Most enjoyable set of the festival by a country mile. Yelps, feverish belly quivers, name-calling, hypnotic poly-coloured rhythms dashed on the black rocks of hard rock riffs... and that was just me! YEAH!
A sudden burst of dull sunshine broke through the heavy cloud and increased the humidity beyond my threshold. The French sausage plus potato gratin combo was weighing heavy on my stomach: bad choice. I tried to find a diagonal place to lie down, bumped into Alex Neilson of Trembling Bells who had lost his behemoth of a new guitarist, chatted absently, smoked a bad choice part 2 cigarette, then felt feint. Excellent.
But once Zun Zun Egui hit the stage, all was forgotten. Or at least put on hold. I danced, I quivered, I laughed at them, I laughed at myself. I fed off the energy they gave out with an irreverent generosity, no pretence and none of the stomach turning pleasantries which turned much of this festival into a glad-handing family gathering. They were sticky, murky, radiant and at times overwhelming. The guitarist and main vocalist is less a singer and more a convulsive oracle who makes ecstatic gestures with his voice box, and his jiggling gut too.
He frequently sounds like a defected member of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s band, blending some of the peachy keenest elements of traditional devotional musics with a Mike Patton-esque regard for contextual fidelity. That and he can bounce his guitar work from a Malian jangle sprint to a crushing volley of bouncy castle metal in no time.
The bassist, who I believe the guitarist announced as Jaundice Green Skogsmore (or something like that) trod just this side of the too noodley line, which is a fine place to be. When he struck a particularly buoyant riff he stuck with it long enough to quench the foot thirst, and long enough for the rest of the band to interact with it in a couple of ways each before it all moved on. Couple these two with a loose-limbed drummer and some crystal clear synth an’ ping and it’s all go... I hear that this four piece is augmented now and then by all manner of other monkey savants.
It was quite an experience, one which all of my companions were drawn to. But despite the benefit of playing amidst a pretty dull line-up, I’m willing to bet that Zun Zun Egui would have triumphed amongst the best, because it’s blatantly clear that they don’t give a shit for anything except enjoying themselves. To translate that so effectively to the 100 people who weren’t lying down, some of whom were dancing wildly on the front lawn of an early afternoon drift, was really something.
So that’s it, they get first prize, all the other kids can go cry into their cereal. Strange Glue endorses, or some such. If anyone else asks me why I didn’t go and see Andrew Bird...