Tag Archive | "Playgroup"

September Preview

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September Preview

Posted on 04 September 2012 by Dorian

This is the first of a new monthly feature where we preview the best music releases and events in the coming month. Items marked with an * are currently scheduled for review on the site.


Album of the month: Cat Power – Sun*

Chan Marshal returns with her first album of new material for six years. The sound has moved away from the soul-pop of The Greatest and has more in common with her 2003 release You Are Free. The album has a modern feel with a focus on studio production techniques and features guest appearances from  Iggy Pop and Judah Bauer. Out now.

Cat Power - Sun

Cat Power – Sun

3rd September

Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

Deerhoof – Breakup Song*

Jens Lekman – I Know What Love Isn’t

Various – Metronomy: Late Night Tales (Read our review)

10th September

The XX – Coexist

David Byrne & St.Vincent – Love This Giant

Calexico – Algiers*

Racehorses – Furniture*

The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – Throw It To The Universe

17th September

Grizzly Bear – Shields*

Jim Noir – Jimmy’s Show*

Dinosaur Jr – I Bet On Sky

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Meat & Bone*

Menomena – Moms

24th September

Efterklang – Piramidia*

Mark Eitzel – Don’t Be A Stranger*

Yoko One with Thurston moore and Kim Gordon – Yokokimthurston

Tim Burgess – Oh No I Love You

Gigs and tours

Tour of the month: Allo Darlin’

Allo Darlin’ play a string of dates this month with a set drawing strongly from their excellent recent album Europe:

  • 4 Sep Fleece, Bristol*
  • 5 Sep Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle
  • 6 Sep Queens Social Club, Sheffield
  • 7 Sep Deaf Institute, Manchester
  • 8 Sep Kazimier, Liverpool
  • 9 Sep Blackburn Art College, Blackburn  1.45PM SHOW / ALL AGES
  • 10 Sep Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
  • 12 Sep The Haunt, Brighton
  • 13 Sep King’s College, London
Allo Darlin'

Allo Darlin’

Former American Music Club singer Mark Eitzel plays just two gigs in the UK:

Sat 8th Sep – The Palmeira, Hove*

Sun 9th Sep – SXSC Festival 2012, the Railway Inn/The Attic, Winchester.

El-P – The ATP promoted hip-hop act plays a short UK tour:

  • London Scala on Wednesday 12th September
  • Brighton The Haunt on Thursday 13th September
  • Birmingham The Rainbow Warehouse on Saturday 15th September
  • Bristol The Fleece on Sunday 16th September
  • Manchester Academy 3 on Monday 17th September

Grandaddy – Tuesday 4th September, Sheperds Bush Empire London

Deer Tick – Wednesday 5th September, Scala London

Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard – Thursday 6th September, The Haunt Brighton

The XX – Monday 10th September, Sheperds Bush Empire London

Jens Lekman – Wednesday 19th September, The Ruby Lounge Manchester

Dexys – Saturday 22nd September, Colston Hall Bristol


The festival season is almost over, and with cancellations, abandonment’s and wash-outs it has not been a vintage year. However, there are still a couple of interesting festivals left that could prove the perfect end to the Summer.

Playgroup Festival, 213ts to 23rd September, Eridge Park – This festival has already moved once this year due to flooding on the beautiful Eridge Park site, so some late September sun would be welcome for the rescheduled dates. Expect fancy dress, games and an eclectic range of music – the theme this year is ‘Lost Toys’. http://www.playgroupfestival.com/

Playgroup Festival

Playgroup Festival

Festival No.6, 14th to 16th September, Portmeirion – A new face on the festival scene, Festival No.6 promises a interesting mix of live music, DJs, comedy and arts at the unique Welsh venue. Acts include Gruff Rhys, Field Music, King Creosote and the Wave Pictures, with New order, Primal Scream and Spiritualized headlining. http://www.festivalnumber6.com

Other stuff

Last Shop Standing, 10th September – Last Shop Standing is a film, released on DVD, that looks at the rise and fall of the record shop in the UK since 1960. Billy Bragg, Johnny Marr and Nerina Pallot contribute to a fascinating film that explores the role of the record shop and considers whether they will survive in the modern music climate. http://lastshopstanding.com/

Last Shop Standing

Last Shop Standing

To get your album/gig/tour/film/book/festival/t-shirt included in our monthly preview please send details to dorian@neonfiller.com.

By Dorian Rogers


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Playgroup Festival 2011

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Playgroup Festival 2011

Posted on 23 August 2011 by Dorian

In the beautiful countryside location of Eridge Park, near Tunbridge Wells, The Playgroup Festival entertained about 2000 people in its second year in existence. Unusually, for a music website, I’m not going to talk a lot about the bands and there will be very little reviewing of what occurred on the stages, I’ll try and sum up the (ahem) vibe of the festival instead.


The biggest plus point, and the real success story for the organisers, is just how into the spirit of the event the attendees were. The theme was woodland animals, and each ticket came with an accompanying animal suggestion, foxes, hares, badgers and the like. More than 50% (75% at times I’d estimate) of the people you saw had some sort of costume or facial decoration in fitting with the animal theme. This may be off-putting to people who don’t want to dress up, but there was never a sense that people out of costume weren’t invited to the party, and it made for a constantly interesting visual spectacle. In this way it put the End of the Road festival to shame, the theme there is very loose and for all that it is a wonderful event it does seem like people are reluctant to let go and have any fun.

Along with a variety of stages, tents and stalls at the event was a central hay bale arena. In this arena a variety of sporting contests were carried out pitting one animal group against another. One minute you might see a fox narrowly beating an owl in a backwards sack race, the next you could get involved in a badgers vs. hares tug-of-war.

Super Janet

The musical acts on show were not big names, and very few of the attendees would have been attracted by the names on the bill. What we were treated to was a consistently high quality of acts, and a very wide vareity of musical styles across the site. I don’t know the names of many of the acts I saw (the lack of an easily accessible programme being one of the festivals organisational issues) but the mixture of folk, hip-hop, ska, pop, electronica and more was enjoyable, unusual and I enjoyed the freedom to go where I wanted and see what was happening without being at the mercy of a schedule. Of the acts that I can name ska band Los Albertos deserve a mention for their rapturously received Friday night set, the sprightly folk of Early Ghost was a lovely discovery and Super Janet proved to be the best wedding band at the weirdest wedding you’ve ever been to.

OK, in order to move up the festival league tables Playgroup may need to look at bringing in a better known headline act in the future, but I would much rather they continued their policy of booking interesting high quality music rather than booking a b-rated “name” on the bill (a role Razorlight are performing at a number of small festivals this Summer).

The other entertainment available, from cinema to burlesque to cabaret and DJs was of a similarly high standard and fun to be had from stumbling into a tent and seeing what was on offer meant that the evenings never got boring despite the relatively small site.

I’ve taken a while to get round to writing this review and it has given me the opportunity to talk to a number of other Playgroup attendees and get their feedback on the festival. The great majority had a very good time and loved the informal (if slightly shambolic) atmosphere, and the overwhelming response is a thumbs up for the event.

Some common issues have come back; the early finish, the number of toilets and lack of showers, the crowded feel in the camping area, no access to cash and food stalls running out of food. Most of these are down to the size of the festival and the need to balance the budget when selling enough tickets and provide sufficient facilities. I also felt that the main stage could have been sectioned off in a separate area to give the site more sense of space and give the main acts more of a feeling of occasion.

However, a small festival has to work hard to get the right balance between the elements that make it fun and unique and the practicalities. Leaning too far towards the practical can ruin the mood, but staying too informal means that the festival can’t grow and develop. I hope that the festival returns next year with a sensible size increase, some new facilities and a few lessons learnt from this year. I also hope that the sense of fun and freedom that marked this year’s event is still evident.

At a time when so many uni-kit festivals are failing to make money, or being cancelled, it is great to discover a festival that offers a truly different experience. I’ll be back complete with a full body otter costume next year.

By Dorian Rogers


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Other festivals for 2011

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Other festivals for 2011

Posted on 25 June 2011 by Dorian

If you missed out on going to Glastonbury, or you did go and want more festival action, there are still plenty you can go to later in the Summer. Below are three of our favourites that offer up something a little bit different.

Playgroup Festival

Playgroup festival

The Playgroup Festival is only in its second year, but it already looks like becoming a regular part of the summer festival landscape. Taking its inspiration from The Secret garden Party and Bestival it aims to offer a unique experience where the overall atmosphere is just as important as who you might be watching on the stage.

One mistake a lot of small festivals make is trying to get recognisable names on a small budget and ending up with a load of formerly famous acts on the bill. That is fine if your idea iof a good time is watching Dodgy headline the main stage and then moving on to watch Miles Hunt from the Wonderstuff DJ in the dance tent. Playgroup take a different tack, picking a load of lesser known but high quality acts from a wide range of genres and creating a really interesting bill. Acts to look out for includes; The Apples, Early Ghost, Gypsy Hill, Kovak, Los Albertos and Quantic y su Combo Barbaro.

They say “Our events are theatrical without being theatre, musical without being just gigs, artistic without being exclusive, accessible without being bland, fun without being shudderingly ‘wacky’, and involve you, without ramming anything down your throat!”

Woodland animals are the theme this year, so be prepared to see people dressed as stags, hares and badgers to roaming the festival fields. The festival is at Eridge Park, halfway between London and Brighton, and buses to the event (complete with magicians on board) can be booked along with the tickets.




Indietracks does exactly what it says on the tin, it is an indie music festival at a vintage railway. It is this simple gimmick that makes this one of the most unique festivals of the year. Sure, if you don’t like indie pop then the addition off steam trains is unlikely to win you over, but if you do it is a great way to spend a few days.

The line-up this year is as strong as ever, bands to look out for includes; Edwyn Collins, Jonny, Chris T-T, Herman Dune, Milky Wimpshake, Hidden Cameras and The Bumblebees.

They say “Indietracks is a unique summer festival which combines heritage trains and indiepop music, and is located in the Derbyshire countryside. Guests are free to enjoy the regular facilities of the Midland Railway Butterley such as the steam train rides, farm and museum, and enjoy a range of new and established indiepop bands.”

The festival takes place at the Swanwick Junction site of the Midland Railway Butterley.

Read our review of the 2010 festival.


End of the Road

End Of The Road

End of the Road is the biggest of the festivals previewed here, but even at an increased 10,000 capacity it is still small enough to be able to escape from the crowds. The great strength of this festival is the consistent quality of music on show and the idyllic setting.

A focus of folky acts and Americana works perfectly in the beautiful gardens, but the organisers aren’t scared to through a few noisy rock acts into the mix. Bands to watch out for this year includes; Beirut, Mogwai, The Walkmen, Phosphorescent, tUnE-yArDs, The Leisure Society, Allo Darlin’ and Gordon Gano & The Ryans.

They say ” The idea with the End of the Road Festival was to organise an intimate festival with our favourite artists and to create a festival with a friendly and relaxed feel. The Larmer Tree Gardens (North Dorset/Wiltshire borders, UK) is the perfect venue to create this kind of atmosphere – where music-loving, open minded and chilled out people get together in the beautiful countryside whilst parrots and peacocks wander around!”

Read our review of the 2010 festival.


By Dorian Rogers


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