Manchester & Parklife

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Talk about #laterblog, but Parklife in June was amazing!

This is the second time I’ve been. Last year my pals and I went down by train and made a weekend of it, but this year we just went for the Sunday (when all our fav bands were playing) and hung around Manchester for a few days after. Maybe I’m getting old, losing my cool hipster edge. Maybe I’ve just figured out how to power-game music festivals. Who can be sure?!

Parklife

Brace yourself for a blogroll of awesome bands that I saw on Sunday at Parklife, in no particular order the order in which I saw them:

Tei Shi

I don’t know why she was on so early – Tei Shi was amazing! Our pal Gav was meant to come but couldn’t at the last minute and he would have totally rocked this with me. Instead our pal Moff caught up with Tei Shi later and got an epic selfie with her for us! #jealouswoon


TCTS

Manchester bands obvs got mad hype at Parklife. But TCTS are pretty amazing, imho. Get it in your ears!


BadBadNotGood

Moff wanted to see them. They were on Collonade stage which was basically across a street, but SUCH a cool ambiance there! Tree-covered and everyone very relaxed, shall we say. Lots of.. relaxed.. people. The music was okay but too jazzy/instrumental for me compared to the other stuff. Probably perfect for you listening from the comforts of your home now!


Tourist

Another excellent set.


Chet Faker

*swoon*


Jess Glynne

Jess Glynne was on the main stage. (Route 94 was also there, in another stage.) I only saw Jess Glynne in passing as the crowd was IMMENSE. She’s great.


Todd Terje & the Olsens

The best song ever. Todd Terje is amazing. The tent was shaking. Fans were loving it. We got to the front and threw many shapes.

We would have stayed for HudMo on next after Terje but we have seen HudMo many many times in our hometown so made our way on to…


Baauer

Baauer was AWESOME last year and didn’t disappoint this year. That said, anyone on LuckyMe = much <3 from me and my pals.

This year, we saw him from the big hill overlooking the Ram Jam stage. Needless to say everyone went nuts at Harlem Shake. Trap for days.


Blonde

AMAZING! The tent was absolutely heaving, people pouring out on all sides. Blonde was fantastic!!


Jessie Ware

Jessie Ware was also mainstage. Heard the above song in passing while I was hustling to…


FKA Twigs

I had to go on my own; my pals were way not into it. I went up to the front and basically another fan beat me to it, asking the security guard the question we were all dying to know: Is Robert Pattinson backstage *squee*?

(There were also a ridiculous number of security guards right up front by the stage for this show which makes me think something must happen/must have happened to necessitate so much security?)


Duke Dumont

We were at Duke Dumont for the headliner, last thing of the night. Well worth it! Last year we finished with Caribou, who was also headlining this year. Difficult choices to be made. But Duke Dumont was FANTASTIC.


Pics for proof:

Basically the ‘Sounds of the Near Future’ stage was our home for most of the day. I ate a burrito. And my boots got covered in port-o-loo ‘mud’ as all the toilets everywhere became a morass of.. mysteries as the night wore on. I also brought my own toilet paper BECAUSE I AM A GROWN UP WOMAN.

Other Manchester Highlights

Top Eats

  1. Gorrilla – A Manchester institution for us. Dangerously close to our flat… Beers and pecan pie. Everyone else ate real food but only God can judge me.
  2. Northteapower – We went here last year. Definitely still the best place for a coffee. I had an epic french toast with bacon in it. Set me up just right for Parklife!
  3. Fig + sparrow – Breakfast yums! Round the corner from NorthTeaPower, this cute little cafe stroke giftshop has lots of cute mugs, tea towels, trinkets etc. I could have filled my suitcase!
  4. The Pacific (George St) – We fancied a dim sum meal in Manchester’s Chinatown. This one ranked highly and didn’t disappoint! I still think it’s probably best to go to a ‘real’ Chinese restaurant like this one with a Chinese person, but they were gentle with us. So tasty.
  5. Changos Burrito Bar – Omnomnom. Tasty burritos (a la our hometown Illegal Jack’s!). I really liked all the swish branding work though, cute stickers with different geometric animals for each type of meat, cute packs of tortilla chips, etc. Big luchador-y art on the walls.
  6. Home sweet home – Massive cakes! Too big! First thing in the morning on our last day in Manchester, I set out (while everyone else was hungover) to buy ALL THE CAKES from this shop. I probably bought too many. I had to stop midway home to rest, so cake-laden.
  7. Chippy from Leo’s Fish Bar –  The best chippy of my life (ie. perfect combination of delicious + timing). I’m salivating with nostalgia.
  8. Samsi Japanese – We went here last year for a bento to go before our train home. This year we stopped for a full meal. So tasty, legit Japanese food. They have a Japanese food market downstairs too. Wandered along and sat for a bit in Sackville Gardens nearby.
  9. Pita Pit – Why is this good, I don’t know. But it was definitely cheap = requirement #1. Served its purpose, before our train ride home.

& Drinks

  1. Sinclair’s Oyster bar – Sinclair’s was easily the best place we found in all of Manchester. Very cheap Sam Smith beers and basically nothing else. Not even a website! Tom’s round, easily the cheapest round of the night… We played card games in a small annex of seats inside.
  2. Common bar (twt) – Hip place with excellent beers. Open very late. We came here after Oasthouse, what a relief.
  3. The Oast house – Maybe too many suits for my taste but good beer selection! Cougar central.
  4. Thirsty scholar – Random sticky-floor pub we found near to our flat. Got the job done though!
  5. The Temple (of Convenience) – We passed this place a number of times before mustering up the courage to go in. It looks like a public toilet – basically because it is a renovated victorian public toilet…. Really cool dive bar though, great music, just enough seats. Felt like a great place to meet people (if I was even remotely social).

&Activities!

  1. The Escape Room – This is a legit Escape room! So good! We did the jailbreak themed room. They handcuffed us three together and we had (as normal) an hour to get out. We managed it in good time, obviously. But really cool room set-up! There were jail cell bars within the actual room. Well impressed, Escape Room!
  2. Dogbowl – Killing some time before Moff headed home, we stopped in here (across from our flat, and next door to Gorrilla – really great area!). A round of bowling and some beers!
  3. Plus we went to the cinema. This cinema is definitely haunted. Good arcades though!

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Manchester was a laugh! My belly is full and my ears are happy. See you next year, Parklife!

February catch-up

feb1A bumper month! One which has totally run away from me, this February thing! (Must be the meager 28 days..) And now that we’re into (MID!) March I had better get this up here!feb2

We went to Iceland. Amazing time had by all, including a music festival.

We ‘owned our city’: tried out new burger place, Burger., on Thursday date night; and saw the new Mammoth exhibit at Museum Lates. Burger was ACE & I definitely recommend it. S had the El Burger which had pulled pork in it, and I had a chicken katsu burger with cheese… YASSS. He also got a special bakewell tart style shake. Museum Lates was good too!
feb4I also went to Edinburgh Zoo for a work away-day this month.
And we saw both the terracotta soldier paper lanterns in the Old College and the light exhibition in St Andrew’s Square. Adventure city!

+3hours karaoke with S. A little tricky on a school night but they suckered us in with the 1-2-3 deal! (First hour full price, second half price, third FREE!).

I read very little but spent a lot of time revising and editing my poems. I did cobble together a couple new Iceland-inspired poems in the run up to our trip.feb3

The garlic is sprouting! I’m so excited.

And we put in an offer on (yet another) house. Fingers crossed for success this time.

With all this on the go, I have let slip my Spanish & German, and my Programming lessons, but will hopefully catch up in March.

readingSimon Armitage – Out of the Blue
Sinéad Morrissey – The State of the Prisons
Sinéad Morrissey – Between Here and There
Stewart Conn – Ghosts of Cockcrow
Louise Gluck – Averno

Plus a ridiculous number of Iceland Lonely Planets, cover to cover… *power gamer*

soundtrackRhye – Open
MØ – Glass
Passion Pit – Carried Away
Choir of Young Believers – Hollow Talk (been watching the bridge)
Sykur – Reykjavik (best find from the festival!)
AlunaGeorge – Put up your Hands
Kina Grannis – The Fire

And completed my all time favorite – Professor Layton: Azran Legacy – this month. So good!

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So long February! You’ve been great.

Go to a music festival: DONE!

Sonar-R-14-blog

This has taken me ages to post about. But just wanted to say Sonar Festival in Reykjavik was amazing!

I’ve been to tons of music festivals, but really really love going to festivals in different cities or countries. It’s a whole different experience, I think, going to see music (which is so cross-cultural) abroad. The crowd can make up a huge part of the experience.

What is Sónar Reykjavik (from the Sonar website)
It’s intimate. The festival is going to portray how a prestige brand can redefine itself in smaller locations and venues. The new concert house, Harpa and the joy of music will be a stark contrast against the Icelandic winter and the arctic darkness outside. Sónar Reykjavik is also an experiment in how music can reach those who truly seek it by those performing it and seeing that it´s not always the largest stage and the biggest crowd that matters but also about the unique relationship that forms and the memories for all involved. Trying to follow in the footsteps of the pioneering Sónar Barcelona festival is hard but hosting a Sónar Reykjavik festival which strives to deliver the experience and artists line up Sónar Barcelona would be proud of is something we truly believe is possible.
Sónar Reykjavik will take place on five stages with a total capacity of 3500 guests. Beside the two main stages, a part of the concert halls underground parking will be changed in to a nightclub were local and international DJ´s will perform during the festival. A scenic part of the concert house will also be changed into a stage along with a seated hall with capacity of 199 guests.

sonar day1Sonar was ace! Highlights for me included Sykur, Jon Hopkins, Bonobo, Diplo / Major Lazer, FM Belfast, Hermigervill, as well as being at Harpa – the amazing concert hall in Reykjavik. And popping out between sets to see the Northern Lights on the last night, obviously. Seriously amazing.

Bands we saw:

  • Ryuchi Sakamoto & Taylor Dupree (wasn’t hugely impressed)
  • HE (looks like Jesus)
  • ELOQ (pretty much the most amazing thing ever):

  • Introbeats
  • Kiriyama Family
  • Hermigervill (also looks like Jesus.. but played a THEREMIN! Great tunes)
  • Dada:

  • Kolsch
  • Kiasmos
  • Bonobo – freaking amazing!
  • Jon Hopkins:

  • Major Lazer
  • Diplo – weird to see him again life. been almost 10yrs since I last saw him…
  • Kenton Slash Demon
  • James Holden (essentially this set)
  • Sykur:

  • Steve Sampling
  • Daphni
  • FM Belfast (gave an AMAZING show!! the light-up dress! check this true-fan’s vid):

Also, some much better photos and videos and things at the Sonar Reykjavik Facebook, or on youtube (here, here, here)

An amazing festival! Glad to tick another thing off the list for this year!
sonar day2I think going to music festivals as a way or reason to explore a city is the way forward for me. Also, I have never seen so much knitwear at a(n indoor) music festival EVER – like, actually a guy squeezing past us with beanies and MITTENS on during Major Lazer. Incredible.

I thought the line-ups were a bit tricky each day, and we often had ‘down time’ to explore some of the bands we’d never heard before (which turned out to be great as we discovered a fair number of cool Iceland bands in particular). The venue was stunning and never really much queuing for things like drinks or toilets – a dream for a crotchety old lady like me! Except there was one room of *experimental* music that we never even went into at all, even just to see; there was always a massive line outside between sets and then no coming in during the sets. A missed trick maybe! Still, really looking forward to more Sonars (perhaps I will do a Sonar-around-the-world tour!) and more Iceland.

Takk Iceland!
sonar day3