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Jeff Tweedy homeJeff Tweedy plays Faraday
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Alpha Blondy homeAlpha Blondy plays Cruïlla
So now Primavera Sound is all big and popular and charging €7 for a hotdog, where can you still feel the indie love this summer? Faraday is the answer. A short hop and a skip along the coast in Vilanova, Faraday offers three days of bands, DJs and friendly folk in quite the loveliest of settings: slap bang next to the beach in the grounds of an old house. In between bands you can flop down in the gardens or head down to the beach for a paddle. Best of all, if you’re a dedicated muso and don’t want to miss a thing, the stages are scheduled never to overlap.
As ever, the line-up is a mix of Catalan, Spanish and international acts; some of whom you’ll have heard of and some you won’t. Top of the bill on Friday are northern English pop poets, The Wedding Present, a band much-loved by the late, great radio DJ, John Peel. Clem Snide will be giving an exclusive alt-country twist to Neil Young’s Zuma while the glorious Bill Callaghan-inspired folk of Pájaro Sunrise is perfect for watching sunsets to. Our ones-to-watch are Is Tropical, the masked London oddballs who make horrifically catchy lo-fi electro.
Highlights for the rest of the weekend at Faraday include Wilco’s main man, Jeff Tweedy, madcap Scots Errors, (think Mogwai on speed) the awesomely talented Maika Makovski and classic Sixties songsmith Nick Lowe.
Over at the Fòrum, the Cruïlla festival boasts the sort of line-up that looks as if names were picked out of a hat it’s that eclectic. Like Faraday it’s all about introducing lesser-known acts to a wider audience.
That’s not to say that there are no stars however. Nigeria’s Femi Kuti is Cruïlla’s big draw. Son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, expect big brass, insane percussion and a crowd of vigorously wiggling hips as he’s joined by his band The Positive Force. Joining him at the Fòrum is breathy-voiced singer-songwriter Australian Xavier Rudd), America’s Grammy-award winning Ben Harper, and Italian’s answer to Tom Waits, Vinicio Caposella. Backstage is set to be as international as the World Cup.
Although relatively unknown in his native England, singer-songwriter Charlie Winston is huge in France. You can see why. He whistles nonchalantly, wears his hat at a rakish angle and plays the kind of music you might imagine hearing as you wander alongside the Seine.
If keeping those feet moving is more your thing, get yourself to the front for Alpha Blondy, who’ll be bringing his laid-back reggae all the way from the Ivory Coast. With less of a journey but just as likely to make you want to dance are Balkatalan Experience, a bogglingly fast mash-up of Catalan and Balkan rhythms that’ll have you bouncing your way to the bar to cool off. Local legends Love of Lesbian and The Pinker Tones also join the line-up which takes in everything from nu-flamenco and folk to electronica and jazz. World music doesn’t get much worldier than this.
Faraday: 2nd-4th July. Platja del Far, Molí de Mar, Vilanova i la Geltrú. 3-day tickets cost €65 (plus booking fee). Day tickets available. www.faraday.tv/2010
Cruïlla BCN: 16th and 17th July. Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona. 2-day tickets cost €71 (plus booking fee). www.cruillabarcelona.com