Where The Action Is Rock Festival, Day 2

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Second day of a rainy festival. This time I had the best of company: my wife joined me to hear Duffy. But we started out with excellent popsters the Magic Numbers. Good music, charming banter and nice to look at.

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Jenny Wilson was yet another impressive Swedish surprise to me. She looks like David Bowie in drag and sings like the love child of Prince and Annie Lennox. I liked her tight funky up-tempo tunes best, where she sounds like the music that might play in the head of the aforementioned short dude from Minneapolis when he lies awake at four in the morning.

El Perro del Mar was the most psychedelic act we caught, with groovy bass and effect-laden female vocals, being yet another testament to the quality of our homegrown pop. Mostly it’s simply a singing woman with a tambourine accompanied by guitar-bass-drums, but it’s hard to describe: Mazzy Star springs to mind, as dreamy as that, but faster.

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Finally we listened to Duffy, the Welsh soul singer. Musically her performance was great, with a highly professional band supporting her trademark muscular smurfy soprano. The lead guitarist, though not Bernard Butler, was excellent.

I was a little embarrassed by Duffy’s appearance. All the other musicians at the festival looked and acted like people, and if they were sexy then they were unselfconsciously so. Duffy had the hair and makeup of a Barbie doll and acted alluring in a really hammy yet clearly not ironic way. The effect was then tripled because her background singers were a pair of twins who looked just like Duffy and did coordinated dance moves throughout. Kind of painful when poor underweight Duffy kept wiggling her bottom at us. But she’s a gifted singer and that’s why we came to hear her.

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