Once again last Saturday night things got wonky at The Fermain Tavern as Steve (complete with wedding dress and moustache) piloted The Peace Tent back to Earth for a night of, mostly, musical entertainment.
With all the typically stretchy and psychedelic decorations in place acoustic duo Blue Mountains were the first to take to the stage. Their acoustic blues and folk with a hint of country is something that has been done a thousand times before, but somehow they brought their own particular sound and style to it.
Armed with an acoustic guitar, dulcimer and a pair of mandolins, Colleen and Mike bring a sense of knowing imperfection to create their sound.
This may sound like a fairly major criticism but that is far from how it is meant, this is simply the best description I can come up with of their relaxed attitude on stage.
This meant their take on traditional style folk and blues had its own attitude that made it what it was and certainly backed up the good reports I had heard of the duo over the last few months as they were at best enrapturing and at worst simply nice to listen to.
As always with Peace Tent events the entertainment wasn’t confined to music on the stage as, while Tantale were getting ready, Jonny-O was on hand to play a few games with the audience.
First of these was the ‘old favourite’ of how many milk cartons can you fit in a milk carton. It’s hard to even describe how games like this work at a gig on a Saturday night but they do, and with a free pint and couple of other mystery prizes for the winners everyone seemed to be getting into the spirit of the night.
Second band up was a returning Tantale. Having not played a gig in a good long while it’s always nice to see a band coming back and playing a good set, and that’s just what the indie rock four piece did.
With a mix of new and old songs they had people interested from the start and, while it wasn’t the busiest gig the Tav has ever seen, Tantale certainly seemed to draw the biggest crowd, many of who’s heads were nodding along.
With a few fluffs it may not have been Tantale’s tightest performance, and while they have some great cross over ‘singles’ amongst their repertoire, there were some points where their set here became somewhat drone-y and the songs lost definition.
The new songs did help this a bit with acoustic guitar and keys varying the sounds and, at times, sounding a bit like Neil Young crossed with Nine Inch Nails, but, in the end, this didn’t seem to be Tantale at full strength, though hopefully with a few more gigs they might get back to the level they were at when they released their debut album a couple of years back.
As well as games with Jonny there was music between the band from psy-breaks DJ Justin Flegg who added even more to The Peace Tent vibe with his squishy and wonky dance-y beats that are of the ilk that makes the call of “Needs more psytrance!” such a part of Peace Tent culture each year at Chaos.
Headliners were fast-rising grunge rockers To The Woods (formerly The Deadbeats) and they continued their ascent with another solid performance.
Things didn’t start so smoothly with failing guitar cables stopping their first song abruptly in its tracks, but this was soon sorted and things continued in their typical bull in a china shop fashion.
That said this wasn’t To The Woods’ most intense performance, though this did allow some of the songs to come through a bit more clearly, beyond a wall of noise, and showed they have some great stuff in their set.
As well as Bobby Battle’s ever-overpowering presence, Dan Garnham’s drumming was a highlight of their set here with some highly impressive speed with both his hands and feet marking him out as something a bit different to many others over here.
With a new song added to the set with a slightly punkier edge that reminded me of early My Chemical Romance (musically, not vocally and guys coming from me that’s a big complement) the keyword for To The Woods performance here was “potential” and, if they carry on like this, it certainly could be something they fulfill sooner rather than later.
And here’s how the review appeared in The Guernsey Press on Thursday 12th June 2014: