Wednesday, 4 November 2009

757 JOHN PEEL DAY, Swindon Wharf Green, Saturday 11 October 2008

Rachel will probably never forgive me for wanting to buy a paper while on holiday in Sharm-Al-Sheikh, Egypt, in October 2004. It was there and then that I found out John Peel, DJ, icon and champion of new music of all styles (and a man I'd passed by on a number of occasions at Reading Festivals down the years without, stupidly in hindsight, simply saying "hello" and "thanks") had died. I'll always remember that moment.

Thankfully, his memory lives on in "John Peel Day", a nationwide series of events, concerts and gigs showcasing new and predominantly unsigned bands, just like the great man had always done. Stuart and Steve, the guys behind Frequency magazine and both old friends, had a hand in putting together the Swindon event at the new leisure space in town, Wharf Green, and old Level 3 compatriot Richard Craven was doing the sounds in his DJ Mark E Moon incarnation, so the least I could do was pop along with the family!

So we got there midday on an unseasonably hot October Saturday, just missing openers 2 Sick Monkeys. Ran into Steve who advised the bill had changed somewhat, so next up weren't The Minnesota Twins (whom I only wanted to see as they're named after a baseball team!), but young upstarts Energy Without The Sun, who played a well-constructed set of thoughtful and energetic indie-pop. Shades of Death Cab For Cutie in some of the earlier numbers, but a lot of originality, fire and potential. We also checked out the Mega City 4-shirted soloist Simon Hall, who true to his roots rolled out a cover of their finest moment "Miles Apart", but beyond that played a strident and impassioned set strongly reminiscent of Dashboard Confessional.

I was up for staying for more, but we were hitting 3 pm, Logan needed milk and a nap, and a still-recovering-from-flu Rachel needed a rest, so we headed off at this point, glad at least to have done our duty by local music and by the great John Peel.

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