EDitorial ± 7-Oct-2019

Sound City Ipswich 2019

In 2009 eldest announced her wish to attend a workshop at "newly opened Punch Studios" down the road. Like Art Brut, she formed a band with BFF and other teens. They wrote some songs, recorded them, and played a gig, all in five days. Whole enterprise was masterminded by nice guy Joe Bailey.

In 2019 nice guy Joe Bailey together with Marcus "nonsuchdjs" Neal announced Sound City Ipswich, a one day multi-venue festival to encourage more touring bands to Go East. Four venues, 23 bands, with performances from 5pm to 2am. Within days of the late August announcement, I bought my £15 wristband. Come Friday teatime, I wolfed down half a spicy chicken kabuli and whizz-biked across town.

(18:30) Peaness at The Manor Ballroom
Managing to attach my bike to a big bin round the back of the club, jogged around to the main entrance and inside to catch the first notes of Peaness. Perky and poppy and oh-so-young, they harmonised and talked of Chester and smiled. "So we've not been to Ipswich before," one said, "Seems ... very nice. We had a coffee in Go Manila!" May the future bring them hap.

(19:30) Plastic Mermaids at The Manor Ballroom
Ballroom filling up with some familiar (and unexpected) faces, there's now stacks more equipment and lots more facial hair on stage. Off they go with a big warm psychedelic sound and it's very good indeed with some intense synth weirdness. Guy at the front says they're trying some new arrangements since he broke a finger earlier that week, hence he's on keyboards not guitar. Is it true, he asks the crowd, that you can catch a ferry to Amsterdam from here? Er, nope. Finishes far too soon.

(20:20) Ghosts Of Men at The Cornhill
Best fetch my bike to wheel it to the next venue. Except that someone's locked their Cannondale to my Raleigh. Best leave it there, then. Brief walk with Jeff, pausing for a takeaway coffee from a quiet Yates, and there's Ghosts Of Men playing outside at The Cornhill. Couldn't pass comment since he was between songs. Promise I'll listen to one of his tracks on Spotify to make up for it.

(20:30) Bessie Turner at The Corn Exchange
Ipswich's very own Bessie Turner takes to the big Corn Exchange stage. Have seen her couple of times before, both solo. Here she's accompanied by Dingus Tom the bassist and a drummer apparently called James Brown. Lovely voice with songs inspired by er, Lesley Dolphin and, er, John Stones. Also very self-deprecating: "Sorry if you've been pressured to come hear me by your friends."

(21:10) W.H. Lung at The Corn Exchange
I'm being told a story by a friend's wife when the music starts and I don't know whether to nod or laugh or frown. Serious young men, WHL, given a big build up by the slightly annoying emcee. Is that guy on stage playing an organ? They slowly construct a twelve foot wall of sound and proceed to jump up and down on it for ten solid minutes per track. Lead guy gives good gyrations with echoes of Jarvis, Ian Curtis and Future Islands.

(22:15) Emma-Jean Thackray at The Corn Exchange
Off goes Jeff and quite a few others to check out The Murder Capital at the Manor. I'm staying in the huge hall for an act endorsed by Gilles Peterson. Emma-Jean plays a mean trumpet but not in any conventional way. She loops and distorts it, sometimes sings. Oh, and there's a supercool guy on the keys, a great drummer and, naturally, a bloke wearing a sousaphone. Oh my. Brings back fond memories of Sons Of Kemet. An acquired taste, for sure, but I loved it. Did I really witness 40 minutes of experimental j*zz on one of the largest stages in Ipswich? Phenomenal. To counter tha, Will Young's due here tomorrow.

(23:20) Novelist at The Corn Exchange
Spoke to some other friends who'd also enjoyed Plastic Mermaids earlier. Stayed for opening Novelist track -- a thumping Thinking Thinking Dot Dot Dot with an appeal to "the Ipswich massive" -- before making my excuses, those excuses being my need to fetch my bike. Yay, now accessible. Paused to buy Smarties at ever open Majors Corner shop.

(00:10) Dingus Khan at The Corn Exchange
No better band for a late night up-for-it crowd. Dressed in their uniform white boiler suits, they have the gall to throw in some unfamiliar new tracks but thankfully give the people some old favourites too. "Ambulance" has people twirling like emergency lights, "Knifey-Spooney" has us yelling about cutlery, and "Made A List" is totes emotional. All this plus a male streaker joining in with the percussion and much drunken moshing. Can't You Hear Them Spinning?

(01:15) Snapped Ankles at The Corn Exchange
It's late-late-late when some curious looking figures emerge into the green smoke up there. They wear masks, said Jeff, but it's not just that. One on the left resembles a Sea Devil with the addition of a bright red light above his hood. Lead guy (?) carries a paganistic bent staff. A relentless thumping bass fills the room and the main man emerges into the crowd. I'm a little bit scared and more than a little bit tired. I'm done.

...and still missed The Stupids, Sir Was and Girls Of The Internet.

Both thumbs very much aloft for Joe and Marcus and everyone else who played a part. Same again next year?