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Gig: By The Sea

My second time to Margate's little weekend festival, and this year I chose to go to the whole thing, not just the one day.

The cutely named, Tokyo Team Room opened up in a new arena area. Being on first they didn't have much of a crowd to work with but their music was pretty good. Last year NZCA Lines went on first and they've done incredibly well since. Time will tell whether the same will happen here.

The music line ups alternated between the 2 rooms with no overlap, which worked well so I dashed from seeing the Tea Room over to the roller disco for The Big Moon. This quartet were great with a great punky sound and lots of energy in their music. Apparently they were at Blue Dot and I missed them, so it was great to discover them here. This was my pick for day 1, a nice surprise given the other bands that were playing that day.

Bill Ryder-Jones wasn't my thing and I left after the first song.

The fair is free to all the people at the festival, which was great. Not so great was that the scenic railway was closed this year. Boo!

Meilyr Jones was a bizarre act. I remember the set more for the energy he was putting into his performance more than the music.

At one point Meilyr fell kicked his leg backwards and his shoe flew off hitting the drummer who remained professional and kept playing with the projectile resting on his lap for the remainder of the song.

Wild Beasts were not what I expected. From their album cover I thought they'd be some 80's chip tune act but they were a middle of the road rock band with a sound that can be best described as "safe"

Mystery Jets were an odd ensemble of musicians. One of the guitarists looked like he'd spent the day fly fishing, another looked like he spent a lot of time spraying conditioner on his hair, and it looked like one of the band's dad was at the side of the stage singing along. But the music was good.

The headline act for day 1 was the Super Furry Animals who were great. I wasn't aware of their music at all, but knew of them. What we got was a very welsh power ranger leading a very solid band. Their encore was particularly special as they came back out as furry animals!

I left at this point foregoing Jagwar Ma and Hot Chip's Joe Goddard's DJ set.

Day 2 and I went over to a smaller venue (a museum of some sort) for a little acoustic gathering. The room only fitted a couple of dozen so very intimate indeed.

Serafina Steer did some sort of interpretive piece based on a woman's perspective of Homer's "Odyssey". She lost me.

Barbarossa (it means red beard, and isn't to be confused with Barbara) was better but it could have been an act he busked with for all I know (and that's not much). His songwriting is good though.

Favourite act of this lot was the self-titled Emmy the Great. A charismatic singer who won the crowd over.

Slow Club were up next. They took a long time to set up and then bickered a bit when some feedback interrupted one of their songs, not helped by the guy not wanting to deal with it. He had complained about not feeling well and I guess he brought that to the performance. Again the songs were quite good.

Hot Chip's Alexis was on next but as the schedule was running late I chose to head over to the park for the main event.

Jarvis Cocker was DJing the dodgems with lots of driving related music. He was very good at this with lots of microphone banter and a fun, if eclectic playlist.

Radidas must be a new band being up first. The lead singer guy spent too much time looking away from the admittedly empty crowd. The drummer was great.

Meatraffle were weird.

Bat for Lashes were pretty good. Not really my thing but I stayed the set. Natasha was decked in a red wedding veil fitting the theme of the latest album, Bride, which provided most of the material for the set. They did play "What's a Girl to do", which I do like.

By far the best act of the weekend was Scottish composer Anna Meredith who played an epic set from her album Vandits. Anyone who has invested the time into listening to her track Nautilus will understand how epic she can sound live. The fact that I was at the front with a strobe firing into my eyes made the experience much more crazy.

She apologised for playing a smaller set and mentioned she'd be at the Scala in November. As soon as I got back to the hotel I booked a ticket then tweeted her that I'd done so. I'm officially a fan!

The headline for day 2 was Wolf Alice. The singer is great and has a lot of talent, but the two twats either side of her looked to be trying too hard to perform and out do each other. She'd be better going it alone. 

So another great weekend and like Blue Dot I can see this being a nice little festival that I'll make a regular thing.

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