Joan As Police Woman and My Sad Captains: the new and the new-er
While End of the Road has definitely got bigger since last year, the stages are still so close together that you can fall into a band without even realising it. If you were the band in devil outfits playing thrash metal at the Bimble Inn at 1am this morning, our photographer is dying to reach you.
One of 10 unsigned(ish) bands to win a slot on The Local stage, Fortuna Pop signings My Sad Captains' almost implausible summeriness was a gift on an afternoon as baking hot as this one. 'Here and Elsewhere' and the title track from June's 'Bad Decisions' EP showed off slacker indie pop sensibilities that singlehandedly steal back the "doo-ron-ron" from McDonalds and herald an inevitable radio takeover in the next year.
Over on the Garden stage, Joan Wasser, or Joan As Police Woman as she's known to her careers adviser, was grinning at the crowd through the most enormous pair of sunglasses. "I got a shock when I saw the peacocks," she said, in tones that could stone a hippie at 100 paces, "I didn't believe they existed in the real world." Leaving the rest of her band at home, Wasser's ensuing solo set proved that she's the focal point for a reason. Stripped down to piano, vocals and the occasional stamp of Wasser's foot, the idle strut of 'Save Me' gained new power, while the weakest track on last year's 'Real Life' album, 'Christobel', ("Once and for all, this song is not about Chris De Burgh") got a new lease of life on pared-down guitar.
Dedicated by Wasser to its subject Elliott Smith, a heartbreakingly pure 'We Don't Own It' succeeded in silencing the crowd - or at least the first 20 rows - before 'Eternal Flame' ended the set. "I always think I'm Bob Dylan during this part," giggled Wasser during its introduction. Rare solo sets like this prove that she can handle an audience just as well.
WORDS: KAT BROWN