PiL, Django Django, The Twilight Sad, Japandroids
As we arrive on site in Leicester for the third and final day of this years Summer Sundae Festival it is hot, ridiculously hot. Revellers in safari themed fancy dress or tiger face paints saunter past having already acclimatised to the boutique festival set in Demontfort Hall and gardens.
Summer Sundae offers an eclectic mix of new, achingly cool acts alongside tried & tested classic ones, the past two days has featured performances from the likes of Savages, Tune Yards, Death In Vegas and Adam Ant.
Tonight though seems to be all about PiL, almost everyone not dressed as a zebra appears to be wearing a t shirt featuring the bands classic logo.
Japandroids are the first band we decide to check out, swayed by the allure of a ‘two piece band trying to sound like a five piece rock band’ so after a chat backstage with Django Django we head to the indoor stage to watch the Vancouver based duo. If you can imagine Tim Wheeler from Ash sparring on stage with Steven Ansell from Blood Red Shoes then you will get some idea of the Japandroids stage show. Drums are furiously pounded, guitar is shredded, some serious classic rock shapes are thrown and we are treated to impressive grunge rock that marks these guys as ones to watch. They are heading back to the UK after an intense touring schedule across Europe and I recommend you try to catch them live at all costs.
Scotland’s The Twilight Sad are up next, a band that cannot hope to fully live up to those comparisons to Radiohead, Joy Division and Depeche Mode. It is unfair to put such lofty expectations onto a band but what we have here is efficient, brooding indie rock that is bass driven and dark. 80’s style and with shades of Editors also in the mix, The Twilight Sad do a decent set but their particular brand of melancholic anguish suffers against the stifling heat of Demontfort Hall.
When Django Django take to the indoor stage early evening, the psychedelic four piece soon win the crowd over with their infectious stage antics and a buoyant set list from their eponymous debut album. Dressed in matching T Shirts the boundless energy on display makes it virtually impossible not to dance along. ‘WOR’ is all bouncy surf guitars and sirens whilst the near perfection of ‘Default’ see’s Jimmy and Tommy jumping around with glee. An outstanding show that should really have been outside on the main stage.
After some much needed refreshments, and as night falls it is time for post punk pioneers PiL to take to the stage and close this years Summer Sundae with a bang. John Lydon is on fine form as he leads PiL through a setlist comprising of current album ‘This Is PiL’ alongside the bands classic tracks. John is in his element and the passion he has for this band is clearly evident – he visually gets a buzz out of performing and the heaving throng of PiL fans swarming around the main stage respond rapturously. ‘Public Image’ and ‘This Is Not A Love Song’ work well alongside recent single ‘One Drop’ Lydon & Co presenting the material with a fevered raw energy. Pulsating Dub Bass and the former Mr Rotten’s unmistakable vocal provided an intensity to ‘Death Disco’ but it was a blistering version of the Leftfield / Lydon track ‘Open Up’ that really ignited the crowd. A fantastic show from one of the greatest rock showmen we have, the perfect close to a great Festival.
All photos by Phil Hutchinson