The SwampAid music festival has now reached its eighteenth birthday. Since the first concert in which founder Sinclair St Claire played banjo on a soapbox in front of twelve apathetic goats, the festival has gone from strength to strength. The aim of SwampAid is raising money to have the Bennibjorn Swamp in Annifridagnethaville dredged, in the hope that Sinclair will one day recover a bicycle that was thrown in there by an angry spouse.
This year promised to be one of the highlights of the North American festival scene, which includes Canada. Many top acts performed throughout the two-day event, and the Imaginary Review pulled up a lawn chair and got in the way of some dancing hippies.
The first band to really strike a chord was Death by Dry Hump, a hot up-and-coming rock band from Deepstain. They had a lot of support from their loyal fans (Sandra and Michael), who had heard about the gig on MySpace. DbDH played their major-label debut album, Great Scott!, in its entirity, including their latest single, I Can't Find My Plectrum (Oh, There it is by The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers). The band's sound is best described as plump, with acidic overtures and a lean downbeat. Their twenty-minute wigout version of their breakthrough hit, Nnng, completed their set magnificently. Death by Dry Hump: Watch out for them!
Next up on my list of bands that I saw and enjoyed was the more established Teddy Trio and the Sextuplet Duo. Their unique cello-drums-acoustibass metal sound has been well known in the Gartersnake area for some time now, and they certainly pleased the crowd with covers of Megadeth's Symphony of Destruction, Slayer's Seasons in the Abyss, and Enigma's Sadeness (Part 1). Unfortunately, the band's set ended in tragedy when Trio attempted to crowd surf while carrying a glockenspiel.
Punch the Baby's set was cancelled, as their gig at the Dallas Rhododendron cannot be stopped. The band have been playing constantly since they came onstage at 7.00 pm last Tuesday, and if scientists cannot find a way to get them to cease playing, all members of Punch the Baby will be dead before the week is out, due to exhaustion.
Snippets of Plenty wowed the crowd with their own brand of progressive electronica, despite a power cut halfway through their set. The highly professional group continued their set through barber-shop quartet-style harmony singing. In fact, their recent hits, Don't F*ck Wit Da Bassline and Sh*tting Da Beats into Your Ears both improved greatly from this change in style. Dolly Parton, guest vocalist on forthcoming single Force-fed a Gallon of Funk, came onstage and joined in the fun for their grand finale. Inspirational!
Unsurprisingly, the biggest pull of the festival were headliners Regrettably Eggy, who showcased their new guitarist, eight year-old Sammy Wonders, in his first gig since taking over from the sadly missed Ian Leviathon. Wonders really managed to fill his predecessor's shoes well, playing the complex solo from Welcome to the Bureau of Foreign Affairs with gusto. All of Eggy's hits were there, in a set that was as crowd-pleasing as it was amiable. Fledgling Parrot, Bag O' Tits and the massive hit A Bucket no More were accompanied by other, lesser-known tracks, as well as a cheeky cover of Ini Kamoze's Here Comes the Hotstepper.
SwampAid was, once again, a wonderful event, full of great music of all types. Sadly, the money raised by the show wasn't enough to pay for the hire of a dredger, so it looks like Sinclair will have to put on another great festival next year. Never mind eh, Sinclair!