Review: Little Festival Of Live Music, day two

Hard to describe… Surf Sluts
30 Sep 2013 @ 5.17 pm
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Hard to describe… Surf Sluts
Hard to describe… Surf Sluts
Review: Little Festival Of Live Music
Venue: Parliament Street, York, September 27

The second day of York’s Little Festival of Live Music, raising money for IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services), was another showcase of interesting, to say the least, local acts, across the musical spectrum.

With possibly the most apt performance of the food and drink festival, “old time vegetable string band” King Courgette opened the evening as the stalls began to close but the crowd began to swell.

The three-piece’s infectious, amusing country blues that commonly revolve around food were welcomed by a well-sunned audience as the Fountain Marquee’s crowd found time for the well-oiled banjo-driven rock & roll that King Courgette deliver.

The lack of two more “Courgette family” members at this particular show was not an obvious hindrance to their performance, with the three present swapping instruments and closing with their theme tune, an impressive violin-vocal combination.

Their ability to maintain a tight, thoroughly entertaining 40-minute set even without a full band makes King Courgette a live act to look out for.

They were followed by local singer-songwriter Karlos Senor, whose covers and original comic songs created an odd atmosphere in the tent.

The most entertaining parts of his set were his takes on old folk songs. His four-stringed guitar playing introduced a genuine quality to old ballads and gypsy traditionals.

At times, however, he seemed to lose the concentration of what seemed to be mainly a family crowd, with reasonably un-family-friendly covers of Guns And Roses and the Dropkick Murphys interspersing his own songs, which didn’t quite have the same charm as King Courgette.

He ultimately summed himself up in correcting someone’s labelling of him as a blues guitarist to a “blue guitarist” – an act which would no doubt go down perfectly in a pub, but not as well at 6pm at a family festival.

I would say I was most excited – not to say as fearful (merely because of the name) – about Surf Sluts. From their initial arrival onto the stage and soundcheck, I was intrigued.

After the strong instrumental opener, the lead singer trundled onto stage, pint-in-hand, to begin what was one of the most enjoyable first experiences of any band I’ve ever seen. The crowd continued to grow throughout the barrage of noise made by middle-aged men and a young saxophonist who could not help but win the crowd over with charm and the best songs that can be made with the syllables “oom”, “mow” and “ba”.

From this half-hour experience, I can only describe them like this. If two cars carrying various members of the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, and Madness collided in an alcohol-fuelled driving accident, and their undead members had risen, still drunk, and began to write and play songs together – that would be the Surf Sluts.

This band deserves cult status, and not only on the local scene.

To close the second evening of, overall, brilliant entertainment, Black Lit City took to the stage to wrap the audience warm after the frenzied heat of Surf Sluts had lifted.

Sadly their mediocre and clichéd acoustic pop-rock could not keep the audience in their seats, and the crowd began to disperse, having had reached a high with the Sluts.

Once again, money was raised for the good cause IDAS, fuelled by various manic musicians’ prompting charity donations, an activity to be encouraged.