The gates of the bucolic Lamer Tree Gardens in Salisbury open this weekend for the fourteenth edition of End of The Road Festival. A firm Too Many Blogs favourite, we will be returning to cover what is once again one of the strongest lineups of the summer.
Topping the bill this year are the likes of Michael Kiwanuka (his first UK headline slot), Courtney Barnett and Metronomy, though as ever the list of talent spans all the way to the very bottom of the poster. As a basic guide to help guide you through some of the best acts of each day, we’ve put together a short list of the artists we’ll be catching at all costs.
Painfully difficult clashes are inevitable at a festival of this standard, so we’ve put them in chronological order and included stage and set-times, but do make sure to cross-reference with the festival timetable.
Once the Thursday crowds have set up camp early and begin to congregate in the festival’s centre, the Tipi Stage becomes the natural focus of music before Flamingods and Spiritualized take to the main Woods Stage. One band not to be missed in the Tipi are Montreal’s Pottery, who turned heads with their debut EP No. 1 back in May with their scratchy and jerky brand of post-punk. If there Partisan Records (IDLES, Fontaines DC) seal of approval doesn’t already intrigue you, their fun, youthful live energy will seal the deal.
Bringing the party to the Big Top early on Friday afternoon is London singer Georgia, whose track ‘Started Out’ was indisputably one of the best dance/pop tracks of last year. Fusing the dark, sexy bass-lines of 80s Chicago house with electro pop tropes, the combination is absolutely killer and translates powerfully in her multi-instrumental live set up.
Big Top, 15:45-16:30
Once Georgia finishes her set dont veer too far away from the big top, because following her are Wand, who really did themselves proud with their fourth full-length Laughing Matter earlier this year. The California band have long been favourites in the contemporary psych-rock scene, but Laughing Matter stayed true to the genre without some of the more cliched benchmarks, hypnotising instead with dynamic and multi-layered orchestration.
Big Top, 17:15-18:00
Does she really need any introduction? Last year’s Be The Cowboy rejuvenated the near-universal adoration felt for the 28-year-old’s distinctively intense and personal brand of indie rock. Almost a year since she last performed in the UK, this Friday evening performance on the Garden stage is sure to be a popular one.
No doubt by Saturday afternoon everyone will be feeling a little fragile, and who better to nurse a sore head than folk-guitar maestro William Tyler, who has a particular knack for writing guitar riffs that seem to say ‘Everything is going to be OK’. Seriously though, the recent record Goes West is a perfect example of the euphoric, life-affirming dream-worlds that Tyler creates.
Make sure to head straight over to the Woods Stage for Nubya Garcia, one of the most exciting names in London’s celebrated jazz scene. A powerful tenor saxophonist who plays with visceral clout and spirals into whirlpool-like solos, her performance will seek to rip the veil of calm that hangs over Lamer Tree Gardens.
New York-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Sam Owns, aka Sam Evian, still remains relatively underrated this side of the pond, though his output consistently tests this, imprinting timeless melodies with warm, 60s-esque textures with a dreamy elegance. His debut Premium and last year’s follow up You, Forever, both released on Saddle Creek, are both filled with classic riffs, psych-tinged grooves and lush scoring that are executed tightly with his impressive band. Trust us, make sure you’re there for Sam.
Raucous, friendly, sleazy but sexy at the same time, it really is difficult to not be ensnared by the Viagra Boys, who will be waking everyone the fuck up from their Sunday afternoon snooze at the Big Top. If you are lost in the lull of Jessica Pratt’s enchanting whisper over at the Garden before hand, we recommend leaving at least fifteen minutes before, as the tent is going to be PACKED.
Big Top, 14:15-15:00
Ghanain enigma Ata Kak came to popularity after his inimitable cassette Obaa Sima was found and reissued by Awesome Tapes From Africa back in 2015. When we say inimitable, that’s really not hyperbole. Listen to the record and you’ll be confused yet smiling; a bizarre but brilliant blend of 90s dance beats, Ghanain highlife and fast-paced rap, Obaa Sima is everything live that it is on record – a guaranteed highlight!
Big Top, 17:00-18:00
Following their close friend and collaborator Cate Le Bon on the Woods stage, Deerhunter’s Sunday evening performance should be the weekend’s dramatic climax. Given that the band formed around the same time as End of The Road in the mid 00s, it’s surprising that this will be their first appearance at Lamer Tree Gardens, but that makes their performance all the more exciting. From the dreamy swells of ‘Agoraphobia’ to the cinematic krautrock of ‘Desire Lines’ to the grizzly folkrock of ‘Snakeskin’ to the majesty of ‘What Happens To People’, Bradford Cox and Co.’s career-spanning set is our most-anticipated.