End of the Road Festival 2013 - Saturday Review

I actually have a decent night sleep and Saturday soon arrives, the kids are nice enough to lie-in until almost eight o'clock and it's already pretty warm. Shorts are definitely the order of the day and we had for breakfast on the double decker bus - the queue is long but the bacon sandwich and coffee soon make up for it.

We head for the craft area again and my five year old has the time of her life first decorating a record with paint, then colouring in on a massive colouring board and then after she spends a full hour and a half making a Bobby Dazzler doll - all free of charge.

I take the little one for a walk around the woods and have another coffee sitting under a tree - there's all sorts of installations and things hidden in trees to discover (a picture below a homage to Scooby Doo perhaps) as well as peacocks roaming around freely - a perfect chilled out morning is had.

At half one we head for music, it's nice when a band are clearly enjoying themselves and that's obviously the case with Laish a Brighton quintet I'd not seen since The Great Escape in 2012.

Their sound is hard to pigeonhole, it's more than your standard folk-rock band - sparked with life, booming percussion, string flourishes, wry lyrics and the delicious backing harmonies of Emma Gatrill (who I've featured here a few times) and Martha Rose all combine with impeccable ease.

Daniel Green drives it all forward with a voice that rises in fall in accordance with the instrumentation, from soft and gentle to soaring peaks. The audience is well sized and the people next to me rush to the stage after the show to take Daniel up on his offer of a free hug.

We stop for lunch, a game of Pucket (a board of which we later buy and now finds itself sitting on my table) and a drink. After an easy hour we head to the Garden Stage in full sunshine to see Angel Olsen. I had listened to her briefly beforehand and was expecting a stunning voice and heart-breaking songs and that we were, but her hour long set was much better than that.

Absolutely sublime from start to end, as beguiling vocal and intimate performance as you could hope to witness, Angel in complete control throughout, her guitar plucking combines modern contemporary folk with a timeless singer-songwriter sound that could have been written some sixty years ago. In this weather as Angel fights with a full sun in her view her sad, forlorn songs could easily find new meaning, either way it's hypnotic and devastatingly beautiful. The silence from the crowd confirms they're hooked to her every word too.

We take another mini break before the busiest two hours of the day. It's unfortunate that four acts I really wanted to see (all four featured in my pre-festival picks) clash heavily. I decide to catch some, if not all, of all four so we make our way to the Tipi Tent for Golden Fable.

The sound and environment is perfect for them and they sparkle with precise beats puncturing their soaring melodies, it's both expansive and enchanting with Rebecca's beautiful vocals casting a potent spell over the crowd. Five songs in when I decide it's time to head to the main stage I'm completely torn. Thankfully the decision is made easier as I'm seeing the band again in just a couple of weeks and so I head to the main stage for Warpaint, one of the weekends main attractions.

Things aren't quite right from the outset, the start is slightly delayed with technical hiccups, it unfortunately sets the tone for the gig. Muddy sound and perhaps the bands slight rustiness mean the guitar textures and harmonies don't really click until three of four songs in with "Undertow". There are four new tracks in the set, a couple introduce an electronic sound, one very 80's and I'll definitely need to hear them again. I love this band and have seen them a dozen times already but I struggle to really connect with this performance. As Emily takes up a solo finale of "Baby" I return to the Tipi Tent and discover the rather brilliant Freedom lager, it goes down far too easily. (One niggling complaint I'll mention now was the queues for the real ale tent - I think the demand was underestimated).

I'm here for Anna Von Hausswolff and I regret missing the first fifteen minutes of her set, it soon become the highlight of the weekend (along side David Byrne & St Vincent), as compelling and breathtaking as anything I've seen in a long while.

The quintet of musicians form a semi circle around the stage with Anna on one side hunched aside her organ. "Mountains Crave" utterly transfixes before the rest of the set manages to somehow raise the intensity even more so. Striking vocals and shimmering, searing instrumentation from her wonderful band (especially the drummer) make for a vast and dramatic sound that makes the audience react like very few I've witnessed during a festival set - completely hypnotised by its spellbinding brilliance there's no sound at all until the conclusion when Anna receives a huge applause, I don't think anyone was ready for it to end.

I head to the Garden Stage next for Daughter, I only manage to catch the last five songs and it's incredible to see quite how much Daughter have grown. The announcement of "Youth" is met with teenage squeals normally reserved for the likes of Take That, Elena' smiles at it too. What I hear is as emotional and haunting as I've become accustomed to. There's a massive crowd too, everyone grabs onto the warm and beauty the band deliver with such effortless ease.

Afterwards I return to the Tipi for more beer and check out Sigur Ros. I decide it's not really for me, take a little wander and then decide I'm old and as I know the kids will me waking me up early I head back to the tent - an early conclusion perhaps but another overwhelmingly satisfactory day ends.