The Mute Short Circuit festival - a Side-Line Twitter impression (Day 1)Posted on 19/05/11
In this 2-part article series (part 2 can be found here) our chief editor Bernard Van Isacker describes his trip to the Mute 2 Days at the Short Circuit festival - which took place in London last week, May 13 and 14 - based on the tweets he sent out just before, during and right after the festival. You'll notice that it's quite different to what a regular festival review is like. We hope you like it! (All pictures by Petra Rönnholm & Bernard Van Isacker)
It's 3:45 o' clock in the morning when I take off to Brussels to catch the 6:59 AM Eurostar direction London. Living at the other end of Belgium, it's a journey of 2 hours and a half to get there in time for the checkin. The night before I slept 4 hours, it wouldn't get any better after that night. Anyhow, I have my iPad and at least for the next few hours I'll know what to do.
The moment has come to launch the Twitter reporting using the '#mutesc' hashtag. It's been a few months that we want to test out if Twitter can actually be useful for live reporting. And what better event to test this out than during this one where many eyes and ears will be waiting to read, see and hear what is going on. As a result of my first tweet, the first PM's arrive if I can't fix any free tickets for the weekend. No, I can't. I paid mine as well.
The Norwegian league of gentlemen
When I arrive in London it's 8:00 AM local time and I get in touch with the Norwegian league of gentlemen which has arrived one day earlier and which seemingly has already been sightseeing the pubs around Soho. One of them is JanRonald Stange, who I have met up with various times already. The guy is huge (over 1,90 meter) - just look at the pic below, I'm the one in white - and he's been one of those Facebook contacts who has grown into a friend, plus, we share the same musical taste, more or less that is. We meet at Tottenham Court Road and have a coffee at Starbucks before leaving into town for some music shopping. I return with some Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus and Antonny & The Johnsons while the others have set their mind on coffee, which I find out once I leave the shop. They had been standing there a while waiting for me. Ooops.
After a quick coffee, I wave goodbye and head for Picadilly Circus to catch up with a London contact, Catherine Nathalie Delaloye (musician, writer, model and upcoming actress, you can see her in the film Sardines in a can which has been shot by Daniella Daemy and is due out later this year). We talk music business, have lunch and part ways in Camden because it's time to check in at my hotel. It's 3:00 PM by then. The hotel mixed up my booking with another one and after I refused being reclused into a small room instead, they upgrade my booking to an executive double room for free. "4 hours to go #mutesc…!", I tweet.
How does one checkin with Foursquare in a swingers club?
After a stroll through the neighborhood, our Swedish Side-Line photographer Petra Rönnholm informs that she has arrived. At around 4:00 we get to the Roundhouse where we can collect our lanyards and our goodie-bag holding a T-shirt, 4 sets of pins (5 The Normal pins, 5 mute logo pins, 2 Mute badges) and the "Vorwärts" ltd edition CD compilation released by Mute especially for the occasion. There's not that many people there yet. I notice that there's a complete setup where you can fiddle on instruments, synths etc. The machinery soon gets invaded.
Upstairs, on the first floor, the barbecue is being warmed up and the first people have settled themselves on the furniture spread over the terrace. I hop by at one of the Mute promo stands (manned by Nicole from Mute USA and Paul from Mute UK) and take a pic of what's on offer, notice the 'synth' hardware as well which sells at 50 UK Pound per piece. Our photographer decides to get one of the special limited The Normal vinyls.
We have a drink and soon a weird conversation starts on how one does a checkin with Foursquare in a swingers club. Don't ask me how we came about that one, I'm pretty sure it originated from Sweden. At the same time I get a Tweet in from Matt Culpin who thinks he has sighted me earlier that afternoon, to which I reply "nope, must have been another skinhead lol, just arrived". I notice that the wifi is not all that good everywhere in the venue and realize that my dataroaming costs will explode. But, we promised it to our 3500 Twitter followers so, I decide to continue and hope that it won't get too much out of control, which it did of course!
'Alan was definitely the genius in that outfit!'
While Richard Warren is DJ-ing in the main space we head for Komputer, the first band to play at the fest. It takes place in the theatre area, which barely can hold 200 people. I start thinking that this will be VERY small when bands like NON, Carter Tutti or yet Balanescu Quartet have to perform here (being kicked out or refused the entrance later that evening at 2 of said concerts proves I'm right). The sound is not optimal with lots of feedback annoying both the musicians and the public. Things get sorted out and when the band starts getting the more upbeat tracks in their set the public gets really in the mood. I catch a first glimpse of Daniel Miller on my right side. He makes pictures of the band with his smartphone as if it were a regular fan. Nice.
A bit later I pull my photographer out of the theatre because Recoil is about to begin. Paul Kendall aka PK and Alan Wilder take the stage under a huge screen. The main space is well filled and the Recoil set is received with a lot of sheer. I tweet out that Alan has gone the mustache goat-beard way and get a PM a few seconds later asking me 'please, please' for a picture of 'Mister goaty'. When a reader asks something politely, how can you refuse. A picture, albeit not a good one, is sent off right away. A few minutes later, Panos Sialakas tweets that Martin Lee Gore has been spotted in the house. I retweet his message and from then on the PM's are unstoppable.
One reader asks how I can enjoy the music whilst tweeting all the time. Since I can multitask I don't really get his (her?) remark and answer that this is what music press does. In the meantime the Recoil fans present at the venue start tweeting at full speed, with one (Pixellipsis) hitting the nail right on the spot: "Recoil totally rocking it. Alan was definitely the genius in that outfit." I haven't met anyone that weekend who said the contrary. When "Never Let Me Down Again" is pouring out of the boxes all the arms go in the air and I get that 101 déjà-vu again. For some reason I get goose-pimps each time I experience it.
"Warm Leatherette" enters the set, actually upped on the Recoil Macs in Antwerp last year, in case you wondered. It's the first time I actually hear live what Alan Wilder has done with it. It sounds smashing especially with this sound installation. Next is Douglas McCarthy who takes the stage for "Faith Healer". Good stuff. Later on the complete Nitzer Ebb crew plus Daniel Myer (nowadays known as Star Buck) joins Recoil for a smashing rendition of "Family Man". It's a huge party now, the public goes completely mad and so do Alan Wilder and Paul Kendall who both seem to be in a very good mood. I notice Baron Kessler passing by, sharking almost. It's a family reunion.
A tweet pops in: "Martin still chatting girls up on VIP balcony." Well, let's hope he saw some of the Recoil show, it might be some welcome inspiration for future Depeche Mode concerts where the routine has done its not so good work. The new video work for Recoil is absolutely amazing. Recoil video guy
Igor Dima Semenov has done a terrific job. The show ends with Douglas McCarthy doing "Personal Jesus". Now that was a party.
Theatre is a no-go zone even not for premium ticket holders
There's no way I can get into the Balanescu Quartet concert. A pity and that is what most other people waiting outside think. The first mayhem starts with premium ticket holders asking why they paid an extra to be refused the entrance to the concerts they want to see. It won't be the first time that remark pops up. Anyhow, I decide to go watch Nitzer Ebb instead and bump into that 'gentle man' Paul Kendall. He waves and hops a picture is tweeted out. I continue to tweet during the concert and when I'm popping out to get some water I notice some yelling: a Dave look alike attracts the attention of a few young girls thinking he's the real thing. Allas!
At that moment I no longer have a clue where Petra has gone and I just hope she is making pictures because my iPhone just isn't good enough for professional looking pics. As you see below, Petra was right where she had to be, I couldn't wish myself any better colleague! Time to see Carter Tutti live. At least that's what I thought because, I'm again refused the entrance, worse, I get thrown out once I get in. Too many people. While I try to get in after all a guy behind me tells me that he only bought a ticket to see Carter Tutti live. He calls it quits and I only see him back later on on the terrace: drunk as an ox. Poor sod.
By then DJ Moby is doing his work and I see Pole aka Stefan Betke looking somewhat bedazzled. I'd find out the day after why he looked so stunned.
The NON concert undergoes the same problematic access as Carter Tutti and Balanescu Quartet and I decide to call it quits. I've been up for 21 hours by then, time to get to my hotel and leave the DJ's and other live concerts (especially for the premium only members) to those who are a bit younger. I'm done for the day. 30 minutes later I'm on my bed, snoring.
Read part 2!
Posted by B. Van Isacker
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