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‘A Month In The North, Pigstock Festival Special’

Yes, there has been an entire month’s worth of material to update you all on – but first, and truly with some delirious sense of need last weekend’s Pigstock Music Festival needs to be highlighted. A special case being only my second year in attendance, and having had the pleasure of witnessing Pigstock solidify not into the foundations of some weekend jaunt in a field but (pardon the food reference, we’ll get to that) a Christmas dinner with all of the (in this case, pork, and lots of it) trimmings.

Having traversed campsite, field, parties, said slow roasted pig and stage alike with a grin on my face, here’s a quick run-down of how the weekend in Killinchy panned out.

Hailing from that ‘North Coast Triangle‘ and drilling home the sheer quality of music coming from there, Bomb City 7 almost took down the entire main stage early on Friday night with a final song invasion (and I don’t mean just five or six tenacious individuals) inspired with every ounce of their punk-rap spirit – there was no stopping their Pigstock debut turning into a riot and they truly made a unique mark and name for themselves as a festival worthy band to watch out for.

Tearing round the stage, beards and all – Axis Of showcased part of what Pigstock is really all about, delivering a much heavier range of bands in comparison to its lighter brothers coming up in the height of Summer. Another North Coast band (as too are And So I Watch You From Afar and Team Fresh – you could almost call the line-up a coastal takeover.

In completely professional fashion Mojofury gave the crowd the perfect build-up towards the end of Friday evening – it was simply a shame that they didn’t have the chance to play their brand of insightful noise that little bit longer, the crowd baying for an encore that just wasn’t technically able to be catered for.

The new post-album songs already have their place amongst the ones we’ve lovingly seared into our minds, and with the album launch just a fortnight beforehand really we were spoiled with second helpings of Michael Mormecha’s emotionally charged sing-a-longs.

The swiftly twisting weather and injuries held over from their recent tour were never going to stop what was perhaps a more relaxed (post-album launch they’ve really nothing left to prove in our eyes, at least for a while the lads can certainly have been said to have earned a rest) and yet powerful performance from And So I Watch You From Afar.

Attempts by crowd members to stage dive, and generally get involved in the action were too numerable to count, but with the cheekiest of successes one of ‘The Rupture Pups‘ (pictured further down) managed to get on stage to work Rory’s (Friers) pedals for him during ‘A Little Bit Of Solidarity‘.

There is so much that could be said about the involvement and want for success that the home audience, and now too their growing international audience, has for these four lads – the absolute sonic-pinnacle of what has come from these shores.

…now, with a pause for critical thought – in a two day festival it’s sometimes hard to balance the two line-ups out. One day either having ‘that band’ (in this case, ASIWYFA) or the other simply not being populated with enough real strength to see the weekend through for tiring audience members.

Heading for the campsite, I was left thinking how Saturday was going to best this – and it did prove to be lighter for the most part, lacking the same power of the ‘heavyweights’, but it was actually very welcome structured as it was, with many of the younger bands being given fantastic opportunities to show off.

Many had pushed the night before right to the limits and were still crashed out in their tents, but a sizable majority still managed to turn out into the frequently wet sunshine to rock out. Despite a few technical hitches with soaked pedal-boards The Rupture Dogs once again showed themselves to be a realistic successor to Fighting With Wire/LaFaro as an angry, growling sonic outfit.

They even have their own successors lined up in the two young lads who have been dubbed ‘The Rupture Pups’, letting them take to the stage for the second year in a row to regale the crowd.

If anyone had fun last weekend, it was definitely them.

abandcalledboy meanwhile have been salivating for the opportunity to ply their sounds at festivals this year, and with a reputation for destroying both equipment, stages and themselves in the process of their shows, they caused some distress for security (the men in florescent jackets had a long weekend looking back over all of this, poor souls) – and despite a thinned audience they held all rapt; bouncing, bloodied as they were throughout their set.

Taking time to relax and enjoy the festival atmosphere, last year’s headlining band A Plastic Rose were down simply for the experience this time out.

Employing equal parts madness, the racing of tents and genuinely causing as much havoc as possible; Dave (Reid), Troy (Heaton) and (an un-pictured) Ian (McHugh) ravaged the campsite and festival grounds for as much entertainment as was humanly possible.

Team Fresh have been off the gig circuit for a while now, pulling together new material and generally solidifying their sound into something even more poignant than beforehand. Pigstock marks an almost serious return to form for them, a statement of intent for the year ahead even – and opening with new song ‘1985‘ (a blinder with more than just their usual political underscoring) is ample evidence of that.

Team Fresh just before going on-stage looked every part the unit; as per, another band with a proponency for the provocative (like their younger cousins Bomb City 7) their fan favourites ‘Barbwire Empire‘ and ‘Rhythm Tradition‘ managed to get the tired heads perking up, ready for the rest of the evening.

And So I Watch You From Afar’s Jonny Adger and the rest of the band continued to enjoy the festival throughout the weekend too, making a point of catching many of their friends down plying their audio-wares.

…and honestly who’s going to realistically turn their nose up at a weekend of beer and burgers (made entirely of pig), in a field, with your mates?

One of the absolute highlights of the festival was the Dylan-esque (and I stress to say that so honestly) Dolbro Dan taking to the main stage before math-rock juggernauts Adebisi Shank – possibly the most welcome shock to a decidedly tired audience from the night before, and just an incredibly touching change of pace.

I don’t think I’ve ever been asked by so many people in the front row “…who is this guy again, where can I get his stuff?” – despite with a little patience on everyone’s part, Dan eventually introduced himself with his final song.

I decided to relax after a stressful yet blessed weekend and enjoy headlining band LaFaro simply as an experience, I even brought a seat (don’t laugh) down near the stage and decided to just camp/rock out just to the right of the crowd with BBC Northern Ireland’s Paul McClean.

They were dirty, heavy, long of beard and just the right amount of angry. It was also with a sad sigh that we also appear to be waving goodbye to Herb Magee, their bassist – announcing his departure from the band halfway through set, and what better send off than capping a festival that has honestly delivered the first, and potentially the best of the season already here in Northern Ireland.

What more needs to be said (in reference to the above set of disheveled characters) – the sun crests over us all on the Sunday and no one was ready to settle down. Tent racing (as mentioned beforehand) was again rife, tentpole-saber battles with members of abandcalledboy ensued, games of football with Gacy’s Threads left no drunk staggering target un-aimed at, and general tomfoolery was abound.

Roll on next year.

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Originally posted over at ‘I Love Photo Blogs’.

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Making Music Photography An Art Form, A Profile – Matthew Alexander Patton

“Over the years, music photography has settled into an established art form, with conventions and rules of its own, so when a photographer can come along with a whole new lexicon, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Matt’s pictures somehow take you under the skin of the subject, revealing more than perhaps they thought they were giving away in the first place. And perhaps more importantly, he makes it look DAMN COOL to be in one of the bands he captures.”

Steven Edward Rainey, ‘BBC Introducing’

“I am Matthew Alexander Patton – cheers for the opportunity to promote my work. I try not to take life too seriously, but can often be seen doing so. I wear a crew shirt from the film Alien (the ‘Nostromo’) and a set of pink headphones to the death. For me life is all about the journey – not the destination and so my website is a record of my journey so far.”

“…The ‘Nostromo‘ is simply a concept that embodies all of this in my eyes and is a personal statement on several different levels. It embodies the lonely traveler, the distant land, the epic journey and the vehicle of choice. Each of which respectively represents how I feel about myself, how I see the world, my attitude towards life and finally my work. It is a concise unifying symbol. End of.”

“I am a massive fan of And So I Watch You From Afar, Angels & Airwaves, Bloc Party, Frank Turner, and Sigur Rós.”

“So far my film work has been recognised by BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) via a nomination for a short film award in 2007 and has been screened at the 2008 Cannes (France) and Hayden (USA) film festivals respectively.”

“My photographic work has been published domestically in the United Kingdom in a variety of film, music and photographic publications; and also internationally in Australia & the United States. Publicly I have exhibited work so far in Belfast, (Northern Ireland), Dublin, (Ireland) and Manchester, (England).”

“Companions on this journey are important to me, and so I am currently documenting A Northern Light, Colenso Parade, Kasper Rosa and The Rupture Dogs on their own journeys. Previously I was the photographer for A Plastic Rose.”

“Over the last few years I’ve had the privilege of being involved with music in Northern Ireland via my film and photography work. In particular I have formed a strong attachment with the documentation of bands with as little of an agenda as possible – other than to show them up as I see them through the viewfinder.”

“When I look back through my work and where I’ve been aiming it; it is striking to me how little that we see of the real people behind the music these days – what with the control and limitations placed down by publicists and managers who rarely seem to grasp that the icons of old were part created via the humanizing force of seeing their true faces in many cases. Showing their characters not as a contrived thought but as actual people. As an audience looking in, we connected more with them as people compared to the majority of today’s over polished ideas of image. This situation is something I try to pay as much attention to as possible within what I am doing.”

“Often I find that an Occam like approach to my work is the most effective way to accomplish this, using simplicity and a lack of pretense to create (I hope) a more relaxed atmosphere for the bands I work with. I try to stay away from using lighting setups (being well aware of how waiting around on setups affects actors on set I learned very quickly that most musicians are not naturally settled in front of camera), instead finding positions, natural embellishments, corridors of light or existing fittings to shape the image in a much more leisurely manner.”

“Despite saying that. I love technology, and it was my route into film-making and from that then photography. All of my equipment from camera to laptop I’ve tried to learn inside out (and in many cases self-repaired) to try and get a better grasp of each component’s limitations and uses. Though I can see how the progression of technology can get in the way of a good image, whether it is a young band being physically unnerved by a camera that you could launch a missile from or the technical perfection of the frame coming before actual content – something I have been and can be guilty of myself. Often I’ve personally found that the clear, crisp pictures that make up the bulk of music photographs out there can lack the emotion and life that was present on stage in the first place.”

“Basically and in the shortest possible manner. I love what I do and the people with whom I work and the experiences I’ve had so far, and would say to anyone interested in photography to find exactly what impassions you visually and follow it.”

“Don’t try to be other people, but learn from them. Make what you do, your own.”

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Many things come to mind post-Glasgowbury – not least of all that I get the blues after such an all-encompassing high point as standing up the Sperrins (ahem, aye so I’ll admit my geographical misdemeanour in calling it the Mourne mountains for the last few weeks – not sure where that verbal balls up came from – we’ll just say enthusiastic swift ignorance) listening to some of the best music in the world. It’s also hard to top the connected social feeling from seeing all and sundry, reeling back down to normality can be a tough transition.

Aside from the obvious thank you to each and every person involved and in attendance at the festival, there was a number of other memories which stood out as making this year’s Glasgowbury particularly sentimental.

– receiving a dedication from the cheeky sods that make up More Than Conquerors. Meant the world, genuinely.

– getting to sit in the throat of And So I Watch You From Afar’s performance whilst all buzzed and whirled around me.

– proudly seeing Team Fresh and Pocket Billiards début at the festival to a practical riot respectively each.

– running into Electric Mainline’s Stephen McCauley in the campsite, whilst towing two chairs along at a sprint. At the time I don’t quite think I realised just how that must have looked.

At this point I thought it pertinent to pass over the reigns to a few of the masses, the collective music community that I rattle on so much about – each and every one of us has a story to tell, and an experience to share; individually they mean something to each of us, but together they hopefully become so much more.

Brian Magill

What a great day. The festival just gets better every year. I know most of the plaudits will be reserved for the blistering sets from Fighting With Wire, LaFaro & ASIWYFA, but for me to wax lyrical about those three would just be laziness, really.

For me, the three bands that stood out were Pocket Billiards, Team Fresh and Adebisi Shank. Pocket Billiards were so up for it, and you could tell from the moment they walked out on stage that they were there to have a great time. I hate this ‘too cool for school’ shit you get with a lot of bands nowadays; it’s ok to enjoy what you’re playing (!). They are the quintessential party band and really deserve a bit more exposure.

As for Team Fresh, they had the unenviable task of hitting the stage at the same time as And So I Watch You From Afar. You’d be forgiven for thinking that a) they might be playing to an empty tent and b) that it would rub off on their performance, but they gave it everything they had, and a lot of people (myself included) were sucked in by the racket emanating from their tent. Another bunch who know how to have a good time and entertain. We’ll need to get them up to Derry soon!

Adebisi Shank are a phenomenon. They confuse and delight in equal manner, and are as punk rock as you’re likely to find in this day and age. The new tuneage was head twistingly superb, and the old favourites were there in force. You know you are seeing something special with these guys, when someone as talented as Jonny Black turns to you mid-set and shakes his head in both envy and disbelief.

Oh, and it didn’t rain. What a bonus!

Colm Laverty

Like Christmas for NI music. Dozens of my favourite local acts, veterans and newcomers alike, all helped create that feeling of unity (a rarity for festivals). My love for the day can be epitomised in one moment, where I faced the sky with my eyes closed, just as the last chords of Fighting With Wire rang out, thinking, “These aren’t just songs, they’re the soundtrack to our lives”.

Danny Morton (More Than Conquerors)

Although it was Glasgowbury’s tenth anniversary it was my first time at the festival, or at any festival for that matter; so needless to say I was uncertain about what the next twenty four hours held in store for me. Apparently, ‘a lot’ of free booze, loud music and the absolute best of banter! It would be so easy to fill a week or month with great gigs in Belfast during term time, but you don’t actually realise the amount of incredible bands that we have knocking about until you hear most of them in only one day!

The only bad thing about Glasgowbury seems to be that you’re completely spoilt for choice – how can you choose between Strait Laces, ASIWYFA and Team Fresh? You do your best and no matter where you end up you’ll have a pint, a group of mates and memories that will last a life time…

Diane Greer (Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas)

We had high hopes for Glasgowbury 2010 and we had a fantastic time. I couldn’t believe the crowd we pulled, all ages, shapes and sizes, the place was packed. There were moments when I looked into the crowd and they were all singing and smiling back at us and I felt really moved. I know our album (When We Were Brave) is doing really well, I know the reviews are great, I know we have good things ahead but nothing, absolutely nothing will ever compare to what I felt, in fact we all felt it… and it was mighty!

When people know the words of your songs it stops being an ‘us’ and ‘them’ thing and becomes a shared experience, one which everyone plays a part in and I was definitely overwhelmed by it. We are gaining a reputation for making people feel good, and that’s a two-way thing. Paddy writes great songs but unless people like them then they are just that – good songs – it’s something when people start to tell you how they relate to them, how they make them feel. Glasgowbury 2010 will live forever in the memory of Paddy Nash & The Happy Enchiladas – and we are grateful for that.

Graham Smith (Music Photographer)

Having attended Glasgowbury over the past six years I have been able to watch it grow, in every respect, in to what it is now: a vibrant, entertaining, relaxed and exciting showcase for the incredible talent this country holds. I have said it every year and I will say it is again for 2010….this really was the best year yet.

Jason Hawthorne (Yes Cadets)

Playing on the mainstage was such a buzz, seeing people dancing to our music in the sun; that has definitely made my Summer so far (thank you weather god!). Given the weather and the lovely response, clashing with two of my favourite bands (Adebisi Shank and Not Squares) didn’t seem to matter anymore, apart from the fact that I didn’t get to see them rock out.

Roll on next year!

John Gribbin (Building Pictures)

When I landed at the festival site around eleven on Saturday morning there were a few ominous grey clouds floating around the Sperrin Mountains, but thanks to a few strong gusts of wind and a bit of the old Irish luck it cleared up and the weather was glorious!!

As a wise man said to me, “Only Paddy Glasgow can get good weather in July“…such is the unpredictability of our bloody Summer! I parked up the car, and took a walk down to the festival site just before the doors were opened just so that I could take in the spectacle of the setting. It really does amaze me to think that four thousand people descend upon a mountain to dance their socks off to a load of local bands!!

It really is very special!!

Lisa Byrne

As far as birthday parties go, this has to have been the best I have been to! My fourth year at Glasgowbury didn’t disappoint. The best year I’ve had to date. I squeezed in as much music as I possibly could in the twelve hour running time and loved every minute of it. Not Squares were an absolute treat of a find and I’ll be going to a lot more of their gigs in future.

Here Comes the Landed Gentry, Furlo, Colenso Parade and ASIWYFA amongst too many others stood out for me; along with the mighty Cashier No.9!

O.M.G!

Niall Lawler (Axis Of)

For something we’d been building up for over a year, Glasgowbury completely blew away our expectations. Landing a slot on the main stage was something else. For a hardcore band like us, getting slots like that simply shouldn’t happen, getting the crowd the size we did furthered the general absurdity of it all. The only downside of the whole event was some amazing memories which were forgotten due to the later celebrations. I think it goes without saying, but we are massively grateful to Paddy, Dermot and the rest of the team for recognizing our hardwork and believing in us. No festival has come close to Glasgowbury in my eyes, long may it continue.

Rion McCartney (Here Comes The Landed Gentry)

As both a punter and musician, I have been attending this great festival since 2003, and this year like so many had again another diverse and exciting line up. For me it’s great to listening to bands who you never hear but always see/hear their names being mentioned, meeting people from other parts of the country who dig what the band are doing and having a good old booze up and a boogie!

Another personal highlight for me this year was HCTLG headlining the Spurs Of Rock stage to a jam packed capacity crowd, with people singing the words of the songs back to you.

The amount of preparation put into the process of the festival deserves a tip of the hat to Paddy, Stella and all the hard workin’ crew, without these people doing what they do who knows what I would have been doin’ last weekend…

…for this, I Salute You All!

Slaine Browne (Team Fresh)

First time playing Glasgowbury; we were a bit worried that no one would come to see us as it was our first time here and our older, wiser brothers were playing in the G-Sessions tent right beside us. By the first few bars of ‘Trojan‘ the tent was half full, by the end it was full to the brim, people crowd surfing, a mosh pit going for the entire set, the smoke machine blew up making Niall and Chops invisible for most of the show.

As soon as we finished we ran outside and across to the G-Sessions tent to catch the end of our comrades set, Dunbar ran up and stage dived into the crowd. We all reconvened in the camp site and got dinner, got our energy levels back up for Pocket Billiards and continued to crowd surf for the rest of the night. I remember leaving their set and collapsing on the grass in front of the main stage where I remained for the rest of the evening smiling at all passers by – then back to the camp site for more ‘Craic Fuel’ (tropical juice and vodka) and general ganch and bantering with everyone there.

Wish it was three days long…

Stephen McCauley (BBC Electric Mainline)

Glasgowbury has always been the temperature gauge for Northern Irish music but this year was extra-special! Maybe it was just that everyone wanted to celebrate the 10th birthday together but it felt like anything was possible! It felt truly joyous! As long as I live, I will never forget the atmosphere in the G-Sessions tent when And So I Watch You From Afar played. Fans were swarming around the outside of the tent trying to get in and this was before the band came anywhere near the stage! It was the worst kept secret in history that they’d be the surprise guests on the day and the sense of anticipation was electrifying! I watched it all from the back of the stage, speechless once again!

I was busy in the early afternoon trying to record a special edition of Electric Mainline from the artists’ car park and my abiding memory was LaFaro arriving in their red van straight from the ferry, on their way back from a gig in Glasgow the night before. They’d barely slept, they’d driven for hours, Alan climbed out of the van in crutches, they borrowed two guitars, crowded around a few microphones and played an absolutely heartstopping acoustic version of “The Ballad of Burnt Dave“. It was so great just to see everyone again!

It’s a festival like no other – may it last forever!

Steven Rainey (BBC Introducing)

It’s fast becoming a cliché to say, but this year Glasgowbury exceeded all expectations, taking this uniquely Northern Irish experience into uncharted territory. After ten years of supporting and promoting music in Northern Ireland, the festival has become the ultimate showcase of what this country’s musicians are capable of.

Looking around during Fighting With Wire’s headlining set, pride swelling within my bosom, I couldn’t help but think, “I wouldn’t swap this for any other experience in the world”.

Thomas Camblin (MojoFURY)

Glasgowbury, what a day! I love the fact that a small (but massive) festival can generate so much excitement with in a community.

My festival highlight was standing on the ‘smallbutMASSIVE’ mainstage while LaFaro blew the place apart…Alan Lynn is an absolute hero. The man, with damaged tendons in his kick drum foot, just back of a week’s tour, still beat the shit out of the kit.

Truly extraordinary!

With all of this said, from bands, fans, photographers and writers, there is only one last thing to re-state…

Paddy, Stella, Dermot, Niall, Sharon, Bobby and all the rest – from the very bottom of all our hearts, thank you for all of the efforts you have put into making the Glasgowbury Music Festival what it is.

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After the week just past I feel there is little that could have made me celebrate – and then I receive word that I have been selected to exhibit at this year’s Hard Working Class Heroes Festival down in Dublin from the 16th to the 18th of October.

It also pleases me that my good friends A Plastic Rose are playing – with Adebisi Shank, Disconnect4, Not Squares and Pocket Promise also featuring at the festival as part of the music showcase.

Hard Working Class Heroes Festival

Anyone who is thinking of attending, hopefully I will be able to reveal a few more details as to the thematic nature of the exhibit closer to the time.

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