The second annual Homespun music festival took place in various venues across the Medway Towns last week, starting on Wednesday 23rd with among other Jowe Head, he of Swell Maps & TV Personalities fame, and culminating with five bands playing at the newest venue, the Sun Pier House hosting only its second gig. A cafe & art rooms by day it was transformed into a gigging venue on Saturday evening to host Hand of Stabs, The Sine Waves, Galileo 7, The Parade & Young Husband.
After being told by several people that I would like Hand of Stabs I decided to put brave the heat, put on some clothes and smother myself with deodorant in the hope that I could last long enough in the heat to watch their set before melting. But alas, I began dripping profusely even before Hand Of Stabs had assembled their odd array of instruments that included an electrified bicycle wheel – not since Psychic TV have I heard someone get a tune from such an inanimate object. On that note, if the Sun Pier Cafe is to host regular gigs, and I hope they do, they need to invest in air conditioning or windows that open properly and a large enough fridge to serve ice cold alcohol.
Unfortunately, I was disappointed with Hand of Stabs. They didn’t appear to be enjoying the experience of playing a conventional gig and the freeform improvised jam never quite go off the ground. I made a mental note to go see them perform in a field, woods or museum – a normal place to perform as far as these three wise weirdy beards are concerned – I will I’m sure enjoy it much more next time.
The Sine Waves made a good, tight surf racket dressed in lab coats and wacky head gear, and the Galileo 7 played an equally tight set of melodic psych pop. By now the heat was on, and I was about to pass out and give in. But for some reason I decided to stay and listen to one song by The Parade. I had seen the name around and was aware of the singer’s solo project Lupen Crook. But not heard either. The five-piece ambled onto the stage through the sweat and chatter, donned their instruments and drifted into their first song. Taking centre stage, Matt Prichard began by playing the organ and quietly singing in a gentle, poetic way with his acoustic guitar slung high around his back like a drunken bohemian vagabond stumbling out of a Victorian bar into the bright light of a new day.
Unannounced I wasn’t the only one to cock-an-ear. There seemed to be an aura, an electricity, if not from the group, from Matt Prichard (aka Lupen Crook) – a tortured soul, basking in the limelight while also giving an air of awkward discomfort in having to give a performance; and that is exactly what this was – a performance. The Parade have edginess about them. A feeling anything and everything is about to happen. Jemimah Dean sang with Prichard while bashing drums, crashing cymbals and demonically strutting barefooted in shamanic-like posturing.
From the other side of the stage the sweet innocent looking Hannah Prescott began plucking at strings to make the most beautiful noise while she stamped on an array of effects pedals to give her guitar various surges of distorted life, which was so not what I imagined – a twee indie pop jingle jangle. Behind this frontline barrage of positive power and bleeding emotion there is a tight rhythm section courtesy of Chris Garth on drums and bassist Chris Taylor. Together they liberate the space for Prichard, Dean & Prescott to express themselves, filling the air with broken glass-like jagged sounds and some of the most exciting power pop I have heard in a very long time.
My one and only criticism of The Parade performance that night was I wanted it to be 10x louder. I didn’t want to hear people yakking. I wanted those people to be forced to shut up and leave holding their palms over their ears to stop the blood flow. The Parade need to be as loud as My Bloody Valentine without earplugs; as uncontrolled as The Jesus & Mary Chain at the infamous North London Poly ‘Riot’ gig; and if The Parade continue to be fully committed and build it, they will come.
The Parade is the future and I want it now!