End of the Road is the sophisticated family camp-out where herds of Pitchfolk singer-songwriters roam wild and inventive alt-rockers scare the peacocks. Out in the woods there’s competitive croquet, grunge bingo and a hidden piano stage where the stars of the weekend play inaudible secret sets. Across the compact main site, meanwhile, a refined esoterica reigns.
The haunting Soccer Mommy is Juliana Hatfield meets Red House Painters. Gwenno twirls, sprite-like, through spectral synth-folk tunes sung in Welsh and Cornish. Julia Holter summons a folk sea-squall. The Low Anthem build cacophonies of sawed violin and clawed guitar, then play a surf-pop song about plankton.
There’s a distinct shortage of glittery students here, but End of the Road’s spirit of intimacy and adventure remains lustrous, perfectly encapsulated in Friday’s headliners. St Vincent takes the Woods stage in a red plastic minidress with a full band line-up, for a set of visceral synth-rock perfectly poised between art and accessibility. Even if it’s intended as a cold satire on traditional rock shows, with its minimal marionette choreography and prowling guitar roadie, it’s an inspired blast; Los Ageless could be ELO’s lost Bond theme, Cruel an AI Abba. Duck across to the Garden stage, though, and Jeff Tweedy is delighting the faithful with phenomenal acoustic outtakes from his Wilco, Uncle Tupelo and solo catalogue. It’s simplicity versus invention; both quintessentially End of the Road, both utterly magical. - [The Guardian]
Unique, laid back UK festival End of the Road happened August 30 - September 2 at the lush, vegetal Larmer Tree Gardens, featuring sets from Vampire Weekend, St. Vincent, Feist, Yo La Tengo (who played NYC at Octfest this weekend), Ezra Furman, Jeff Tweedy, John Cale, Oh Sees, Gruff Rhys, Fat White Family, Julia Holter, Destroyer, Tirzah, Stealing Sheep, Gwenno, and lots more. You can get a sense of End of the Road's special vibe in the photo gallery above.
End of the Road 2019 happens August 29 - September 1.