Reviewed: Jam By The Lake 2012
by Patrick Bernard
It was that time of the year again as Van Mildert put on its best and opened its doors for Durham’s favourite music festival by a lake. It was of course Jam By The Lake 2012, that time-honoured student event at the end of the music calendar, and those in the mood for music and outdoor fun in the sun came from every corner.
The weather was not quite as willing to play nice and heavy rain the night before had the festival run for cover, but the show must go on, and even if a little behind schedule, cast and crew rallied for an agreeable afternoon.
A few familiar faces began the festivities as Samuel Idwal and Nick Wallis took to the ever so slightly raised platform and caught the end of brunch in the Mildert dinner hall, the crowd subdued at first by the last bits of their Weetabix. It was to remain an event beset by mealtimes. Already some strong slap-bass work, however, of which there was in fact a great deal over the course of the day. I was glad of the resurgence. A lot of sore thumbs though I am sure.
After breakfast The Quays took it well and truly downtown and played that funky music. All set to please the crowd I do at one point recollect the happy marriage of ‘Sexy and I Know It’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’. Wiggle indeed. Neo-classical stoner rock collective Myrmidons took it then back uptown before The Bluebuds gave us a little piece of the Appalachian Trail and a nice spot of the mandolin.
Treason Kings (formerly Black Water) got the crowd going, or at least as much as it was going to at half three in afternoon, by which I mean polite head nodding and foot wagging. Long hair, big flares and loud noise all went down a treat, apart perhaps for the equipment which threw in the towel in the middle of their last song. Twenty minutes, an emergency generator and a burger later, power was restored, and the band was able to finish their protracted set, this time without blowing a fuse.
Whether it might have been the comfy sofas, a convenient rug, the handful of beanbags on the floor or just unusual sloth, it was an occasion that was very much sat down. Despite the best efforts of Leeds boys Scams and their friendly, Skins generation indie music and a very deep scoop neck t-shirt, the crowd were reluctant to abandon their seats to pull some intrepid shapes in the large, empty oval space that was left.
Homegrown talents Wires, winners of Mildert Battle of the Bands, played out the penultimate set to a warm reception. A generous turnout at this point and every possible surface was sat upon. Headliners Vinyl Jacket were well worth something of a wait at the end (something to do with technology). Second Mildert appearance for the jaunty art rock set and a glad contribution to the lineup. A bright sunshine sound and a busy rhythm section put the weather aside and put a good few on their feet. There was even a song about a Koala at one point.
A pleasant way to end a pleasant day. I can’t say that it was the best Jam, unfortunate weather and technical conditions were not helpful, nor was the advent of the chair. But in the face of adversity it pulled through. Good bands and good music, what it’s all about right? Plus I had a really comfy spot on a sofa. I left before the raffle I regret to say.