Ellen + the Escapades, Mirrorkicks, John Hegley + More! - 6 Fest 229 London
I've been a regular listener to the BBC's 6 Music station for several years now, in fact it's the only station I listen to, tuning in to a variety of programmes throughout the day when I have a chance, including the likes of Chris Hawkins' early breakfast show, Steve Lamaq's drivetime stint, The Freak Zone and Collins and Herring's Saturday morning set.
I was extremely dissappointed when I heard 6 Music was possibly closing so breathed an extremely large sigh of relief when it was saved thanks to the overwhelming support from its passionate listeners. With this in mind I decided to join a large bunch of them down at London's 229 club, celebrating 6 Music living on at the station's 6 Fest Festival.
The event was held over two stages with an assortment of eclectic acts performing, mirroring the station's output. I arrived just in time to see Collins and Herring entertaining the early crowd, with Andrew getting a bit of audience participation underway by asking a man with a programme to read out who was playing for the rest of the audience. The duo introduced my first act of the day - Welsh singer Sweet Baboo and from then on I was kept on my toes, flitting between stages, only taking in a few songs from each act.
Highlights of my day included a short set from poet John Hegley who also requested a bit of audience participation, including getting one chap to hold his glasses high at the end of a song, South London band Mirrorkicks, who were tearing it up on the smaller stage and comedian Adam Buxton's appearance, especially his section on the You Tube comments for his N.W.A parody.
There was also fun to be had from the station's own Total Shambles fronted by Shaun Keaveny, with the band taking to the stage wearing Tom Robinson masks, bursting into Tom's extremely overlooked 70s classic "Up Against the Wall" for the first in a selection of choice covers celebrated in shambolic style!
The top turn of the event was a set on the smaller stage from Leeds band Ellen And The Escapades, the only act whose set I caught in full. It was an enjoyable performance, with the band delivering a country-tinged show, bringing to mind Lissie at times and The Loose Salute at others. They could do with a couple of killer songs up their sleeves but what was on offer was memorable on first listen and I noticed a couple of tracks had decent dynamics. The band have their Of All the Times EP out later this month so I imagine 6 will be giving it a spin at some point.
Dance act Metronomy were up on the main stage just after Ellen finished. I'd seen the band a couple of times before and they're not really my thing, especially as they tend to play in dark lighting leading to terrible pictures! At some point in the day I had begun to suffer from a serious dose of "Man Flu" so decided to head home after Ellen and the gang's great set as I was feeling extremly rough, even though I had been looking forward to seeing what headliners The Jim Jones Revue were up to. I believe they went down a storm anyway but I was happy enough with my hours spent at 229, mingling with like minded people and watching some decent bands!
Beth Jeans Houghton
Modified Toy Orchestra
Erland & the Carnival
Ellen & The Escapades