Monday, 11 March 2013

Threshold Day Three - A Spectacular Finale!

As I woke up on Sunday morning, buzzing for the day ahead, I had no idea of just quite how wide a variety of acts I would spend my day seeing. The previous day had now started to blend into one big memory and I felt the need to go out and immerse myself in various other events to create similar lasting thoughts of the festival.

Arriving just before the crack of noon, I was sent down to cover some of the fringe highlights at the Albert Docks. After a quick perusing of what was on offer, I started my day’s entertainment down in the basement of Baby Blue where Top and Tale were putting on a variety show to a rather minute Sunday morning audience. Presented by ‘The Sirens’, the showcase included abstract sketches, plenty of ukelele, women with beards, and a wonderfully told story from the thoroughly entertaining Daniel Serridge. 

Whilst I was at the docks, I also took the opportunity to pop into PanAm to see some of the acoustic treats on offer, standing out rather obviously from the Mother’s Day crowd. I managed to catch a few artists performing a couple of songs each, the most memorable being a young woman named Alex (she didn’t give any further information) who, upon starting, announced that this was her first gig. The opening night nerves were visible but she was very much a consummate professional who held herself together long enough to keep the crowd’s attention until she departed the stage.

Eventually I managed to pull myself away from the fringe and back up to the Camp and Furnace, just in time to see Artaud On Cruelty. Having no prior knowledge of the subject, I went in bright-eyed and bushy tailed, hoping to learn something from the event. Actor Julian Waite was the perfect presenter of such an event and the combination of his delivery with the visual art of Richard Molony kept the audience aghast throughout, except for a fair few giggles when the screen behind Waite starting to show various different animations of CGI cows. 

Following this performance I made a frantic dash to the Elevator Bar, just in time to catch Matt Kerr perform on ever-changing guitars. Kerr was able to show off his sublime technical knowledge to the slowly growing crowd and by the end of his set most of the bar were hoping for a couple more songs. Returning to the Gold Room, I managed to catch a portion of The Ghost Of Piramida, a harrowing film by Danish director Andreas Koefoed with music supplied by Efterklang. Documenting the band’s visit to the Russian mining town mentioned in the film’s title, the film was able to get emotions flowing with an abstract format combined with the wonderfully dark and menacing music of the band making for a more than suitable accompaniment.

After this I managed to grab a quick coffee at Unit 51 before heading into the talk Reflections of Giants in which a panel discussed the marvellous giants that the city played host to last year. This was probably my highlight of the weekend as the very enthusiastic panel revelled in discussing their fond memories of the event in front of a not quite double-figured crowd, making you feel like you were almost out for lunch with the group. Led by Simon Hedger, the panel consisted of those who had operated the figures (Trevor Fleming and our very own Chris Carney), the dog’s stage manager (Ema Quinn), and Jean Luc Courcoult’s interpreter (Polly Moseley). The hour flew by in a flash and all involved seemed satisfied with the overall discussion.

Next up for me was my good friend Mr Thom Morecroft, performing with band in the Furnace. Thom has got such a brilliantly powerful voice that as I entered the venue during his first song I was able to immediately identify his unique, impressive sound. The 4 members on stage all seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and the audience could be easily seen enjoying themselves and getting involved in the music. Following Thom, I headed into the Blade Factory to watch Jazzhands, an altogether very different experience. 

Not knowing anything about the band, the excessive percussion sections and the use of masks amongst other costumes immediately caught my attention as the heavy handed funk style group proceeded to blow the audience away, perhaps a little too loudly for the small-sized room yet an astonishing impact was still certainly made. After crossing the lobby and pulling myself away from all the marvellous food-y smells on offer I camped out in the Camp to end my day. The Creative Community Choir were incredibly impressive, the range of harmonies filling the space and the identifiability of the songs chosen helped endear them to their audience. 

There was such a positive nature to the choir that seemed to lift everyone’s spirits, particularly those of the new weary volunteers who were starting to wilt after such a hectic weekend. The final curtain for me was drawn by Operation Lightfoot whose combination of atmospheric, moving music worked together with some very vivid and message-ridden visuals to get the brains of the audience ticking. With wonderful vocal harmonies and an impressive overall stage sound, the crowd were very happy to immerse themselves in this unique act.

Threshold has been a brilliant experience for me, as i’m sure it has for most people involved, and my only thoughts now are about making sure I can get back to the festival again next year! Truly, this has been an event to be proud of.

Threshold Festival Past...