Thursday, 8 May 2014

Sounds From the Other City 2014, Path Two

Double digits. SFTOC is 10. A coming of age? Never mind the sentiment, is the event any good? Each year has seen a development, a willingness to tinker with an arrangement that keep it fresh and vibrant, judging by the number of people in attendance.

At Islington Mill, Yiiikes TV are unveiling their version of Blind Date, with guests hoping to unlock the secrets of someone else’s “treasure chest”.

Bands are appearing in a nearby brewery, and a marquee has been erected outside The New Oxford. It forms a dual role of being the place where short films are having a new soundtrack created by local artists, whilst also being a communal meeting point and hub to move around.

On the basis that you need to try something to see if it’s any good, acoustics within The First Chop Brewery come across very well, at least in the case of four-piece Babe, whose intriguing mix of David McAlmont style vocals, warm electronic beats and relaxed style tempt an unfamiliar crowd to move along nicely.

If we are to be invaded by aliens then the future is bright. Not orange, but silver and perhaps white, going under the names of the Volkov Commanders. They’re a friendly bunch, ever willing to help you around and create fun, celebrating the vibrancy of the first festival and still as valid.

If you had merely heard Thomas Long singing rather than witness the person live, then the cracked, rich, deep vocals could conjure up an image of a mature, ageing person reflecting on the hardships and experiences he’s endured. Needless to say, that image is nothing like the person sat down in the New Oxford. There is a connection with the past in his lyrics, an acknowledgement of other people’s struggles. Full of emotion and passion, he slips in a line that suddenly drags reality into view: “This set is dedicated to Steve Lloyd”. Gone but not forgotten.

The event is a satisfying mix of known local acts alongside the lesser known. This means that local favourites such the Young British Artists turn the Old Pint Pot from a near-empty venue to one that is rammed, whilst attendance for other, unfamiliar acts still have a decent turnout.

Audio-visual goings on at St Philip’s Church join a host of acts that you wish you could fit into a crammed itinerary, but there’s always next year. Roll on May 2015.

Words and photos: Ged Camera

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