This afternoon I strolled down to Arnold Circus, over towards Shoreditch way, to watch some bands play for free in the bandstand there. This was part of a so-called "picnic", and a very Shoreditch event it was too. Half the people there had beards. The other half were women.
The weather was terrible and, as a result, the numbers were low. Both of which were a shame because they had some good acts lined up.
The first I saw was Laura Hocking, a English vaguely folkie type with a very nice line in lyrics. I particularly liked "Strongmen and Acrobats", which she wrote for her autistic brother. It is featured on her new 4-track EP, available on Bandcamp.
"Strongmen And Acrobats" - Laura Hocking & The Long Goodbye
Next up - well after wandering round aimlessly in the rain for half an hour - were the band I had gone down to see, The Head And The Heart. This was by way of a warm-up for their rather more prestigious gig this evening, when they support My Morning Jacket at Somerset House. Although we only got the slim-line version - the full line-up has seven of them rather than three.
Their self-titled debut album is well worth checking out if you like rustic sounds and harmonies. Despite the conditions they were warmly received this afternoon. And the beards went down very well, of course.
"Down In The Valley" - The Head And The Heart
If you like beards, you could do worse than check out the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.