Midlake's jet lag lets them down

With everyone tooled up on cider, rum and whatever else they've got stuffed in their pockets, the mood at End of the Road was little short of ebullient this evening: not that you'd know it from Midlake's set on the Garden stage.

With band-crowd chat kept to a minimum and singer Tim Smith sitting rigidly in his chair in the manner of a man who's sat in paint and is too embarrassed to stand up again, the atmosphere at the festival's main stage was more that befitting a school concert than the first night of a festival.

After the electrifying exuberance demonstrated by Jim White the set before, it was all rather - fine. Sedate tea party with the vicar fine, nobody offended, roused or excited fine. Smith expressed the band's enthusiasm at attending the festival in a suitable humble manner before paying his respects to festival organiser Simon Taffe. Call it good manners, call it the right thing to do, but dear lord, call it listening to the albums in a big field rather than watching an actual concert.

While the band played all the right songs ('Moscow' and 'Roscoe' and Chemical Brothers do-over 'The Pills Won't Help You No") the whole thing was done with a quiet resignedness more suited to a three in the afternoon set than a pre-Yo La Tengo closer. And while that is quite definitely fine, it's not the most exciting way to see a great band playing live.

The band later said that a change in their usual sound man meant they were a bit more rushed than normal and having flown in from Chicago this morning and flying out again tonight it's no wonder. Better luck next time, we hope.



Editor's Letter

Robert Wyatt interviewed: "I'm not a born rebel..."

Today (January 28, 2015), social media reliably informs me that Robert Wyatt is 70, which seems a reasonable justification for reposting this long and, I hope, interesting transcript of an interview I did with him at home in Louth back in 2007, a little before the marvellous “Comicopera” was...