Supersonic Festival 2011: Day 1 – Part 3 (Box Office & the Secret Chiefs)

Okay, it’s Saturday morning now. Time to do a quick wrap-up of yesterday’s happenings I feel.

So, got to the site, got signed in and got my shirt, then headed out to the box office which looked like this:

My job was to stand on the left and deal with paper tickets, and door sales. Mostly paper tickets though. Rip the stub, mark the hand for friday only, wristband and programme for weekenders. Easy.

We kicked off around 9.05, and just as with last year, the queue was super-busy for the first hour, non-stop people. After a while, I stopped even looking at people’s faces, getting into the routine of ripping the ticket and slapping on a wristband. After the first hour, it died down to dribs and drabs. There were a couple of people looking for a nightclub, slightly confused as to what was going on, but otherwise, fairly uneventful.

Having completed my shift, I walked across the canal bridge and headed over to Space 2 for to be ready for the mighty Secret Chiefs. Playing at the time, Mike Watt & the Missingmen, they sounded okay, but I missed the bulk of the set, so I wandered over to the merch table. Unfortunately, no SC3 hoodies on sale, but they did indeed carry the new 7″ vinyl, featuring Ishraqiyun on one side, and the first new FORMS material since 2004 on t’other.

Yeah! I now have five 7" records, all of which are Secret Chiefs 3 satellite bands.

Next I watched the Secret Chiefs 3 setting up, which was cool. Lots of instruments being tuned in ways that western minds never intended.

Trey Spruance, on the left, one of my musical heroes, fiddling with his electric saz. Which he would later play.

Their set actually kicked off a good five minutes earlier than scheduled, which was nice, and lasted for over an hour. My brief summary of it, is that it was one of the best musical performances I have ever seen. I don’t think I can really overstate how enjoyable it was. Personal highlights included The 3, Vajra, The 4, Brazen Serpent, Book T: Exodus, and as if for a treat just for me, they whipped out Labyrinth of Light for an encore.

New guy Matt Lebofsky on keys, a perfect fit for this band I think.
These are some of the best musicians in the world, for sure. Shazad Ismaily on bass, and Timb Harris here playing trumpet for Book T: Exodus (of cover of the theme from the film 'Exodus'), but he also played guitar, violin and some keys.
Trey Spruance is quite a fellow, playing all manner of guitars and other stringed instruments. He also happens to have assembled a very formidable touring ensemble. So three cheers for the man with the masterplan, and long may his fine works continue.

After that, I went back to the hotel, ate some crisps and went to bed, for t’was about 2.10AM when they finished up.

So, didn’t see a lot of bands, but the one that I did see genuinely exceeded all expectations. Honestly, when it got to Labyrinth of Light, I could barely contain my excitement. It’s the just about the perfect surf-rock tune. Check out this video from another performance of it.

Anyway, time to get up and head out, because from 12.00 – 4.00 I will be soldering and no doubt burning my fingers a couple times in the Mute Synth workshop. And then later on, I will be performing live with my fellow workshoppers at 10.00PM. I’ll see if I can capture some document of that moment because it will my first ever live performance, even if it is as part of a large group of people.


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