Monday, 7 July 2008

The Mighty Boosh Festival @ The Hop Farm, Kent, 5th July 2008

A day of comedy and music chosen by and headlined by The Mighty Boosh, that’s what we had in store and that’s what we got too. The weather was spot on for a day spent in a field, sunbeams aplenty. After finding the venue in record time with no cues, we wondered if anyone else was actually coming, but it soon filled up. The main stage was pretty damn big and covered in Boosh skulls and all that stuff. There where masses of food outlets and ‘Nabooteques’ selling merchandise. While wondering the site I walked past the fruity toned comedian Matt Berry that was pretty cool. The sound system was playing as we went in with non other than Midfield General the Skint records head honcho on the wheels of steel. He was playing funk and soul to a scant crowd as everyone came in. Polar Bear soon came on to open the proceedings as the first band of the day. They where brilliant as usual and had acquired a different sax payer since the last time I saw them. I’m not sure how many people knew their music but quite a few people got into it and where won over in the end. The odd bunch of lads and general nobs were talking through out the set, which was annoying yet expected unfortunately. Polar Bear played a set pretty much full of new tunes and they were all spot on, the album drops in two weeks apparently and will be well worth checking out. They were my favourite band of the day, but then I only saw Polar Bear, Robots In Disguise and The Mighty Boosh. The latter bringing a whole dose of fun to the proceedings and more than outshone my expectations as a headlining festival comedy music crossover band, but more on that later. RiD played to a sizable crowd that mostly featured screaming young girls and where pretty fun too. They played all their hits to a crowd of obvious fans, as Dee in the group is going out with Noel from the Boosh and features in many episodes.

Comedy was what I mainly went for and hell we got a whole truckload of that in The Velvet Onion comedy tent. This was a little small for my liking and I didn’t like that everyone was sitting down the whole time, it made it well hard to get in and out to see your favourite performer. These were the only gripes for the Onion though so it wasn’t all-bad.

Josie Long was the first excellent stand up I saw, she is so enthusiastic and had some clever stuff that went down really well, my favourite was the piece on spelling and grammar, and how she loves it when its done badly as its more expressive, that’s also my excuse for being crap at it. Oh the MC for the comedy tent was Greg Fleet a guy from OZ and he kept the tent rocking the whole time in-between sets with banter and bottles of water for anyone who had stayed there all day. Arj Barker from Flight of the Concords was on next and was brilliant. He did some great stuff and I also walked past him twice later that day, I wish I had said hello now.

David O’Doherty was excellent and played a little toy electronic piano, my favourite joke of his was a song about having slight super powers, you know nothing special, just stuff like being able to open jars and that. Matt Berry read some poetry, the one I remember best was called What If, Or? And mostly abused people. He then played an acoustic solo version of Darkplace super song One Track Lover with the rap done by crowd and the theme tune to Snuff Box. Mathew Holness did his first set of the day as folk singer extraordinaire; Merriman Weir. This involved brilliant character work with long patter and really long folk strumming followed by a punch line. He played a song so sad once a flock of seagulls flying over head, once decided to kill them selves in perfect formation.

The worst act in my eyes anyway was Paddy’s Fun Club it was freaking lame, 6th form comedy it was a bit embarrassing to be honest. I was more disappointed in Frankie Boyle who headlined the comedy tent as he was really hit and miss. Most of his material I had heard from TV repeats of Mock The Week, where he really shines, yet live I don’t think he had enough firepower. He was either fairly funny or just a bit offensive and boring. I was so looking forward to seeing him too. Anyway there was plenty more comedy to rave about such as the brilliant Robin Ince. He was fantastic; I have enjoyed him before and this time he was in even better form. I love his style of comedy, the curmudgeonly rant that steers through intellectual territory and then ends in a peach of a punch line that pretty much anyone can understand. He is great at a simile. I love the comparison of Americans foreign policy to the nursery rhyme the old woman that swallowed a fly.

Ross Noble was up next and he had the biggest crowd I had seen all day at the Velvet Onion. He never disappoints and really worked the tent like a Guinea Pig with attention deficit disorder that loves to make his arse descend upon the audience in a sexy pole dancer style. I’m not even sure if he managed to get out any written material he seemed to improvise the whole set and I wasn’t even sure if they would be able to get him off the stage, I have never seen him do less than 2 hours before. He gave everyone in the whole tent two free imaginary monkeys, one for us all to put on
ebay and one to keep. Nobel is a legend…

Mathew Holness then did his final set of the weekend as dream weaver Garth Merenghi. He only had a ten minuet slot unfortunately, which was a little disappointing, I’m not to down about it mind as I saw him do a much more elongated version of Grey Balls: The Legend Of Grey Balls at the Royal Albert Hall charity gig Noel Fielding hosted earlier in the year. Merenghi set out the rules, which involved not touching him, no stage invade or you will get punched, and a metal barrier may come between author and arsehole if he gets bored of you, apart from that he is happy to be reading for us all.?.?.?…?.

Apart form Farnkie Boyle who I have already mentioned headlined and disappointed, the only other person I saw in the Velvet Onion was Mark Watson. He was fantastic and really warmed to the crowd. He almost died mind, which would have put a real downer on the proceedings but he soon recovered from swallowing water down the wrong way. This was followed by the nicest heckle of all time of no don’t try and be funny wait a bit then carry on when your ready.

Back on the main stage AKA Monkey Hell I vaguely saw The Charlatans as I wandered about looking for food and drinking a pint of Otter. I missed Gary Numan unfortunately as I was enjoying Robin Ince and Ross Nobel so much and didn’t fancy leaving them behind. Nobel was formulating a plan to invade Numans performance with a singing mass getting gradually quicker to try get him to go mental and have to speed up to. But I digress. On with the main stage. Har Mar Superstar was his usual self and ended up stripping to his pants, I’m so glad I wasn’t paying attention to that as I ate my hot dog. Peaches DJ set was full of banging dirty electro clash as she wondered the stage sipping Champaign and wearing a golden cloak. She sang a little and plyed many tunes with dirty lyrics, not a bad worm up to the main event.

The crowed didn’t quite know what to expect from The Mighty Boosh as they were about to headline their very own festival. They didn’t disappoint as they made one hell of a musical comedy showcase. The Moon introduced the band in his own unique style, you know the one, a lunar retard. Then some electro perked up and a huge Pirate ship sailed onto stage with Vince Noir dressed in full Pirate gear and glitter bal suit as the crowed went mad for it. In traditional Boosh style Howard just got a rubber dingy and some paddles. The rendition of Future Sailor went down well, as did the whole set. The musicianship was damn good, the drummer and bass player brought in were wicked. Julian AKA Howard was pretty much the musical lynchpin on stage as he wacked out tunes on a Gitboard AKA Keytar during Electro Boy and hammered some serious riffage on his guitar throughout. Noel was a wonderful front man and worked the crowed in style, with plenty of banter, jokes and even giving out his water colours while dressed as Old Gregg. All the characters from The Boosh appeared through the performance, from Bob Fossil, to the Funk. Many of them where in-fact played by Rich Fulture who is like some kind of freaky comedy chameleon of some kind, the most deranged kind, the sexy man freak. The dude who plays Bolo who also has amazing pipes on him, played percussion and screamed a lot, all while playing many characters. The show flowed really well as they did skits and jokes between each tune that joined them together so well. Noel was Old Gregg one moment and the Hitcher the next, riding the back of a huge inflatable eel, which he fell off. Eels was done brilliantly they did a epic version of it that started off as some kind of Gypsy punk number, went through rave and even had a massive dub breakdown with huge basslines and echo drenched vocals. The punk tune about taking a shit on your mum was a high-energy number and was followed by Julian doing a jazz version once Noel had left which was wicked. He can play guitar brilliantly and loved being on a huge stage playing these songs. Only a little crimping featured in the set in the form of a medley, that involved the soup song and bouncy bouncy. Other highlights where Har Mar Superstar coming on for a dance off with Bob Fossil, Peaches telling Bolo he was doing her tune wrong and whipping out a verse of her own Fuck The Pain Away. Naboo riding a huge bird then turning his back on an audience member was pretty fun. There is literally too much to tell you about the performance they packed it full of so many nuggets. The end was damn special mind as they did the full on rock thing of using glitter cannons, fireworks and streamers as they rocked out to Nanageddon and Charlie. They play those two tune well heavy, they could be mistaken as a real band, I’m kidding they are more than worthy of being called a band. The Mighty Boosh obviously had a lot of fun and really pulled off there very own festival.


Anonymous said...

great review, boosh is amazing :)

James said...

Thank you very much, I had a great time it was so much fun. I keep remember other ace bits too, that I forgot to write about it was a wicked day :)

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