Pixies, Margo Cilker, The Weather Station: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 3

Plus Alabaster DePlume and Gwenifer Raymond

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Given that we’re in the countryside, in the deep south (of England), it’s high time for some country music. And Margo Cilker is a proper country singer with a classic country voice, full of depth and character and twanging vowels, perfect for delivering her tales of moonlight and loss and godly Southern men. She’s not one for fancy lyrical conceits, getting straight to the point as quickly as possible: “Everyone I look up to’s gone crazy or died” goes the chorus of one song. But if her unvarnished messaging might sound harsh, Cilker is a warm, welcoming presence and her songs are beautifully played by an effortlessly on-point four-piece band.

There’s more empathy, bucketloads of it in fact, from the capaciously trousered Alabaster DePlume. A true oddball original, his set is a curious mix of lyrical improv jazz, medieval chanting and a particularly intense mindfulness class. “You’re beautiful!” he yells at the crowd. “Don’t forget you’re precious!” Some songs feature three bandmates drumming, on others they just sing. At one point, the bassist puts down her instrument and wafts a peacock-blue fan while DePlume himself switches between sax, guitar and motivational speaking. There is an emotional moment when he dedicates the final song to the trumpeter Jaimie Branch. A year ago, she was standing exactly where DePlume is now, sending out good vibes with her band Anteloper; last month she passed away, aged just 39. So when he signs off by saying “thanks for living, it’s fucking tough”, you know he really, really means it.

“Sorry we’re not who you were expecting!” begins David Tattersall of The Wave Pictures, replacing the sadly unwell Emma-Jean Thackray on the Garden Stage. But his band prove to be entertaining hosts nonetheless, heirs to the wordy, picaresque indie of Edwyn Collins and The Jazz Butcher. A comical indignance powers Tattersall’s songs about Newcastle rain, “a sculpture of marmalade” and the travesty of a £2000 coat.


Tamara Lindeman doesn’t reveal how much her outfit cost, but it’s pretty special: a light blue and white streaked batwing dress that looks, when she opens her arms wide, like she’s wearing the sky. It’s ideal attire for The Weather Station’s moving explorations of climate grief and why Australian magpies are different from British ones. The dress also gives her a bit of a Stevie Nicks vibe, matched by the anthemic tilt of “Tried To Tell You” and “Parking Lot”. The climax of the set comes when man of the day Alabaster DePlume is ushered back onstage to add an ecstatic sax solo to “Robber”.

It’s standing room only for acoustic guitar virtuoso Gwenifer Raymond on Talking Heads. Shoes off, head down, she gets straight down to business at a ferocious pace. She’s Bert Jansch on speed! The Yngwie Malmsteen of folk! Even when she bends forward to pick up a drink, she keeps playing with her other hand. It’s proper superwoman stuff, until she encounters her greatest nemesis: a broken string. But when she triumphantly restrings her guitar, it’s greeted with one the biggest cheers of the day.

Finally it’s time for the mighty Pixies, the band that End Of The Road have been trying to book since the festival’s inception, delayed a couple more years by the pandemic. And they don’t disappoint. Black Francis looks leaner and sings meaner than he has done since the late-’80s; Joey Santiago has finally made peace with his post-hair look; and Paz Lenchantin ably handles all the Kim Deal stuff without trying too hard to be Kim Deal. Their opening salvo of “Gouge Away”, “Wave Of Mutilation”, “Monkey Gone To Heaven” and “Debaser” is as good as it gets. Plus there’s an outing for all your cult favourites, whether that’s a breezy “Caribou” or a hilariously savage “U-Mass”.


But Boston we have a problem. Whenever they play a 21st century Pixies song – which sensibly isn’t too often – the energy levels palpably drop. There’s nothing particularly wrong with solid indie-surf chuggers like “Vault Of Heaven”, but perhaps that’s the issue; most classic Pixies songs sound gloriously, magnificently wrong. Most of the new ones don’t contain that crucial wrongness quotient, not enough devils or whores or cocks. Actually, there is a “cock” in “There’s A Moon On”, which suggests that the forthcoming Doggerel may be their best post-comeback album, although the bar isn’t too high.

But, hey. And indeed “Hey”. They play the old ones with such convincing gusto that it really doesn’t matter. This is a life-affirming celebration of one of the greatest and wildest catalogues in rock. Altogether now: “Wanna grow up to be, be a debaser! De-BASS-er!”

Catch up with the rest of Uncut’s End Of The Road 2022 coverage here:

Khruangbin, Sudan Archives: End Of The Road Festival 2022 – Day 1
Black Midi Q&A: End Of The Road Festival 2022 – Day 2
Naima Bock, James Yorkston, Black Midi: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 2
Tinariwen, Fleet Foxes, Beak: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 2
The Weather Station Q&A: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 3
The Magnetic Fields, Kevin Morby: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 3
Kurt Vile Q&A: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 4
10 Highlights From End Of The Road Festival 2022 – Day 4
Yard Act, Bright Eyes: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 4
Aldous Harding, Ryley Walker, Cassandra Jenkins: End Of The Road 2022 – Day 4


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