Tramlines 2016: Napoleon IIIrd @ Folk Forest

Review of Napoleon IIIrd’s Tramlines slot at The Folk Forest.

This was always my tip for the unexpected hit of the festival, and so far, Napoleon IIIrd is still a hot contender, although I’m not too sure what the
good folks of the Folk Forest thought of this decidedly un-folk like band.

From the outset, the relentless, booming, almost unaccompanied drumbeat took a few by surprise. Napoleon IIIrd don’t play conventional songs, it’s more that they create a bed of sound, usually with a beat, and relying heavily on repetition, which builds into a gradually evolving piece of music. Some might challenge whether parts of it were music at all, but in the context of each song, it all worked. A couple of people arriving late with their sandals, tofu and picnic blankets seemed to think the band were still sound-checking, but most of those in the leafy glade accepted the music for what it was and enjoyed themselves. It wasn’t all droning guitars, drums and saxophone.

There were some sections which resembled actual songs with some sort of conventional structure, but in the main their music was very much toward the more avant-gard end of the musical spectrum. Well done to the Folk Forest for this unexpected slice of weirdness early in the day.

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