Monday, 14 July 2008

Indie Eyespy: Memories of Indietracks 2007!

As regular blog readers will know, we’ve had a whole host of ‘Tracks “experts” reminisce on their favourite experiences from past Indietracks events, including MJ Hibbett, Sam Metcalf of Tasty Fanzine, Kris from Heaven Is Above Your Head, Emma from Pocketbooks and Pete Green.

Next up, we hear from avid gig goer and all-round music obsessive Chris Gilmour, who writes the ever popular Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy music blog – a must read for indie-poppers everywhere! Read on to find out why Indietracks 2007 was such a memorable experience for him…..

Hi, my name's Chris I go to gigs in London and Glasgow, whilst awkwardly avoiding eye contact with people I've seen at other gigs, I scribble about them in a notebook for a website called Last Night From Glasgow Indie Eyespy. Indietracks summer '07 was the first 'tracks I went to...

Indietracks, Indietracks. I'd heard the name before, or read it online, on music messageboards. A one day gig/festival thing, something to do with trains. But summer '07 was different, it was bigger, two days, there was a vibe, there were rumours. Maybe it was just the same forum post I glanced at several times over several weeks, or I read the same thing in lots of places, but what I heard was that the chap organising it had become unstoppable in his quest to book bands.

Every band I'd heard of or read about was being snapped up to play at Indietracks. Dozens of them, maybe hundreds. Friends were going, acquaintances, people off of the internet, everyone was going. I didn't know where I was going to be, I was unemployed and homeless, but I knew I had to be there.

Thinking back, I can't remember, I had all my possessions in the back of my car, I was driving round motorways under blazing sunshine. Road signs said Alton Towers, but I said no, there were far more interesting delights and trains to be found. I'd glanced at a map on a website, something to do with having to get a train to the festival site. My car lay abandoned in a supermarket car park, my rucksack full of clothes and vodka, then there was this wee train station, with a real stream train, and one or two indiekids stood on the platform. They wore coloured clothes and had quirky hair, there were children running about too.

In one carriage of the train was a small drum kit, a gentleman accompanying a girl with a guitar and duck whistles. Hang on, I'd read about there being bands on the train, but this wasn't any band. I recognised the girl, I recognised the accent. I'd seen her play in Glasgow years before - Angelika, Teenage Girl Crush. And here she was, playing to me and a pair of indiekids in a steam train.

A four song set and we arrived at our destination, a dusty sunbleached station in the middle of the wilds with not a cloud in the sky, and there were people, all heading to the big diesel shed where something was happening, there was music. Not just any people, not like the usual cannon fodder zombies you get in the street - at Indietracks everyone is like a real, proper person. MJ Hibbett spotted me, I'd last seen him playing an acoustic show in a Glasgow tea room in 2006 and he gave a me a manly hug. A few yards away was Waz from The Gresham Flyers, I'd last seen him playing at The Pleasure Unit in Bethnal Green in 2004.

A queue was forming at the diesel shed, inside it was dark and cool, the folk in front in the queue I recognised from the iconic photos of the How Does It Feel club night. Inside were folk I'd seen in Glasgow the night before at the National Pop League. There were even folk there I didn't recognise, but they were probably from some band, or a fanzine, or that website, or just those guys who always go to that club.

I got really drunk. After it was dark, bands were still playing on the diesel shed stage or the church stage. Me and Robbie were wandering. There were still trains arriving and leaving the station, big steam trains, driven by enthusiasts, passengers not required. We got on anyway. I'd bought a secondhand train drivers jacket for a pound from the shop, and the driver of the train seemed happy enough for us to ride in the cab.

“Hey, who are we missing on stage?”
“You've seen them before.”
“It doesn't matter anyway, we're driving a steam train!”
“Choo! Chooooooooooooooo!”

Thanks Chris! We’ll be expecting to see you proudly wearing that £1 stationmaster’s jacket this year then!

Next up: Allo, Darlin talk about playing rooftop gigs, samba drums and why they’re re-inventing Dad Pop!

And don’t forget: Tonight (14 July) is the press launch of MJ Hibbett’s Exciting Life In Rock show. It’s at the Cross Kings in that London, and he’s supported by indiepop troubadour Pete Green (details).

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