With what can only be described as predictable irony, as I set off to see the one band I quite fancied of the night (Fight Like Apes) we stumbled across a drugged-up punter, and by the time I'd sorted him out the "We are calling" stage had concluded for the night. So, musical highlights were fairly slim pickings I'm afraid.
Couple of bands worth a mention though - first of all Out From Animals. I knew from hearing them away from the tent that it was the sort of music that I like - very loud, drum heavy music that sounds absolutely brilliant live. Sometimes it then means that I don't like the studio edits, but having a quick listen to some of the other songs I'm pleased to report that's not the case. Potentially one to keep an eye on.
Then, after many of the stages (save for the dance tent, which was nothing sort of torture whilst subjected to that) had shut down I went to the Keylied (folk) stage. There was an excellent band on, which a crazy fiddle player and a lead singer who didn't sound that dissimilar to James Blunt, but only occasionally so it's not a bad thing for once. Butterfly was a good song, but I completely loved New York Trader. I recognised it somehow or from somewhere - maybe another folk festival I've been to this year, maybe an advert - but it was definitely memorable. Easy to sing along with, catchy, all great.
Unfortunately, looking at my timetable (which was much changed), it's not the band who were due on that stage at that time, so must have been the famous person "Special Guest". And no amount of googling has helped so far.
I will try harder tonight. Promise.
So, with The Zutons headlining - who from the one or two songs I heard from walkabout were once again very good but I have been there before, so instead some other bands to touch upon, all of whom I think I've mentioned at some point in the past in this blog.
Frank Turner played to a packed out Keyleid Stage. The Ballad of Me & My Friends is one I've heard before, somewhere (I love these mysteries), and sounded just as good live as I hoped. Turner may have a potty mouth between the songs, but with some almost acoustic numbers (save for crowd participation) his talents as a his musician cannot be called into question.
Later, over on the We are Calling stage, ChewLips also packed 'em out - including me and some other Johnnies (well, it was raining). It was very bass heavy, as you can feel the beat through your abdomen. Throughout the set, I was thinking "I recognise this music" and "they sound very like that band that sung the song that goes ''We don't wanna wait there's no time, no time no ". That sung is obviously called Solo, and then there was the final number. Oh... Sorry, but the brain hasn't been properly functioning over the weekend!
It ended up being an intimate setting, and cracking singing from Tigs made it a really enjoyable and surprise set.
Another surprise was Casio Kids, who I often get tracks off to listen to but have never been overly enamoured with them. However, it's very apparent that they are a "Live band". A wide selection of instruments (including the famous cowbell) from the Norweigan group got the Keyleid stage going just after midnight. It was almost chill-out, but clear that the band were hard at work. Vendens storste land sounded particuarly great coming live. Maybe this served as the catalyst to get me properly interested in the guys.
I've got to add - all of these 3 groups had sell-out crowds, and none are "huge" names in the way that the Zutons are. Music awareness is growing round here, and well done to everyone who got away from the main stages to discover what else is on offer at the festival.
Much better night musically tonight, so well worth taking today off work to enjoy the activities.
I caught the end of Idlewild, with the sort of music that'll really get you going including A Modern Way of letting go - really enjoyable.
Then, I was in the pit for the final headlinersAsh. I love being in the pit for two reasons - first of all if anything happens medically they land at your feet and you have no preparation time, it's a real rush. Secondly, it's the best view in the house. Scarily, being paired with young Carly, she had never heard of Ash, and only recognised a couple of the old favourites Shining Light and Goldfinger I think being the relevant two. However, they've also got some new-er songs around, like Twighlight of the Innocents, bringing a wide selection of songs. Which to an extent was actually unnecessary - the classic songs from the band's hey-day were sounding just as fresh as they did about 15 years ago. Good at getting the crowd going, really enjoyable.
Elsewhere, 3/4 of Mumford & Sons were late starting, so I wasn't able to hang around for more than the first part of the song which took a while to get going; Birds Vs Planes Carly and myself were in mutual agreement that the music was fine and what we'd both like, but lead singer Jenny's voice was clearly on its way out; and somewhat disappointingly the Whiskycats idn't really get going as I hoped, but that was possibly because of what was coming from the Keylied tent just round the corner.
Craig Charles on the decks playing the best of funk & soul got the crowd going incredibly as Sunday turned into Monday. Disco, funk, Motown, and best of all some Northern Soul (inevitably). When Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) started, I almost had to be physically restrained from joining in with the crowd - although I've got so say wearing boots in a muddy field isn't the greatest for the dancing...
Final thoughts then - Kendal Calling is still quite a small festival, but better for it. More intimate. From my own perspective, the music got better as the weekend went on, but to an extent that was the shifts I was working. It's been going from strength to strength since it's conception, and if the line-ups stay of a similar standard I'm very likely to be back next year. V2009 in just a few weeks will end up being a shock.