Thursday, 24 November 2011

Constellations 2011 Review

Constellations Festival
Leeds University
November 12th 2011

So Constellations returns for a second year. Last year I made it through Runaround Kids' set before going to home to spend the following week in bed with Flu. I missed a good do by all accounts so i've got high expectations for this year.

Things don't begin especially well as i arrive in time to catch the last twenty five seconds of Hookworms in the alcohol free Riley Smith Hall. Bugger. I then make my way to Mine to check out Outfit. I wish I hadn't bothered. They do nothing for me, seem a bit dull and pedestrian and each song bleeds unrecognisably into another. The beer soaked copy of The Independent on the table soon becomes more appealing.

Back To Riley Smith Hall for Zulu Winter who I know nothing about but think their name is good. They don't sound as good as their name but they do a similar thing to Outfit in a more interesting way. I reckon they probably sound better on record though. Staying in the Riley Smith Hall for Islet. I've been looking forward to seeing these again since they were a highlight at Leeds Festival in the summer. And they don't disappoint. They are quite frankly awesome. I don't suppose you can really say they have structured songs as such which lets face it doesn't matter. Their playfulness and experimentation finally fully gets the day going for me. Perhaps understandably they appear to polarise opinion in the crowd and that really is always a good thing.

Needs to be something good after that, and I could probably do with checking out some of the other venues in this festival. Well wow look at that Stephen Malkmus is on inexplicably early. Surely he should be headlining right? Apparently not and it doesn't matter really does it? I guess it goes without saying working closely with so many bands who have Pavement deeply embedded in their DNA and never having got to see Pavement myself, I was really looking forward to this. Unfortunately I'm not as familiar with The Jicks material so can't sing along even though I feel like doing so. I probably ought to rectify this as I really enjoy the whole set. I would have done so even if he hadn't dedicated a song to the people of Wakefield.

After you've watched the real thing there doesn't seem to be much point in watch a pretender straight afterwards. That's a little unfair as I have enjoyed them earlier in the year and Get Away was one of my favourite songs of the summer. But it's hardly a fair slot to put them in. So anyway, I don't watch Yuck. Instead I head back to Mine for Vondelpark. Interesting ambient atmospheric stuff for sure, very soothing, I like what I hear but I head back to Riley Smith Hall again in time for The Antlers.

After the disappointment of no 'Hospice' material in their festival set during the summer, I was at least prepared but still hopeful of a 'Two' or 'Epilogue'. They didn't make an appearance but the 'Burst Apart' material has become familiar to me now and I don't miss the older songs too much now. After seeing a couple of bands not quite getting atmospheric quite right, The Antlers are a joyous sight (sound, surely) to me. It's a perfect ending to the day for me, anything after that will only be an anticlimax for me. So; taking into consideration I've already missed a good portion of Wild Beasts due to Riley Smith Hall running further and further behind as the day progressed; I decide to leave. I've done better than last year after all.

Rob Dee

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