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28 August 2004

Festivals 04
The Secret Garden 2004

Motel 74
January Heart
Into My Blood
Let It Fall

Review by JCE

The Secret Garden Festival seemed just that - very Secret. Even the AA road signs on the way there just said SGP. Set on a farm near Huntingdon, just past a beautifully hidden village, I guess this is what Glastonbury looked like when it started. A smattering of food tents, chill out areas, a tented bar and even a dress up tent, from which I saw a man emerge with an all in one swimsuit, goggles and a snorkel. He then did the breaststroke, slowly, across the site to the bar for a well deserved pint! The whole atmosphere was very relaxed with all the bands mingling amongst the crowd, checking out the events and areas. Even the toilets were clean and usable!

Taking to the stage in broad daylight, well a little overcast daylight, Carina came on to a sparsely populated audience, with almost as many photographers as listeners gathered in front of the small stage. Wearing her "special festival shoes" she started with Motel 74, but the tuning of her guitar was not what it could have been. In fact it was so bad that she stopped playing it in the second number - Shoot. Even so, the audience had swelled considerably as those on the site came to see and hear what was happening. This is one, for me, that just gets better. Tom's slide guitar work matched by the Smudges bass and John's thumping drums perfectly complement Carina's sharp biting delivery and this was one of the best live versions I've heard.

Surprising the third song was a new one and introduced as its first airing, with a reference to her leaping into the radio single writing area. Although the setlist had it down as "New One", the title is January Heart. An interesting slow tempo track, that still needs some refining. But a beautiful flowing track that has more than enough musical and lyrical hooks that should make it a successful single. The chorus of "You got me with a heavy heart" is one that will stay with you all day. Sadly it didn't seem to have an end to me. It just ended. I got the feeling that the band seemed to still feel uncomfortable playing it. Full of promise though.

A great Monument was followed by a stunningly passionate Into My Blood. The highlight of the show. By this stage the sun had come out and bathed the stage in a lovely glow. The crowd had started to really get into the music and these tracks were greeted by enthusiastic cheers and applause at their ends.

More guitar problems mainly caused by Carina kicking her peddles during the previous number meant a slight pause in proceedings, but this gave a chance to plug the album and mention the after show sales stand - manned (?) by Carina herself

Elegy followed and was one of the best versions I've heard although the tuning still left a little to be desired, and one of John's drums rolling off its stand provided an interesting touch. The still poorly tuned guitar marred Let It Fall a little and meant that some of the passion wasn't there, well, not until the Pixies section when we got the passion that so typifies all her performances

Overall a good performance, at a great festival that can only get bigger, hopefully without losing its great vibe.

Written for

Photos by JCE