Finish of the Road Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens, Wiltshire/Dorset, UK — review

Jehnny Beth of Savages at the End of the Road Festival © Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment

All the speak was of the climate. We knew that rain would arrive, but when? In the occasion, the precipitation arrived in earnest on Saturday, but it was not enough seriously to dampen spirits at a bijou three-day occasion that has become a single of the jewels in the festival calendar. Ask Finish of the Road regulars why they maintain coming back and you are probably to hear the very same answer: it is all just so effortless. The environment is pretty, also: peacocks roam the grounds, pausing to pose for photographs, and there’s space to pitch your tent with out becoming also intimate with your neighbours’ breathing patterns.

Crucially, End of the Road is also extremely nicely curated. This year’s gave an exceptionally broad sweep of music, with a welcome emphasis on female performers. The opening day, for instance, provided Anna Meredith. Meredith is mostly a classical composer but here she presented a cross­over project with a band that included drums, guitar, tuba, two cellos, and her own keyboards and clarinet. Crescendos, chromatic scales, the repetitive patterns of minimalism: these components coalesced to form some thing complicated, layered and bold, with hints of Meredith’s native Scotland in the chiming guitars and chords. And the sight of this infectiously enthusiastic performer banging on a drum with the energy of a schoolchild was invigorating.

So too — even though in a quite various way — have been Savages, the UK-based band who performed on the major stage in the early evening. The black-clad all-female band roused the crowd with a bracing blast of precision-tooled noise and hollering. Savages are frequently described as “punk” or “post-punk”, but here they showed that they owe a debt to heavy metal also, with their alterations of pace and churning, cathartic riffs. Rabble-rousing French-born singer Jehnny Beth went walkabout on the shoulders of the crowd — obligingly removing her vertiginously higher-heeled footwear beforehand.

Friday’s headliners had been an odd bunch: Animal Collective are the Baltimore electronic experimentalists whose music veers from squelchy avant-gardism to bubbly dance-pop. Right here, on a stage decorated by three grotesque giant sculptural heads and accompanied by a hyperactive frenzy of lights and projections, the shadowy foursome presented a coherent, expertly segued 90 minutes of music the like of which no a single else is at present generating: burbly, elastic, chattery, skittish, danceable, undanceable, listenable, practically unlistenable, and with weirdly overlapping nerdy vocals.

After, for a joyous couple of minutes, the crowd were dancing and singing to “Flori-Dada” largely, this was music for the head as much as the legs. Strange, and memorable.

Swedish band Goat on stage at the End of the Road Festival © Richard Gray/ EMPICS Entertainment

Considerably of my very first afternoon was occupied with attempting — and failing — to get to see Stewart Lee on the comedy stage. The stewards told these waiting in the huge queues that we had no hope of getting in but still we queued — a phenomenon that this caustic comedian would certainly have had something to say about. On the comedy stage on Sunday, though, I saw Josie Long, who delivered a beautifully crafted piece which veered — inevitably, provided Long’s political leanings — towards Brexit. She discovered fertile ground among this predominantly middle-class audience for her despair over the vote, but also posited the importance of hope and reconciliation. Extended is a classy comedian she can “do” the silly voices, she can “do” the gags, but essentially she is a teller of really funny, thoughtful and nicely-crafted stories.

Saturday’s highlight — and maybe of the weekend — was a set from Sam Beam and Jesca Hoop. Beam is the US singer who otherwise goes by the name of Iron and Wine Hoop is the California-born singer and songwriter who recently collaborated with Beam on an album, Adore Letter for Fire. Their duets had been exquisite factors, their voices dovetailing immaculately, their harmonies close and unexpected they sang songs of love while the wind blew a parting in Beam’s beard and parrots flying overhead deposited “gifts” on the audience.

Beam and Hoop sang two startling cover versions: “Islands in the Stream”, in a minor crucial, and Eurythmics’ “Love Is a Stranger”. They have been funny, too. “Sorry about the rain,” said Beam. “It’s your fault for living right here.”

Goat are a Swedish collective who preserve anonymity behind exotic masks and play music that is tribal and hypnotic. Afrobeat, west African highlife and psychedelia combine in an intoxicating brew. The two frontwomen in their robes and masks sang and danced themselves into oblivion, shamanic go-go dancers surrounded by thumpingly very good musicians.

Bat for Lashes at the Finish of the Road Festival © Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment

Saturday’s headliner was Bat for Lashes, the singer otherwise recognized as Natasha Khan, performing right here in a wedding dress and bridal veil in maintaining with her recent album The Bride — the sorry tale of a woman who is about to get married when her groom dies in a car crash. A lot of her set was sparse and rather bleak but Khan redressed the balance with a far more cheerful concluding half-hour, which includes a touching cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy”. Her set also featured a heart-warming on-stage marriage proposal from a pal of Khan’s (“I consider we’re alone now,” he mentioned to his partner as thousands cheered she accepted).

On Sunday, the Malian/Algerian Tuareg band Imarhan got the crowd moving with their hypnotic, churning desert grooves, powered by a deliciously dirty guitar sound, circular vocals and insistent rhythms. A a lot appreciated early-afternoon sharpener.

Later the identical day, the Thurston Moore Group showed just what can be achieved with six metal strings and a plank of wood. Assisted by his ensemble, the former Sonic Youth player wrestled all manner of sounds and noises from his guitar, from delicate harmonics to buzzsaw growls. He is a excellent guitarist, but not in the tradition of Eric Clapton or Jeff Beck his skill lies in exploring the textures of the instrument, the way guitars mesh, clash and spiral on tracks such as the beautiful “Aphrodite”. Their set, although, ended abruptly right after 45 minutes. I’d been expecting, and anticipating, far more.

endoftheroadfestival.com

Section: Arts


The One Tree Hill Cast Had An Incredible, Karaoke-Filled Reunion

Even after all this time, the cast of A single Tree Hill doesn’t want to be anything other than they had been in the mid-’00s.

More than the weekend, a lot of of the show’s O.G. cast members reunited for Inside OTH, a two-day fan convention held in Wilmington, North Carolina, exactly where the show was filmed.

Amongst the OTH alums present were Chad Michael Murray (Lucas Scott), Hilarie Burton (Peyton Sawyer), Bethany Joy Lenz (Haley James Scott), Lee Norris (Marvin “Mouth” McFadden), Shantel VanSanten (Quinn James), Antwon Tanner (Antwon “Skills” Taylor), Barbara Alyn Woods (Deb Scott), and Paul Johansson (Dan Scott).

Notably absent had been Sophia Bush (Brooke Davis) and James Lafferty (Nathan Scott), but honestly, I’m not confident how numerous others could’ve fit onstage for the group’s wonderful karaoke session, throughout which they belted out the show’s theme song: Gavin DeGraw’s angsty anthem “I Don’t Wanna Be.”

An additional highlight from the weekend’s festivities was when Murray produced a complete room of fans melt into puddles of goop by reciting a single of the show’s most memorable lines: “It’s you, Peyton. It’s often been you.” You know, that factor Lucas mentioned to Peyton in season four following the Ravens’ championship win, as confetti fell from the gymnasium ceiling and Jose Gonzalez’s “Heartbeats” played, and OH NO, Right here COME THE TEARS Once more.

Significantly to our nostalgic pleasure, the OTH cast has remained close over the years and generously documented their reunions. See much more pics of their most current get-together under:

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Annaleigh Ashford Barks Up The Correct Tree On Broadway

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Annaleigh Ashford plays the title character — a poodle mix — in Sylvia, at the Cort Theatre in Broadway. Matthew Broderick plays the man who finds Sylvia in Central Park.

Annaleigh Ashford plays the title character — a poodle mix — in Sylvia, at the Cort Theatre in Broadway. Matthew Broderick plays the man who finds Sylvia in Central Park. Joan Marcus/Jeffrey Richards Associates hide caption

itoggle caption Joan Marcus/Jeffrey Richards Associates

Annaleigh Ashford is down to earth. Really down to earth. Sitting in her Broadway dressing space, she talks about all of the men and women who’ve inhabited that very same space – Denzel Washington, Ian McKellen and, most lately, Larry David, who left a sticker with his name by the toilet.

“Occasionally I like to remind myself, you know, the several fabulous individuals who have pooped where I am pooping,” she says.

“It really is disgusting,” she adds in a whisper. “But magical!”

Ashford is no 1st-timer to Broadway. The Masters of Sex actress, who also also has a CD coming out subsequent month, originated the function of Lauren in Kinky Boots, and won a Tony for playing Essie Carmichael in You Can not Take It With You.

But this week she opened in her 1st starring function on Broadway. And given her role, it’s not inappropriate that she’s talking about poop: She’s playing the title character in A. R. Gurney’s comedy, Sylvia. Sylvia is a dog.

Particularly, she’s a stray labradoodle who’s been adopted by a man going via a mid-life crisis.

Helpfully, Ashford has her personal dog — a toy Australian shepherd, who she’s been observing quite meticulously. She watched closely when her pet was in obedience and sheep herding classes last summer season.

“You know, I pee at the extremely starting of the play and they go, ‘Did you do that Sylvia?’ ” she says.

“And I do that strange point that dogs do, where they can not look at you … they have, like, a dead-eye stare where they cannot look at you and they look down. And I say, ‘I won’t dignify that with an answer,’ which is specifically what my dog does, when she totally pees in the corner of the space!”

Ashford wears knee pads to romp around the stage, jump on the sofa, sit and roll over. She trades dialogue with Matthew Broderick, who plays the man who adopts her:

“Now sit Sylvia, sit.”

“I’m not ready to sit!”

“I stated sit!”

“I’m also nervous to sit.”

Daniel Sullivan, the director of Sylvia, calls Ashford a “sort of inspired clown.”

“We never have that a lot of very physical female clowns,” he says. “I imply, she is really extraordinary in her capacity to maintain a issue extremely accurate and honest and, at the very same time, considerably bigger than life, physically.”

That sort of inspired physicality won her that Tony last year in the revival of You Can not Take It With You, exactly where Ashford played a not-really-great ballerina.

New York Instances drama critic Ben Brantley says she stole the show — “From an outstanding cast, a crackerjack cast,” he says. “And she was so very good at being negative. I imply, there was a actual grace in the character’s clumsiness. I could consume it with a spoon. It was just delightful.”

It wasn’t usually straightforward for Ashford. The Denver native moved to New York at 17 to study acting. She went to lots of cattle calls and in no way got a callback.

But director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell remembered her and at some point cast her in Kinky Boots, where she played an English factory worker in really like with her boss.

Ashford’s off-beat charms were noticed by showrunner Michelle Ashford — no relation — who hired the actress to play the prostitute Betty in the Showtime series Masters of Sex.

“She was supposed to be a one-off and we cast Annaleigh, and she was so delightful and such a great power and so in contrast to everyone else in our cast that we thought, ‘Well, we have to keep her,’ ” she says.

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So the briefly-appearing prostitute participating in sexuality analysis became a standard character, and ultimately the research team’s workplace manager.

From hooker to finally, hound, Annaleigh Ashford says she’s discovered a lot, from observing men and women and dogs in these obedience classes final summer.

“Not everyone in the area knew that I was going to be playing a dog on Broadway in the fall,” she says. “And so, sometimes I would do genuinely weird items — I would, you know, copy what somebody else’s dog was doing physically.”

She earned some funny appears, but it paid off. Sylvia runs on Broadway by means of January. Then, Annaleigh Ashford — and her dog Gracie — return to Los Angeles to film season 4 of Masters of Sex.

Arts &amp Life : NPR