For Liberation Day this year I decided to head out of town, where the ‘official’ celebrations take place, and go up to The Last Post in St Andrew’s where the parish and pub had organised a comparatively relaxed street party with the Vale Earth Fair Collective providing a selection of live music.
The afternoon was predominantly made up of solo acoustic acts and Matt Ward set the scene for this with his selection of originals and covers of indie and alt-folk classics. While there were only a few there early for Matt he seemed to go down well as people began to arrive at the pub which was basking in sun, despite strong winds which didn’t yet seem to be dampening any spirits.
The Doomsday Project were up next and, while they may sound like they should be playing something heavy, the young four-piece played a great bunch of pop-punk covers alongside a few originals. I don’t want to come off as patronising, but I’m probably going to, as, for their age and experience the band played a solid set with frontman Rusty clearly having something of the showman to him that could help see the band develop into ones worth watching over the next couple of years. Today they played to their crowd of friends and family and so went down well, but many others also commented that they are looking forward to seeing this young band grow.
With almost a year of solid gigging under his belt now Jack McGahy took to the stage this afternoon with a strong confidence that made for an entertaining set. Jack’s easy manner on stage, combined with some great songs, held the attention of many milling around the closed road outside The Last Post as he variously made us smile and laugh and appreciate his playing and songwriting.
Buffalo Huddlstone, aka Mike Meinke with Sarah Van Vlymen and Becky Hamilton, were up next and, despite a couple of sound issues, played one of their regular very good sets. Having played so often recently its hard to find anything new to say as this act put in great performances time and again and, once again, this was the case with the summer-y sound keeping the feeling of the cold wind at bay.
The always eccentric Crowman was up next, aided by his fiddling Pixie, Emma, and a mini-Crow on harmonica this afternoon, and as ever his set was delivered with his usual passion and unique invention. His set of psychobilly inflected garage-folk seemed to catch the attention and imagination of some experiencing him for the first time, while most who’d seen him before are already firm fans and, despite a few sound issues out front, his set went down well.
My afternoon rounded off with the Ukuladeez and, while I’d be lying if I said I was a fan of this band, their summer-y, jangly, hipster-folk was a great sound for a sunny afternoon and many, especially the youngsters, enjoyed their set and danced along.
Above all though, all afternoon up in St Andrew’s had something of the relaxed feeling of simply having a good time in the sun that the rose-tinted spectacles of memory tell me is just what Liberation Day should be and, while I was defeated by the strong winds and headed home early, I think this out of town parish has found a great recipe for celebrating this special day for our island.