Review: Strummer of Love (17-19/08/2012)

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Located near Taunton in Somerset the wonderful Strummer of Love Festival took place this August. I head over from my home in Devon hoping to catch some brilliant music and experience the great festival atmosphere. That’s exactly what I gained from the experience. It was far from the hectic mosh pits of Reading and Leeds Festival, more of a relaxing, family-friendly day out. This one off festival took place in honour of The Clash’s legendary front man Joe Strummer who died 10 years ago. The whole festival is themed around The Clash, for example you can satisfy your drinking needs in the ‘Casbah’ before heading over to the ‘Clash City Rockers’ stage to watch some music. As it says on the website is is a ‘meeting of minds, a gathering of souls, a celebration of a legacy and a benefit for Stummerville’. Strummerville is the Joe Strummer foundation for new music, established in 2002, shortly after his death. The foundation gives oppurtunities to people through music. For example by helping out with funds for up and coming musicians. The whole line-up is made up of people who have been influenced by Strummerville in some way or another which makes the whole occasion even more special. For more information check out the Strummerville website.

Frank Turner

The first act of the weekend was the wonderful ‘Wessex Boy’ Frank Turner. Despite the small crowd at 1pm on the Friday afternoon I was completely and utterly blown away by his performance. He performed without a band, simply him and a guitar. It was absolutely incredible. Personally I haven’t spent an awful lot of time listening to his music prior to the performance so I was taken by surprise at how great a performer he is! He has said he thrives from large numbers in a crowd but he put 110% into this festival performance. What made me more impressed with Frank was that he came to greet each and every fan that waited around for him after his set. Signing countless autographs and taking a million and one photos. Genuinely very very impressed.

Man Like Me

The next act I managed to catch were the bonkers Man Like Me. Their performance is definitely up there with one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. Man Like Me (aka Johnny Langer and Peter Duffy) are a North London based breath of fresh air. The band show vibes that wouldn’t be out of place in The Streets, this is no coincidence as their new record is being produced by Mike Skinner and his label The Beats. Johnny’s stage antics are completely hilarious. In one show he ended up on top, underneath and around the sides of the stage (a security guards nightmare!), oh, he was also topless! The bit that clinched it for me was when the whole band (including a brass section and a vibrantly dressed vocalist) cracked out a boy band-esque dance routine to their song ‘London Town VIP‘. I was in awe. Those of you who are unfamiliar with the duo will instantly recognise their appearance in that IKEA advert. Put it this way, you will always find them in the kitchen at parties

Bastille

My friday afternoon was filled with an odd band called Sonic Boom Six. They were one of those acts that I’d heard of but never heard. They weren’t all that impressive. I watched a few songs then headed over to the ‘John Appleseed Tent’ to watch Josh Kumra. With a crowd consisting of about 7 people he did a cracking job in keeping up spirits. I managed to catch the end of Reverend and The Makers. Frontman John McClure looked and sounded like he’d just rocked up from the local pub with his nothern twang and foul language. He apologised to those families in the audience with young kids for his effs and blinds and that ended Friday.

I went back on the Saturday to see one band in particular, that band being Bastille. It was the first time I had seen them live and they met and exceeded every single one of my expectations. The way the four of them work so synonymously made for a very enjoyable live music experience for everyone there. From the faster paced ‘Pompeii’ right down to their unique cover of ‘What Would You Do’ the set was awesome from start to finish. This was a perfect lead into meeting the band and asking them all about their musical journey so far. I caught a glimpse of King Charles and then went home after a wonderful weekend in Somerset.

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About Author

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I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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