Patrick Widdess reports on Wish You Were Here - Various Venues, Cambridge, 25 September 2010

Local Cambridgeshire Artist

The summer festival season is over but Green Mind kicked off the autumn with a different kind of festival. Wish You Were Here saw over thirty bands playing during a one day festival across multiple venues in the city. It was an ambitious undertaking and so much could have gone wrong.
Fortunately very little did. All the venues had a full line up of bands throughout the day and schedules ran on time. The programme read like tasting notes at a beer festival with a glowing paragraph describing the irresistible delights of each band. Punters got plenty of exercise as well as music for their £12 as they moved between The Boathouse, The Portland Arms, The Haymakers and The Corner House to catch different acts. The music was predominantly guitar based pop in all its different varieties with plenty for the discerning music listener to explore. Local bands were joined by up and coming bands from around the country and even some international acts. Every band I saw got a good audience and organisers did a top job of putting together such an elaborate event.
Personal highlights included Hamfatter’s Mark Ellis with a slimmed down version of his latest band The Rigbys opening at The Boathouse with some fine mellow acoustic pop. Stockholm’s Sad Day For Puppets delivered a stirring set at The Haymakers. The most interesting band of the day were The Brute Chorus. Their playing is tight, aggressive and sophisticated. Their sound skirts around various genres but is never easy to pin down. They preceded the highly anticipated Pulled Apart By Horses. The hardcore four piece from Leeds could have filled a bigger venue than the backroom of the Portland. Boundless energy, ludicrous song titles including ‘I Punched a Lion In The Throat’ and ‘Back to the Fuck Yeah’ and an evil looking drummer with arms and torso daubed with skull and serpent tattoos combined in the most explosive set of the night. As the first chords rang out a man in front of me slammed his foot on my toe and the riot began!
By the time the final band of the night Violet Bones took to the stage the room was empty apart from a few shattered looking punters. Their high energy indy pop soon revived everyone and the room quickly filled with a crowd enjoying the end of a tremendous inaugural festival. Wish you were there? You should have been.

 Writer and Photographer: Patrick Widdess