Indietracks 2011 – top festival moments

I’ve got a full review of this year’s Indietracks on the way, but here’s a quick set of some of the top moments that really stick out in my mind. Not to say they’re the absolute best sets – they’re among them, but there are plenty of other contenders, and frankly I didn’t see anyone all weekend who was anything short of really good… But these were the “moments” for me.

1. Help Stamp Out Loneliness and the balloons
Help Stamp Out Loneliness were one of the great highlights of the weekend. Their album is excellent, but takes quite a few listens for the songs to distinguish themselves from one another, as they have a dense (unkind reviewers said cluttered) backing. Not so live: Lucille is a compelling presence, absolutely central to the show both visually and vocally, a pale sexy wraith who commands your attention and won’t let it go. It helps that her towering voice is singing some brilliant pop tunes too.

Last year a load of hot air balloons drifted over the site on the Friday evening, and this year they came on Saturday, during HSOL’s set. One in particular was very low over the site: its occupants waved at us, and we waved back.

2. Hidden Cameras bassist
The Hidden Cameras put on a headline set that was every bit as brilliant as I’d hoped and expected. Add in that it was much later than planned and on a different stage, and it was quite something. During the song Underage, the band do some synchronised sideways pogoing, which is great; one of the moments of the festival came during this, when the bassist bounced a little too much to the right and fell off the stage – he quickly gave up any attempt to look cool and pretend nothing had happened, but kept playing.

3. Hibbett in the tent
I’m sure far too many people have already told Hibbett that this was really really good, so I’m not going to boost his ego any further. His ability to bellow through a set definitely didn’t come into its own, the audience clearly didn’t absolutely bloody love it, Boom Shake the Room (“I’m the driver and you’re all on a TWEE ride!”) and Easily Impressed (“Oi! Hibbett! Ya twat!”) in particular definitely weren’t among the best bits of the weekend, and the whole thing definitely wasn’t stupidly good fun.

4. Dan Pocketbooks and his pornographic playing cards
Between sets on the Sunday evening I ran into Hibbett and Dan Pocketbooks, as you do at Indietracks. Dan took the opportunity to produce a pack of pornographic playing cards from his pocket and flash them at me and Mark, for reasons that mystify me still. “There y’ go… Bet yer Dad didn’t show yer those, did he?” I couldn’t think of much to say other than to confirm that no, he didn’t.

5. Hidden Cameras acoustic
The silver lining to the cloud of the main stage generator packing up was that the Hidden Cameras did a short bonus acoustic set from the main stage, which I watched while eating the evening’s curry from Gopal’s. They were both lovely.

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