Review: Bushstock 04/06/12
Bushstock made its first return to the music festival frontiers this year. The inner city placement of the festival stakes a claim to many advantages over its fieldbound counterparts, one being that we didn’t even have to look towards a portaloo when nature called and weren’t shafted clear of a £20 when it came to buying food. Enough about all that though, what about the music?
King of pluckdom, Nick Mulvey kicked off proceedings for our Bushstock 2012 experience with his smooth and exotic guitar music. As with 2011, the setting of St Stephen’s Church added a certain something to its performers’ work, and songs of Mulvey’s such as ‘River Lea’ and ‘Fever to the Form’ became more intricate and gripping as a result. Personal favourite of the set, ‘Venus Comes to Share’ evokes transient images of Venus herself and the rich colours that are synonymous with the exoticism of Nick Mulvey’s music. It’s exciting to hear that Mulvey is working towards a single, to be released later in the year.
Next on our agenda is Raghu Dixit who instantly emits a warm glow throughout St. Stephen’s Church once he‘s onstage. He begins his set solo with an old Indian folk song that coheses with the church wonderfully. After his colourfully clothed band join him, there’s no stopping them. Performing both slow, compassionate numbers and upbeat songs, the quintet get the majority of the audience on their feet in the church aisle with ‘No Man Will Ever Love You, Like I Do’ and ‘Mysore Se Aayi’ and the crowd are equally enthused by the delicate nature of those less danceable tracks.
After catching the tail end of Joe Banfi’s set through Defector’s Weld’s open windows as we chomped on fruit, we head inside for Alessi’s Ark. Having seen Alessi a number of times, her witty song-writing is a solid option in amongst the afternoon’s various acts. After a few bumps in the road sound-wise, Alessi’s set begins to roll along splendidly, consisting of material from both her albums, ‘Notes From the Treehouse’ and ‘Time Travel’. Set highlight is ‘The Horse’, which features some makeshift percussion in the way of scraping an egg shaker across the sharp keys of the piano.
Following Defector’s Weld we head down to Shepherd’s Bar for Dan Croll’s set. Our high expectations are met instantly, Dan’s live music having all the vigour and vim of his recorded work, if not more. In amongst the work we’ve already heard is ‘Norwegian Wood’, a song that encapsulates the speed of travel in its unrelenting rhythm and Dan’s wistful vocals.
After Dan, our evening became a tapas bar selection of different acts and flitting between venues looking for a place to rest our feet. We caught bits of both Lanterns on the Lake and Fionn Regan’s sets which were full to St Stephen’s rafters with an enraptured audience for both acts and some of Amber States in a very humid, and incense-fuelled, Ginglik. We ended our day back at Shepherd’s Bar with the sincere rock sounds of Pale Seas, who were followed by Jamie n Commons, picked in this year’s BBC Sound of Poll, and Mystery Jets, whose new album has returned waves of positive response from across the British music community.
All in all, the beautiful sounds we were privy to throughout the day staved off the spirit dampening potential of the drizzle that rolled into Shepherd’s Bush in the late afternoon and it looks like Bushstock will be an annual staple in the TLS calendar from now on in.
Thanks to all at Communion and beyond for making it such a lovely day, you are a talented bunch, that’s for sure!