed the drum podium, (doubtless to commune musically with the drummer) and promptly fell on his arse, all the while sporting an air of mild surprise. This only endeared them more to the Incendiary crew, who immediately started to concoct questions involving rodents for the interview we were to conduct with them later that afternoon.
After this The Cribs came on, and proceeded to play a set full of raucous pop. I have to say now that Damain was conscientious and attended. I was not, and got drunk in the beer tent I had only recently discovered.
By the time Electrelane appeared, the mighty Incendiary/Brakes axis had been fully resumed in the excellent beer tent behind the stage. Lo! Real beer glasses were, for once preferred to their inferior plastic cousins by the festival organisers, and may I, creating a brief window of opportunity in this article, thank them profusely for that decision. This put all of us in an effusive mood, Brakes ganging up back stage to support their Brighton based chums, Incendiary flopping eccentrically over the sound desk. For the uninitiated Electrelane's sound (seen on their LP The Power Out) has a great deal of Krautrock running through it; Neu! Can and Amon Duul 2 being obvious reference points. Their druggy, hypnotic grooves are offset by a girl band pop sensibility that is straight out of the C86 or Lush canon. Bells was ace, as was a mighty version of You Make Me Weak at the Knees. They had a serene, diffident, very English air to them on stage; their music hinting at stormier emotions underneath the glacial calm they displayed during the gig. They rocked. We loved them and want them to play Holland all the time.
After Electrelane, special mention has to go to Spektrum, who played a very fine, very ecclectic set and then proceeded to give Incendiary's parched team free and unlimited access to their (admittedly overstocked) beer fridge.
At this point we ran into Sons and Daughters, who were busy tuning up. Scott kindly offered us seats and politely passed round some aniseed liqueur, as a pay off for Spektrum's booze. Tom White joined us (replete with a pink silk scarf) and proceeded to taste the afore-mentioned liqueur with gusto and some abandon; eventually finding sanctuary on the verdant greensward.
Suitably refreshed, we decided to watch Sons and Daughters, who were absolutely brilliant. Acerbic, sharp, passionate, Dance Me In was the highlight of a marvellous half an hour. A steaming and baying crowd lapped it up. Sons and Daughters always seem to revel in confronting their audience; it's the sign of a good band. They did so when supporting Franz Ferdinand last year and at Metropolis they were in belligerent form, bashing out the tracks from Love the Cup with a giddy, cocksure abandon. We were on a high that, for me was shattered by watching DFA 1979, who pissed me off with their set, which was a long, drawn out and ultimately boring jam a million years away in quality and wit from superior outfits like Brain Donor.
Maybe I'm being unfair, but it all reeked of smugness and self-regard. After this it was time for some frisbee action with our chums Brakes (yes, we did spend most of the weekend with them; you might have guessed), in which Incendiary emerged victorious (despite the rather clever use of a stick by Mr Marc Beatty).
Ahh... Happy memories are made of this.
Words: Richard Foster
Photographs : Mariska van den Hoven, Mac