Set in the North Dorset countryside, End of the Road returned with its unique laidback atmosphere, delicious catering and of course, great music. Here’s a quick round-up of Impact‘s favourite moments:
Playing a special set on the otherwise quiet Thursday night, the two American sisters of Deap Vally played their raucous blues to a receptive crowd. Ignoring the obvious White Stripes comparisons for a second, Deap Vally sound as urgent and as relevant as any other band around at the moment, despite the odd technical difficulty. Loud and heavy rock n roll – a great start to the weekend. (AN)
Manchester’s finest all girl foursome showed off their vicious post-punk anthems to a mid-afternoon crowd. With a debut album due in a couple of weeks, this was an opportunity for Pins to really hammer home those songs that make Girls Like Us a classic. Despite a set of largely similar tempo songs, Pins’ pop hooks and moody intensity will see them do well. (AN)
Straight from South London come the finest purveyors of dark jangly pop that we have right now. This set samples entirely from debut album, Smile That Won’t Go Down, apart from a new song that is played first up. Very much from the same school of witty, C86-inspired rock, the new track builds on their sound, providing a richer sound and bigger choruses. Their second album holds much promise. (AN)
This is pop of the highest order; full of huge orchestral and anthemic hooks and topped with an emotional, atmospheric voice. With tracks about religion and morality, pretentiousness is an obvious tag. However, Money create songs full of beauty and stunning suspense, and pretentiousness is the bottom of their list. A highly enriching set. (AN)
One of the newer bands at the festival, Wolf Alice brought their folk-cum-grunge to End of the Road. The already established singles impress, but it is new song, ‘You’re A Germ’, that really sparkles. It is Pixies brought into 2013, complete with off-kilter countdowns and demonic statements (“You ain’t goin’ t’heaven”). Impressive set from a band that just get better and better. (AN)
High expectations and an air of excitement surrounded the build-up to this set from New York’s Parquet Courts. No-one was left disappointed with their fast-paced, unpretentious punk, as the equally happy band and crowd shouted their way through the chant-like choruses. The chorus of ‘Master Of My Craft’ was worth it on its own. (TC)
By now the queens of the stage, Savages barely have to try. Within seconds, the crowd are under their mesmerising spell, waiting on Jehnny Beth’s every word. As they plow through their debut album, the crowd reaches a desperate, sweaty climax during ‘Husbands’. A great set from the best live band on the circuit. (AN)
Playing their first UK show in over two years, Warpaint looked like they’d never left. Blasting through the debut album’s classics, as well as a selection of new songs, this is a highly fulfilled performance from stagecraft experts. Their two years away have clearly been spent wisely, honing their existing repertoire of haunting post-punk songs and writing a whole host of even better new ones. (AN)
Headlining on Saturday night were the mesmerising Sigur Rós, and brought into the live setting they proved that their songs could reach the heights of grandeur that they were made for. The punishing cold of the evening was not off-putting and it seemed that most of the crowd survived the two-hour long set. (TC)
San Diego’s best noise-pop exponents played a late morning show. Their Jesus & Mary Chain-inspired, hook-filled pop sounded good, but never ignited. This could be partly down to the exclusion of biggest hits, ‘Marquis De Sade’ and ‘I Wanna Kill’, from the setlist, although the lack of variation between songs also played a part. Their secret set twelve hours later was much more impressive. (AN)
This East London foursome playing 70s American art-punk always impress. On the back of a recent debut album, the group look as fluid as ever, flying through a set that climaxes in stand-out song, ‘I Watch You’. Gradually improving, their future success will revolve on their ability to evolve into something entirely unique. (AN)
Playing at the Big Top stage, Merchandise were one of the acts we were most looking forward to seeing. They opened their set with ‘In Nightmare Room’, an unusual diversion away from regular opener ‘Anxiety’s Door’, which ,along with ‘Time’, were the standout songs in their short set. They drew in a fairly large crowd, with even Rough Trade boss, Geoff Travis, amongst the late afternoon revelers in attendance. (TC)
Bo Ningen have one of the best stage presences of a band around right now. Throughout their jaw-dropping set, they left the crowd astonished and fully stunned. Their weird, wonderful and unique formulation of Japanese punk was a highlight of the weekend, although not so much for others – the guy next to me left after the second song. (TC)
After over a year of constant touring, they still have the energy to put on a show. Despite a largely uninspiring crowd, bassist Chilli remained as frenzied and charismatic as ever in attempts to get the crowd moving. Their hour-long set had to be filled with a few covers, including the now regularly played ‘Invasion of the Tribbles’, recently released on limited vinyl. However, their own shows are still much better; catch them on their November tour if you get a chance. (TC)
For a first End of the Road experience, this was quite something. Above is just a snapshot of all the great music that we saw, but there is so much more to this festival than simply music.
Firstly, its location is superb; around forty minutes by coach from Salisbury station and in the endless fields of the North Dorset countryside. A magical, expansive woodland area can be found on the festival site itself, with an endless number of activities to keep you occupied well into the night. On top of that, this is the safest you will feel at a festival; everyone is here to have a good time and get along – a truly family-feel atmosphere.
And of course, there is the cider bus. Just don’t go there on an empty stomach; bad things happen.