End of the Road: A Christmas Tale.
Updated: Dec 26, 2022
Words by Augustus Carse
Photography by Agustus Carse
I’m sick as a dog. In one hand, a packet of strepsils, in the other, a ticket for End of the Road Xmas Party. In my pocket are crumbs of a (dear God I didn’t realise how strong those were) brownie. I walk into the Lexington wide-eyed and tight-throated. I delicately navigate a social interaction with the barman and receive a tiny glass of water. I head upstairs and await the first of tonight’s lineup - Tapir!.
Now, Tapir!’s band name irritates me because I’m not sure how to use punctuation around it. Apostrophes and full stops look a bit fucking weird after exclamation marks.! This is,;” however, my only gripe. For a man in a fragile state, they were a grace. The lead singer was robed and messianic, crowned in a white halo and delivering his lyrics with delicacy and poise. Beautifully lifted when paired with female vocals and a trumpet that shifted hauntingly through the mix. An altogether wonderful opener, catering to my folk persuasions and setting the evening to a gentle tone.
Step outside. Breathe. More brownie. More water. Ice? Really? It’s fucking baltic outside. There’s barely even space in the glass.
Back in for Bingo Fury.
You would be forgiven for thinking Bingo Fury is the name of a band. It is the name of a man who comes with a band. The performance reflected this approach. For a man who has surrounded himself with seriously capable musicians, Bingo seemed to want attention directed toward himself more than anyone else. Whilst his band ran off on jazzy, trumpet-led tangents, Bingo was on the side, mock-falling over and scratching away on his guitar - apparently under the impression that jazz is just wrong notes. These moments were interspersed by Bingo’s lengthy spoken word pieces and piano accompaniments. Women were described as debonair, and dancing around his liver. Although it wasn’t really my thing that night, there were clear allusions to King Krule, or Leonard Cohen - especially in Bingo’s vocal delivery. If I ever saw them again, I’d like to see a more cohesive unit, celebrating the group’s talent rather than the somewhat self-indulgent, perhaps self-important performance that it was that evening.
Out. Stand in the smoking area. You can’t just stand on your own. Look around? Not smoking. Everyone will think you’re a murderer. Quick, get inside. Queue for a single of water on the rocks?
Upstairs. Front right. PVA.
PVA don’t miss a beat from the word GO! Straight into it with their signature, highly danceable, electronic music. Ella’s lyrics and vocal melodies drip and slither through the whole thing, and I’m hooked. Beforehand, I caught up with PVA’s Josh. Fresh off the back of their debut album, and accompanying tour, the band are ready to go into hiding for a little bit. He became quietly animated talking about the prospect of writing again, and there’s no doubt the rest of the band feel the same. After a bit we touched on the topic of folk influence in their music. Some will know the BBC1 live session, in which they covered Big Thief’s ‘Not’; and those familiar with End of the Road Festival will know how closely folk music sits to its heart.
To me it seemed interesting that a band like PVA (who are about as sonically distant from folk as it gets) would have so much to do with folk. The key here is apparently Ella (lead vocalist). A huge admirer of lyrical storytelling, folk lyricism, and Big Thief’s Adrienne Lenker; she takes great influence in her own writing and delivery. And once you see it, you see it. Writhing, twisting, and squirming snake-like on stage, she breathes vibrant life into synthetic sounds as they pound their way through the room.
As I hit the tail end of the evening, played out (credits over black), I reflected upon the night. It seemed strangely cohesive. I look forward to PVA’s work in particular and anticipative of Tapir!’s inevitable releases.
Tickets for End of The Road 2023 are on sale now!
Follow Bingo Fury
Keep to date with Hideous Mink Records