We decided to declare the last In Between Day as a day of Black and Doom. In true Amos style we had invited a couple of extreme Metal bands to see out the event, in anticipation of early-comers for the Belle and Sebastian Bowlie 2 weekend, which would begin the following day. More on the bands in a bit.
Keeping with this theme, we programmed Nicolas Winding Refn's moody Scottish Viking movie, Valhalla Rising, as the first event of the day. There was a respectable turnout at the cinema to watch this rather beautiful, slow-paced journey to hell and back.
It was the first time I'd seen this on a big screen and it looked stunning. Relentlessly dark and very brutal, it gave the audience something to brew on before the mid afternoon pub quiz.
Our good friend Rob Green was scheduled to host the quiz and give it his inimitable slant. Sadly he was ill and unable to make it to Minehead. So another friend, Bronagh Keegan (MVP of the previous day's book group), kindly offered to step in and set the quiz for the afternoon. She did an excellent job and managed to lift participants out of the doomy stupor that we had so painstakingly engineered through our choice of early afternoon film.
The quiz was won by an excellent threesome (whose team name escapes me now) but I'm sure it would have been a different story had team Beast Star (members of the band Mugstar) not been summoned to soundcheck two thirds of the way through, leaving just one member to play the last round. Especially as their guitar player, Neil, has made an appearance on Brain of Britain and had his progress halted only by a question on Amy Winehouse, not a subject you would expect any respectable experimental space rocker to excel in. Alas, he could not use the IBD pub quiz as cathartic therapy as he was called away with the rest of the band, and team Beast Star ended as runners-up by 1 point. My favourite answer of the day was to the question "What P is the nickname of a recently relegated former Premiership club." The answer given was Pudenda???
Before the evening's entertainment, James found the time to finish the masterpiece he had been working on in the main pavilion. He was helped by Jason Evan's inspired idea to turn the picture upside down part of the way through.
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One other thing to mention with regards James. He had offered to take out festival goers on a guided bike ride on the Wednesday and Thursday mornings. After managing to persuade him that it was actually a very tiny fraction of cyclists who took the pastime as seriously as him, and it was unlikely that any of the festival goers would fall into this percentage and so be up for hacking it up 25% plus gradient hills on hired mountain bikes after days of drinking and who-knows-what-other excesses, he eventually compromised and mapped an "easy" route for Wednesday's excursion. He actually had four takers for this first day. He nearly killed them. None of them could keep up with him and all ended up pushing their bikes up the main hill he picked to ascend. But apparently the views were spectacular on a reasonably clear morning. On day four, scheduled as the intermediate ride, unsurprisingly he had no takers, and if he did he wouldn't have known as he left early as they would never have kept up with him anyway. I'm sure he will fill you in on the details of the day four ride.
I haven't spent too long on the music in previous day's accounts but this day was a little more unusual so indulge me. First up was the brilliant Mugstar. We'd been hanging out with Neil and Jason all week as they decided to spend all four days on site. The bands had been coming and going through the course of the event but some of Mugstar and Cave had been around throughout. I had briefly spoken to Cave's curiously named keyboard player, Rotten Milk (that's Mr Milk to you but I get to call him Rotten), but didn't really get the opportunity to spend time with them (unlike Will who said they were all very nice chaps). But we all spent time with Mugstar and we were looking forward to seeing them perform.
Mugstar didn't disappoint. They were awesome. They rocked, especially their keyboard/guitar player Peter, who at the climax of their set, began hammering his guitar in such a way, that could only lead to rock 'n' roll carnage, and the old Pete Townsend guitar smash. Inevitably equipment was wrecked and we can only hope that he wasn't sorry after the buzz of the moment had waned.
Moon Duo were great too. Ripley had already played a set the previous day with Wooden Shjips, and this went down just as well with an appreciative crowd.
Sanae was captivating on keyboards.
So far, musically everything had been going marvellously. All the bands were amazing, and all had been well received by an appreciative crowd. That was about to change. It was Metal time.
James and I always have time for a bit of Metal. Whether the thrash of Anthrax and Slayer, or the less accessible experimentations of Khanate, we are always up for giving it a try. We had invited Doom legends Corrupted from Japan but unfortunately, due to legitimate personal reasons, they had to pull out a couple of weeks from the event. Thankfully US Doom legends Yob stepped in to replace them. More on them in a bit.
We also wanted a bit of Black Metal, a genre that has interested the pair of us for some time now. We knew it would be very hard persuading any kvlt metal band to come and play as this was a "hipster" festival, and understandably the organisers wanted to put on music that wouldn't piss off the festival goers. So we were happy that Nachtmystium agreed to play and ATP were up for it. Their recent records were getting reviewed on non-Metal sites and they were attracting crossover attention. But being flakey fuckers they decided to pull out with a week to spare, leaving us with a gaping hole and no BM. At this point I went back to a band I had repeatedly asked for (they had been on my original list I'd given to ATP) and this time Barry (main ATP man), always up for a bit of experimentation, was up for it. So we asked Dutch band Urfaust.
I love this band and actually met them when I went to see them play in Iceland earlier in the year. They had never played in the UK and they had never played at anything other than hardcore Metal events in Northern Europe. Despite managing to interest a few more adventurous muso types, their main following is very kvlt and they remain very underground. I was extremely stoked when they agreed to play the event at such short notice, especially after I found out that guitarist/vocalist Willem had just had a newborn daughter a few weeks earlier.
Anyway, they played and as you would guess they were intense, and they all but cleared the room. But they ruled. And they were one of only two or three bands to do an encore all week.
Those remaining were compelled and converted by their raw, hypnotic, pared back sound. And most importantly, the band seemed to enjoy themselves. Drummer Jim had family in the area and his cousin had come to watch him play too so he was in good spirits (and very pissed).
Jim was also very impressed that the headline act that night was Yob. These guys are legends in the world of Doom and we were very proud to be responsible for getting them to play in the UK for the first time. James had turned me onto them a few years ago and so it was the perfect (and possibly the only) band to replace Corrupted. Thankfully some souls had drifted back into the room and there was a respectable audience for what was to be an incredible set of very heavy, down-tuned, psych riffage.
Guitarist and vocalist Mike knows how to put on a great show and was super enthusiastic for a long set. For many they were the revelation of the four days and a very fitting way to end the festival. And they were very nice guys too.
There was a small after-party back at our chalet where our guests of honour were Mugstar and Urfaust. The latter were due to leave again in a few hours and I feared for them as they were trashed.
Actually Willem (the big guy) was fairly together, but Jim was contemplating killing me with a Russian Orthodox, self-defence shoulder squeeze, but only once he had thrown up (or rid himself of extremely debilitating hiccups). When I asked them how come they had come and played IBD their response was, "We were approached at a Metal show in Reykjavik, by a strange man looking like a policeman, who asked us to come to England and play at a music festival he was organising at a seaside holiday camp. Of course we fucking come!" Urfaust rule!
And what of the 'zine for the last day? There were badges.
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There was actually a prize for the first correctly answered crossword which was won by James (not Jarvis) and Rebecca.
Enough now! I'd just like to thank some people for their help in making the In Between Days a memorable event for all that were there.
Thanks to Barry and Deborah for asking us to curate and making it all possible. A special thanks to Barry for ultimately indulging us with band choices.
Thanks to Ruth for all her help and never-ending patience.
Thanks to Will Sweeney for his help and especially for his excellent 'zine contributions.
Thanks to Jason Evans for his excellent talk and DJ duties.
Thanks to Bronagh Keegan, host extraordinaire and top question master (mistress?)
Thanks to Godsy (DJ Cherrystones) for a great set on Wednesday night and some heavy shit on the Thursday.
Thanks to the Rollapaluza team.
Thanks to all the bands for their exceptional performances. White Hills, Emeralds, Cave, Ulrich Schnaus, Hallogallo, Factory Floor (best yet), Autolux, Caribou, Holy Fuck, Connan Mockasin (for the great train set too), Wooden Shjips, Four Tet, Mugstar (you were awesome in all ways), Moon Duo, Urfaust (rulers!), and Yob (the heaviest and mightiest).
Thanks to all the ATP crew for all their help over the course of the event. Shaun, Ros, Jamie, Jim, Sim, Andrew, Blake, Woody, Nichole, James, Pablo, Shane, Ade, Caleb, John, Vin, Ed, Willie, Alex, Arron and Stone.
And thanks to everyone who came down and made it a very special four days.
After a further selection of our own special posters for the event...
I'll leave you with Butlin's own contribution, some rather special and slightly bewildering motivational posters.