Saturday, 19 November 2011

Constellations Festival 2011 - Review

For those of you who don’t know, Constellations is a day festival at Leeds Student Union with bands playing throughout the day at different rooms in the building. It’s almost like the little sister of Live at Leeds (LAL uses the same concept but instead of different rooms it’s different venues all around the city)

After picking up my tickets and heading into town for something to eat I only managed to catch the last two songs of wonderful Wild Beasts’ tour buddies, Dutch Uncles. Singer Duncan Wallis showcased some amazing dance moves during the funky “Cadenza” but the audience weren’t as enthusiastic and only a few heads bobbed.

Head bobbing seems like the only acceptable way to dance at Constellations. As Elizabeth from Summer Camp draped bed sheets on the stage, Stylus gradually filled up. People were obviously as eager as me to see them live and hear songs off their 2 week old album. Having seen them at Lancaster Library 3 days before I knew what to expect but that didn’t make it any less special. They play a mix of album and EP songs which are all accompanied by montages from films such as The Red Shoes, Pretty in Pink and Breakfast Club. Elizabeth and Jeremy play off each other, almost like they’re acting, in songs like “Losing My Mind” and “I Want You” and even dance together. Despite the un-enthusiastic crowd, Summer Camp delivered an energetic, short and sweet set.

Next up in Stylus was Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks. I was especially looking forward to them (despite the odd mid-evening slot they had) as I missed out on Pavement’s reunion tours and witnessing one of my heroes in his other band was the next best thing. The crowd was beginning to look significantly older and more bearded as The Jicks took to the stage. They opened with “Senator” which induced mass sing-alongs to “what the Senator wants is a blowjob”, easily everyone’s favourite line. They raced through a set of friendly, slacker Jicks songs including “Tigers” and (sadly no Pavement!) which were accompanied by anecdotes about Portland and bassist Joanna Bolme confessing her love for the amount of girls in the audience “there’s never been so many!”

I was looking forward to seeing Yuck in a smaller venue after witnessing them in a huge, damp tent at Leeds festival in summer. But they launched into their first song only to have their sound abruptly cut off. After 10 minutes or so of faffing around, they started back up again as enthusiastically as they started. The set included the usual “Georgia”, “Get Away” and “The Wall” but also “Milkshake. Even though they played a lively set of fuzzy pop songs the hubbub of the huge crowd made the quieter moments such as “Suicide Policeman” seem less…special.

After a quick run in with the one and only Stephen Malkmus I headed for the bus home after a ridiculously fun packed day at Constellations and the reassurance that I will definitely be returning next year for more antics.

By Eden Young

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