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GAMES FOR MAY FESTIVAL

‘Games for May’ Festival, Londra 24 Maggio 2015

di Giampiero Fleba

 

La luce di una mezza luna risplende nel cielo londinese per un festival ad ampiezza psichedelica anche nell’evocare i primi esperimenti targati UFO – Blackhill Enterprises (con il concerto dei Pink Floyd al Queen Elizabeth Hall il 12 half moonMaggio 1967) e riproporre i ‘Games for May’ 38 anni dopo al Half Moon di Putney. Promotori dell’evento: Fruits de Mer Records e Mega Dodo, etichette sorelle tra le più attive nel nuovo panorama underground planetario grazie anche ad un lavoro molto originale nelle realizzazioni artistiche e nel promuovere i musicisti. La Fruits de Mer di Keith Jones è cresciuta nel giro di un decennio specializzando il proprio stato di piccola indipendente con rigore vinilico (spesso colorato) tra edizioni limitate (un centinaio ad oggi), favolosi artworks, gruppi da ogni parte del mondo (con prevalenza UK), canali di distribuzione fidati e un club members attraverso cui offrire stampe esclusive (connesse con alcune uscite ufficiali). A tutto questo si aggiunge una recente gamesformayattività di supporto dei gruppi nell’organizzare i festival Crabstock ed altri concerti, belle realtà itineranti con annessi souvenir. Mega Dodo viene fondata nel 2012 da John Blaney, giornalista, collezionista, scrittore (tra gli altri di ‘A Howlin’ Wind: Pub Rock and the Birth of New Wave’ più diversi saggi critici sui Beatles) fino al convergere ispirativo con Fruits de Mer anche nel condividere gruppi ed un’interessante panoramica di questa interazione è il cartellone del Games for May festival con Past Tense, Mark and the Clouds, The Honey Pot, Schnauser, Tír na nÓg. Incluso nell’ingresso una fantastica goodie bag contenente 9 CD ed un vinile 7″EP con cinque canzoni esclusive dei gruppi partecipanti.

L’apertura del festival è affidata ai Past Tense, quartetto del Surrey (est londinese) autori di una pasttensemanciata tra singoli e CD a partire da ‘Take Three’ (2012) su Paisley Archive, propaggine Detour Records e base appropriata per i riverberi mod-garage-psych (via Who-Creation-Jam) poi sviluppati in autoproduzione fino al recentissimo ‘Heads Held High’ (PTR, 2015). Il palco dell’Half Moon diventa subito zona esotermica innescata da due chitarre e ritmiche incessanti in dinamiche power pop da cui cogliere anche il contributo dei Past Tense all’universo Fruits de Mer con ‘Shattered’ e ‘Soul Fiction’ (dalle compilations ‘Keep off the Grass’ e ‘Postcard from the Deep’) preziose rievocazioni fuzz-freakbeat di singoli perduti realizzati dai californiani Good Feelings e dai pasttensealbumsudafricani Hippies nel 1967-68. Calore ricambiato dal pubblico lungo 60 intensi minuti anche quando sfilano gli originali da ‘Vision (from another world)’ a ‘Wolfman’ e ‘No No Blues’, quasi l’annuncio di una nuova possibile ondata Mod in arrivo per ‘declinare il passato’ e attualizzarlo con spirito mod(ernista). I Past Tense sono: Andy (guitar, vocals), Ken (bass, vocals, keys), Nuts (drums), Buzz (guitar, keys, vocals). A sorpresa nella goodie bag un cd inedito dei Pipe formazione pre-Past Tense, il tempo di godere per questa chicca che movimenti sul palco annunciano la prossima band…

Mark and the Clouds sono la nuova avventura di Marco Magnani chitarrista e compositore attivo nellamark ’80s (e 90s) Colours’ italiana con gli Avvoltoi e poi residente londinese lungo i 2000 con gli Instant Flight gruppo culto di una neopsychedelia visionaria culminata nel 2013 con il terzo lavoro ‘Around the Gates of Morning’, adiacenza alchemica da cui ripartire con vecchi e nuovi compagni di viaggio in formazioni flessibili specialmente dal vivo. I Mark and the Clouds insieme a Marco al Games for May hanno tutti un passato Instant Flight e sono Charlie Bennett (Keyboards), John O’Sullivan (Bass & backing vocals) e Shin Okajima (Drums), presenze anche nel bellissimo debutto ‘Blue Sky Opening’ (Mega Dodo, markcopertina2014 ) che viene riproposto quasi interamente. L’esperienza di questi musicisti diventa un caleidoscopio sonico dal vivo e l’album fluisce dal palco con rinnovata intensità e fragore pop grazie anche alla scrittura raffinata di canzoni come ‘The Grudge’ e ‘You Call Me Brother’ (Robyn Hitchcock vs Exile on Main Street) declamate da dialoghi chitarra – tastiere oppure nei vortici 60s di ‘Goddess of Desire’ e ‘London Fire’. Al finale esplosivo di ‘Music Disease’, dove entrano i fiati dei fratelli Tom e Joe Hammond (tromba + trombone), scoccano due ore di festival e non siamo nemmeno a metà.

Arrivano i dj Marrs Bonfire e Julian Smith (batterista dei Cranium Pie, altra fab band su Fruits de Mer) per un break psicotropico a mixare King’s Road e Haight Ashbury, degno preambolo in attesa della terza band…

The Honey Pot si formano nei primi ’10 da un collettivo di musicisti guidati dal chitarrista Icarus Peel (storia honeypotartistica dalla Londra pre-punk) nel laboratorio del possibile per reinventarsi formule folk – blues ad effetto space rock. Una struttura dimensionale avviata da ‘To The Edge Of The World’ (CD, Psychedandy, 2012), proseguita con ‘Honey’ (2×7″EP, Fruits de Mer, 2014) e condivisa con Crystal Jaqueline, voce degli Honey Pot, anche nei suoi lavori solisti tra cui il nuovissimo ‘Rainflower’ (Mega Dodo, 2015 ). Quattro anni di alternanza per un cospicuo repertorio da cui suonare un’ora-luce di viaggio cosmico insieme a John Wyatt (keyboards), Wayne Fraquet (drums) e Simon Fear (bass). honey potepUn’esplorazione armonizzata dalla splendida voce di Crystal negli omaggi incantati di ‘White Rabbit’ (Jefferson Airplane), ‘Egyptian Tomb’ (Mighty Baby) e ‘Tick Tock’ (Fleur De Lys) così come negli originali turbinanti chitarra-tastiere a togliere gravità e lasciare fluttuare ‘To the Edge of the World’, ‘Paper Graden’, ‘A Fairy Tale’. Lentamente ritornano i pesi appena in tempo per vedere i cinque Honey Pot in un saluto riconoscente che svaniscono tra gli applausi lasciando sul palco un vaso di miele, feed your head!

Nuovo break, nuova magia in arrivo da Bristol…

Schanuser si presentano: Alan Strawbridge (guitar, vocals) schnauserDuncan Gammon (keyboards, vocals), Holly McIntosh (bass), Jasper Williams (drums), Dino Christodoulou (sax). Bello ritrovare il chitarrista mancino Alan Strawbridge già apprezzato nei tre albums dei Lucky Bishops fine 90s – metà 2000 seppure come polistrumentista e ora scoprirlo solista raffinato a imbracciare con energia una Danelectro vintage 12 corde. Con i nuovi compagni forma Schnauser nel 2005 pubblicando 3 albums più altri 2 di demo e outtakes tra autoproduzioni e varie etichette di cui l’ultimo ‘Protein for Everyone’ (Esoteric Antenna) nei titoli top del 2014. Armonie complesse e un sincero desiderio di scrivere canzoni pop orecchiabili, ulteriore contributo ad una scena odierna in espansione per attualizzare il Canterbury sound di gruppi come Soft Machine, Caravan, i Gong di Daevid Allen, Hatfield and the North. Il suono totale senza confini schnausealbumdegli Schanuser  è ben rappresentato da ‘Herne Bay’, singolo pubblicato per Fruits de Mer con cover di ‘As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still’ (Soft Machine ‘Volume Two’) e ‘Astral Traveller’ (gemma del secondo Yes ‘Time and a Word’ con la coppia ex-Syn, Chris Squire – Peter Banks), offerto al culmine del loro set. E’ davvero uno spettacolo vederli live, essere avvolti dalla loro energia e percepire una sintonia incredibile condita da british humor e dalle delizie stumentali – vocali di ‘Protein for Everyone’ eseguito quasi per intero fino all’annuncio shock: ‘Ed ora l’ultimo pezzo…’ disappunto in sala ‘…non vi preoccupate dura mezzora!’. Parte ‘Disposable Outcomes’ e lo spazio si curva in un warmhole che lascia intravedere nuovi mondi e varchi nel tempo in cui regnavano i giganti.

Ma non è ancora finita per i sensi ed il palco dell’Half Moon si prepara ad offrire l’ultima magia, da Dublino…

Chi ha abbastanza anni ed ha avuto anche la fortuna di vedere i Jethro Tull nel 1971 in una delle tre date tirnanogitaliane del tour mondiale per presentare ‘Aqualung’, si ricorderà senz’altro il duo irlandese Tír na nÓg scelti per aprire i concerti e sorprendere con atmosfere hippie-folk (tra Incredible String Band e Pentangle) che annunciavano il loro primo omonimo album, oggi nelle correnti acid folk e principio di un piccolo tesoro discografico che si estende nel ritorno alle stampe dopo 40 anni con il 7″EP ‘I have Known Love’ (Fruits de Mer, 2014) ed il nuovo album ‘The Dark Dance’ (Tír na nÓg Records, 2015). E così l’ultima magia nel crepuscolo del Games for May festival si compie quando Sonny Condell e Leo O’Kelly liberano lucciole di arpeggi acustici a volteggiare nei nostri cuori e rigenerare le menti sovraccariche di elettricità. Quanta bellezza nell’ascoltare il passato in canzoni tirnanogalbumcome ‘Time is Like a Promise’ o una fantastica cover di ‘Free Ride’(Nick Drake) ma è il presente dei Tír na nÓg a rivelare nuove invenzioni come ‘The Angelus’ e ‘You in Yellow’, apprezzarne l’esecuzione live da corde e leggere percussioni tra soffici tremoli e glissando, percepire penombre e atmosfere rarefatte che assumono toni estatici quando ‘Sympathetic Love’ accoglie la psichedelia westcoastiana (di Arthur Lee e congeniale Love) librandosi in delicate lisergie.

 

flyerChe finale per il Games for May festival! E uscendo dall’Half Moon dopo 6 ore di grandissima musica c’è una sola parola che riesco a pensare: indimenticabile!

Una risposta a “GAMES FOR MAY FESTIVAL”

  1. English translation…

    GAMES FOR MAY Festival, London 24 May 2015

    The light of an half moon shines in the London sky for a festival of psychedelic amplitude also recalling the first experiments UFO – Blackhill Enterprises (with the Pink Floyd concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall May 12, 1967) and revive the ‘Games for May’ 38 years later at the Half Moon in Putney.
    Promoters of the event: Fruits de Mer Records and Mega Dodo, sisters labels among the most active in the planetary new underground scene thanks to a very original work in the artistic achievements and to promote musicians.
    Keith Jones’s Fruits de Mer has grown within a decade, specializing its state of small independent with vinyl rigor (often colored) in limited editions (one hundred to date), fabulous artworks, groups from all over the world (with prevalence UK), trustworthy distribution channels and a club members through which to offer exclusive issues (connected with some official releases). All this is joined to an activity of support to the groups organizing the Crabstock festival and other concerts, beautiful traveling realities with neighbouring souvenirs.
    Mega Dodo was founded in 2012 by John Blaney, journalist, collector, writer (among others of ‘A Howlin’ Wind: Pub Rock and the Birth of New Wave’ and various critical essays on the Beatles) up to the inspiring convergence with Fruits de Mer also by sharing musicians and an interesting overview of this interaction is the program of the Games for May festival with Past Tense, Mark and the Clouds, The Honey Pot, Schnauser, Tír na nÓg. Included with the ticket a fantastic goodie bag containing 9 CD and a vinyl 7″EP with exclusive songs by participants.

    The opening of the festival is entrusted to the Past Tense, quartet from Surrey (East London), authors of an handful of CDs and singles starting from ‘Take Three’ (2012) on the Detour Records offshoot label Paisley Archive and suitable basis for the mod-garage-psych reverberations (Who-Creation-Jam) then developed in self-production until the very recent ‘Heads Held High’ (PTR, 2015). The stage at the Half Moon immediately becomes exothermic area triggered by two guitars and relentless rhythmics in power pop dynamics from which we pick the contribution of the Past Tense to the Fruits de Mer universe with ‘Shattered’ and ‘Soul Fiction’ (from the compilations’ Keep off the Grass’ and ‘Postcard from the Deep’) precious fuzz-freakbeat echoes from lost singles made by Californian Good Feelings and South African Hippies in 1967-68. Heat reciprocated by the audience along 60 intense minutes even when the originals parade, from ‘Vision (from another world)’ to ‘Wolfman’ and ‘No No Blues’ almost the announcement of a new possible Mod wave coming to ‘decline the past’ and actualize with Mod(ernist) spirit. The Past Tense are: Andy (guitar, vocals), Ken (bass, vocals, keys), Nuts (drums), Buzz (guitar, keys, vocals). Surprise in the goodie bag a CD of unreleased pre-Past Tense band Pipe, the time to enjoy this gem that movements on stage announcing the next band…

    Mark and the Clouds are the new adventure of Marco Magnani guitarist and composer active in the Italian ’80s (and 90s) Colours’ with Avvoltoi and then London resident along the 2000 with Instant Flight cult band of a visionary neopsychedelia culminated in 2013 with the third work ‘Around the Gates of Morning’, alchemical adjacency from which start again with old and new companions in flexible lineups especially live. The Mark and the Clouds with Marco at the Games for May all have an Instant Flight past and they are: Charlie Bennett (Keyboards), John O’Sullivan (Bass & backing vocals) and Shin Okajima (Drums), also presences in the beautiful debut ‘Blue Sky Opening'(Mega Dodo, 2014) that is proposed almost entirely. The experience of these musicians becomes a sonic kaleidoscope, and the album flows from the stage with renewed intensity and roaring pop thanks to the fine writing of songs like ‘The Grudge’ and ‘You Call Me Brother’ (Robyn Hitchcock vs Exile on Main Street) generated by guitar – keyboards dialogues or in the 60s vortices ‘Goddess of Desire’ and ‘London Fire’. At the explosive finale of ‘Music Disease’, when join the horns of Tom and Joe Hammond (trumpet + trombone), we are at two hours of the festival and not even halfway.

    Here come the DJ Marrs Bonfire and Julian Smith (drummer of Cranium Pie, another Fruits de Mer fab band) for a psychotropic break mixing King’s Road and Haight Ashbury, worthy preamble awaiting the third band…

    The Honey Pot are founded in the early ’10 by a collective of musicians led by guitarist Icarus Peel (artistic history from the London pre-punk) in the laboratory of possible to reinvent folk – blues formulas with space rock effect. A dimensional structure triggered by ‘To The Edge Of The World’ (CD, Psychedandy, 2012), continued with ‘Honey’ (2 × 7 “EP, Fruits de Mer, 2014) and shared with Crystal Jaqueline, voice of the Honey Pot, also in his solo work including the brand new ‘Rainflower’ (Mega Dodo, 2015). Four years of alternating for a large repertoire from which play an hour-light of cosmic journey with John Wyatt (keyboards), Wayne Fraquet (drums) and Simon Fear (bass). An exploration harmonized by the wonderful voice of Crystal in enchanted tributes like ‘White Rabbit’ (Jefferson Airplane), ‘Egyptian Tomb’ (Mighty Baby) and ‘Tick Tock’ (Fleur de Lys) as well as in the originals swirling guitar-keyboards to remove gravity and let to float ‘To the Edge of the World’, ‘Paper Garden’ and ‘A Fairy Tale’. Slowly return the weights just in time to see the five Honey Pot in a greeting grateful that vanish amid applause, leaving on the stage a pot of honey, feed your head!

    New breaks, new magic coming from Bristol …

    Schanuser present themselves: Alan Strawbridge (guitar, vocals) Duncan Gammon (keyboards, vocals), Holly McIntosh (bass), Jasper Williams (drums), Dino Christodoulou (sax). Fine to find the left-handed guitarist Alan Strawbridge already appreciated in the three albums of Lucky Bishops late 90s – mid 2000, albeit as a multi-instrumentalist and now find him out refined lead guitar to play with energy a vintage Danelectro 12-string. With his new companions found Schnauser in 2005 releasing 3 albums plus other 2 of demos and outtakes between self-production and various labels of which the last ‘Protein for Everyone’ (Esoteric Antenna) in the top titles of 2014. Complex harmonies and a sincere desire to write catchy pop songs, further contribution to a current scene in expansion to actualize the Canterbury sound of bands like Soft Machine, Caravan, the Gong of Daevid Allen, Hatfield and the North. The total sound without boundaries of Schanuser is well represented by ‘Herne Bay’, single released for Fruits de Mer with the cover of ‘As Long As He Lies Perfectly Still’ (Soft Machine ‘Volume Two’) and ‘Astral Traveller’ (gem from the second Yes ‘Time and a Word’ with ex-Syn, Chris Squire – Peter Banks), offered at the height of their live set. It’s truly a sight to see them live, be embraced from their energy and perceive an amazing tuning seasoned with British humor and instrumental – vocal delights of ‘Protein for Everyone’ performed almost entirely until the shock announcement: ‘And now the last song…’ disappointment in the hall ‘…do not worry lasts half an hour!’. ‘Disposable Outcomes’ starts and the space is curved in a warmhole that reveals new worlds and passages to a time when giants ruled.

    But it’s not yet over for the senses and the Half Moon stage prepares to offer the last magic, from Dublin…

    Who has enough years old and also had the good luck to see Jethro Tull in 1971 for one of the three Italian dates of the world tour to present ‘Aqualung’, certainly will remember the Irish duo Tír na nÓg chosen to open the concerts and to astonish with hippie-folk atmospheres (between Incredible String Band and Pentangle) announcing their first self-titled album, today in the current of acid folk and the principle of a small discographic treasure that extends after 40 years with the 7″EP ‘I Have Known Love'(Fruits de Mer, 2014) and the new album ‘The Dark Dance’ (Tír na nÓg Records, 2015). And so, in the twilight of the Games for May festival, the last magic coming true when Sonny Condell and Leo O’Kelly free some fireflies of acoustic arpeggios to twirl in our hearts and to regenerate our minds overloaded by electricity.
    How much beauty in listening to the past of songs like ‘Time is not a Promise’ or a fantastic cover of ‘Free Ride’ (Nick Drake), but is the present of Tír na nÓg to disclose new inventions such as’ The Angelus’ and ‘You in Yellow ‘, to appreciate the live performance by strings and light percussions between soft tremolos and glissando, to perceive penumbras and rarefied atmospheres that rises ecstatic tones when ‘Sympathetic Love’ embraces the west coast psychedelia (by Arthur Lee and ‘sympathetic’ Love) hovering in delicate visions.

    What a final for the Games for May festival! And coming out of the Half Moon after 6 hours of great music there is only one word that I can think of: unforgettable!

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