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Friday, 13 July 2012

The Eden Sessions


You wouldn't normally utter the words 'eden project' and 'live music' in the same sentence, but for the last week the famous cornish gardens has seen some serious musical talent. From young pop sensation Labrinth to timeless rockers Blink 182, the environmental project has attracted fans from every era and every age.

My friend and I decided to embark on the little trek from my sleepy village in Somerset to (a very hilly) Cornwall. A two and a half hour train ride later and we were taking in the Cornish scenery and dodging the rain (don't you love England?) on a 'teen girl' filled bus on route to the pretty place that has been hosting a series of little festivals.

We were attending the last and, in our opinion, the best line up of the whole event, The Vaccines and Noah and the Whale were on the main stage from 7.30. But it was only half past two when we arrived so we decided we would try and take in as much culture as we could, after wandering for about half an hour we ended up at the cider tent.

There was to be no money on the eden site, instead you pay for as many 'poker chip' tokens as you like for food and drink and if you didn't use them all then you get your money back at the end, nifty idea.

So with our tokens we were able to taste some cold cornish cider, (they're not even known for their cider?) and settle into the afternoon entertainment. With sounds coming from the smaller stage, we didn't realise that we were sat on the bench near the backstage area, cue The Vaccines rocking up and us going as loopy as the teen girls surrounding us.

My friend's response to viewing them in 'real life' - "I'm actually shaking."

After our teeny tiny encounter with one of our favourite bands, which resulted in us standing around listening to their sound check (how sad) we decided to look for some food. The cider had hit us.

This was something that let down the whole little festival experience, though they had a lot of food on offer, it wasn't available all day. With a wait on our hands we pulled up a pew on a wicker bench and enjoyed the limited sunshine.

After one or two more ciders we decided to make our way to the main stage area, the teen girls already firmly in place at the front railings we stood a few feet back and waited for The Vaccines to make their appearance. We had some music to keep us occupied though, Palma Violets were the support act and to be completely honest a slight disappointment for me.

I had read up on the band knowing they were going to be at this little festival, and expected good things, but they seemed to have a musical manner you would see from a more established band, often asking the (bewildered) audience to motion things "for us." They have the opportunity to be a good new indie-rock band, they just need to get rid of the Gallagher vibe that they have not yet earned.

Then came the main event and not even the abysmal weather could dampen the spirits of the hardcore Vaccines fans. Noticeably hairier, the band did what they do best. If you ever get the chance to see them live, do it, they are one of the greatest indie bands you will ever witness, and I say that as a critic not a fan.

After a shy and retiring set from them at Isle of Wight last year they played as many festivals as they could and built up their confidence and with that an epic fan base. The 40-minute set was loud and exciting, offering the audience old classics such as Wetsuit (very apt for the weather) and Norgaard along with a few new songs we will be seeing on their second album Come of Age in September such as Teenage Icon and their new single No Hope which is out now.

With a fond farewell it was time for Noah and the Whale, it seemed an anticlimax somehow but not in a bad way. From the exuberant band before them, they took a much calmer approach on stage. I had first seen them at Glastonbury Festival last year and fell in love with them, their manner is sincere and there is something about them that feels almost European? It's hard to believe they are English.

Their set was cute and humble playing their classics such as 5 Years Time and Tonight's the Kind of Night, even though it was disrupted from yet more hard rain downpours and the crowd becoming a little more intoxicated than they had been for The Vaccines. My friend and I had to move away to the 'family corner' of the stage as we had a guy pissng in a cup (we think we attract this strange people) next to us, ready to throw into the crowd.

Noah were onstage for a mere 65 minutes (including encore) so I think it was the general question from everyone, why were they the headliners? Nevertheless, this little festival was a hit wet weather and all, and a great early birthday present for me.

The Vaccines - No Hope

Noah & the Whale - L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N


The Vaccines new album Come of Age is out 3rd September.

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