Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Today i woke up feeling very Zen, i knew it was going to be a great day. and it has been. as today i finally Passed my driving test. Its been a long time coming with setbacks and finances causing it to take me several years since my first lesson. but i did it. and i'm so happy and now i can move forward and get a car. Importantly though this takes me one step closer to a job that i have been vying for recently. a job that needs you to be able to drive.
Its all about taking that extra step closer.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Beginning

So this is the beginning. Its going to be slow, its going to be long, and its going to take some time before i know fully what i want to with this. But for a while now i've felt the need for some sort of outlet beyond the personal ramblings on the social networking circuit.
I start this at a time of limbo in my life. I work but not enough for my standards. I earn money but again not enough for anyones standards. I live life as best as i can. I reflect... too much.
As much as i try not to make this a personal space it will undoubtably become filled with my thoughts and reflections on life and the world. Hence why i've named it ThoughtFull because i am truly full of thoughts. oh and yes there will be bad wordplay at times also.

Enough introductions, lets make some content.

I'll start by talking about the most recent weekend in my life and possibly one of the greatest achievements for Northern Irish Music in 2009 (so far at least). Glasgowbury saw 4 stages, just shy of 50 homegrown talents, a sold out audience of 150,000 people and 12 hours of non-stop music. This was my first Glasgowbury, I learned about the festival in early 2008 and was impressed by the buzz surrounding it. When you mentioned it to musicians their eyes lit up with the thought of playing to a crowd of that size who were there purely for the music. There's a sense of prestige with being chosen to play. The selection of the music is left to the festival's creator Paddy Glasgow and its kind of known that if he doesn't like you, you don't play. However i must make it clear that with the sheer amount of bands that apply to play every year you may not make the cut even if he does like you. that just the way these things work.
I missed 2008's weekend unfortunately but resolved back then that i would not miss 2009. and after a year of anticipation it didn't disappoint.
There was a relaxed yet excited atmosphere the entire weekend. Everyone was there to enjoy themselves. Unlike the larger more corporate festivals Like Oxegen and Electric picnic where its fair to say a large proportion of the crowd are there just "for the craic" of spending a weekend drinking in a field, Glasgowbury is filled with dedicated fans who's aim is to see their favourite bands... and to spend the weekend drinking in a field. Its also filled with other bands who may not have made this years cut but still don't want to miss out on the fun.
Friday night and the campsite was electric. A spontaneous rave, for lack of a better word, in the middle of the site where people were just dancing and singing and there were a fair few drinks being passed around. There was no music, just the sound of several of belfast's Drummers pounding it out on a large blue barrel.
Omar From Tapasia playing the barrel.
There was also no sleep for most as the party went on to the wee hours.
and then we wake up saturday and the sun is beaming down over the surrounding mountains. the view is spectacular
The glorious view from atop our mountain
I don't get to see all the bands that I want to see. over the years i've learnt that no matter how much you plan you never see them all. at least not without spending the entire day running from tent to tent and never fully seeing a whole set. and i didn't want my time to be spent like that.

We started off with A Plastic Rose, one of my favourite bands on the local scene so i already knew that i was going to love their set. Although i wasn't anticipating just how much they would turn it on and tear up the stage, especially at such an early slot in the day. the atmosphere in the crowd was intense. They lap up every second of the boys on stage antics. Antics that took a slight change from the usual APR banter filled set and just focussed on playing the songs and playing them the best that they had ever been played. And of course it wouldn't be an APR set without a little technical difficulty in the form of Gerry's Guitar deciding not to play. With Stage diving and crowd surfing, and jumping and singing they've set a very high bar for the day.

A Plastic Rose - Its hard to jump about in wellies but the manage it.
The next band i see are the Good Fight. A band i've heard much about but never seen or heard before. i can see their appeal but having missed most of the set i still feel its too early for me to make a clear judgement, i will definitely be making the time to see them in the future. They were followed on the main stage by We Are Resistance, a band i actually hadn't heard of before. When Singer Donal Scullion started singing however i knew that this would be a band i'd keep an eye on. Of course many people know Donal From The Lowly Knights but Resistance take a large step aside from the folky sound of the knights. Once again we cannot see the whole set but i make a note to keep and eye for these guys again.
Furlo - The surprise of my day
Furlo was our next stop, again a band i had heard much of but not actually seen or heard the band themselves. and it was actually a neighbours of ours in the campsite who convinced us to go and go we did. and i'm very very glad we went. the music was upbeat, catchy, and although i couldn't make out the lyrics at the time the rest of the crowd were singing along fairly competently, this is a band with dedicated fans. I look to my friends who i brought with me for the weekend. many of them unfamiliar with most of NI's local music and they're all loving this band. and in an act that will always win me over the handing out of badges (of which we made sure we got one) and cd's (unfortunately missed out on one of those bad boys) they finished their impressive set and on we went to bide our time before the next band, Black Bear Saloon, took the stage. and it was 15 minutes into the BBS that i made my greatest mistake of the day. agreeing to go back to the campsite to find the companions that we had gotten separated from during the resistance set. However i was not to know that the heavens would open up and we would be trapped inside our tent for a good hour or so causing me to miss out on the large chunk of bands i wanted to see during this time. Colenso Parade, Silhouette, Junior Johnson, Skruff are acts that i have heard praised and i will regret missing out on them. We were able however to catch the end of a very loud mojoFURY set and the new songs that they had added.
This brings me to the last 3 bands of the day and i'm not going to go into detail about all 3 because it would just end up in a giddy mess of "ZOMG I LOVE THESE BANDS!!!!" and with that statement i've pretty much covered that sentiment. I will say that with In Case Of Fire, i've only seen them twice, both at festivals and both times they've been great. not normally music i would listen to but they definitely impress on stage and their album sounds great live.

In Case Of Fire - "Do these shirts look Pink?"
With General Fiasco, a band who i've seen many many.. many times, I never cease to be impressed by just how tight these guys are on stage. It also never ceases to amuse me how seemingly normal girls can turn into giggling screaming frantic fans as soon as they walk on stage. In fact i'm sure that some of the ringing in my ears is due to the girl behind screaming happy birthday to drummer Stephen Leacock through the entire set.
An Obviously Nervous Owen from General Fiasco
Finally AndSoIWatchYouFromAfar were just incredible as they always are. I'm not sure it was the best they've ever played, but then they've played so many amazing shows, at such a high standard, over the past year that easily could have been labelled the best performances of the year ,that its getting pretty hard to tell the great from the best. It was hard to imagine during the last few songs any other headliner closing the show. Remember it was meant to be Fighting With Wire who headlined. Unfortunate that FWW couldn't make it due to recording commitments but lucky for us to be left with such capable hands of the ASIWYFA boys.
Tony ASIWYFA in full rock star pose

Saturday Night ended with more parties, more rain and several hours for myself and a few others stranded under a Gazebo, which brings me to the end of this lengthy rundown of my first Glasgowbury. and my first official ThoughtFull Blog. Like i said before i'm not sure what i'm going to be doing with this so it will change. But hopefully it'll be a fun ride, if you bare with me.
Everyone takes the stage... some more clothed than others