Willowstone 2011


Willowstone 2011 - Shlomo

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ATL | 15:00 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011



Main Stage, 10pm Saturday


Tweet: Man + Mic + Box of Tricks = Fun


What happened?: A storming, at times funny, set of beat-boxing tricks from the World Loop-Station Champion.  This one man band toys with us, engages with us, and generally shows us a damn good time, building up tracks we know (‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’, ‘3 Is A Magic Number’, ‘Can I Kick It’), and those of his own, incorporating storytelling, p-taking, and his family in a show that’s nearer stand-up than straight musical performance.  His ability to produce and control sounds, and mastery of microphones and loops goes far beyond what someone in the crowd dismissed as “what you do when you can’t afford equipment”.  His ten minute set of loops and beats would shame quite a few DJs, and it’s no surprise when he gets called on to do an encore.


Shining Light:  Managing to get us all singing along to ‘Put Your Hands Up For Detroit’, somehow redeeming that song, albeit only temporarily.


Meltdown:  I need a shower now after that.  Possibly in bleach.  And we have to wait until October to see him again.


Rating: 9/10

Willowstone 2011 - Robyn G Shiels

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ATL | 14:40 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Main Stage 3.15pm


Tweet: G-whiz it’s Robyn, Shielding his eyes from the sun.


What happened?: “We’re going to play some nice songs for you.”  And so they did.  In what is a slightly strange setting for the often maudlin and melancholy tones of Mr Shiels, today accompanied by a band.  It’s so gentle, unhurried and unassuming that it can seem a bit thrown together, which distracts from the quality of song-writing.  The changing delicacy and quiet power recalls the likes of Bon Iver or quieter Devendra Banhart, in spirit, if not in practice, sparse, delicate song-writing brought to focus by the lack of accoutrements.  “Where Has All The Love Gone” is carried by piano, a late night whiskey song if ever there was one, and seemingly the place has got colder as a result.  Even the relatively up-tempo ‘All Hope Lay Dying’ isn’t exactly a happy song, and so the crowd are a bit nonplussed.


Shining Light: ‘Where Has All The Love Gone’ – hurry up and record this please, so we can enjoy it more.


Meltdown: Probably Robyn himself.  He’s bound to be suffering away from the dark, dank bars that are his spiritual home.  If he melted, we wouldn’t be surprised.


Rating: 7/10




Willowstone 2011 - Not Squares

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ATL | 14:36 UK time, Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Main Stage, 11:30pm Saturday


Tweet: Do be a Not Square Maaaan.


What happened?:  Given the unenviable task of following on from Shlomo, the headliners hurriedly assemble their gear to try and retain the dwindling crowd’s attention.  Opening with ‘Release The Bees’, they grab the attention of the hard-core party animals at the front, and the couple of wee lads who get on-stage with them (this is becoming the theme of festivals this summer – none is complete without some wee lads sneaking on stage attempting to steal the show), followed later on by as many of the rest of us as fancy it as they invite the crowd to join them. We’re even treated to what might be a couple of new tracks, ending their normal set with ‘Asylum’ before doing a well-needed encore as the stage-times go to hell.


Shining Light: They do have some absolutely cracking tunes (the aforementioned ‘Release The Bees’ and ‘Asylum’ in particular) and a curiously compelling stage presence for being 3 relatively static blokes who don’t do much in the way of banter.


Meltdown: It’s a small crowd, and the outdoor setting doesn’t help for an act probably best suited to dark, sweaty, enclosed spaces, and who are probably a little too niche to headline a festival, certainly at this stage.


Rating: 7/10

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