Great bands, new talents, plenty of rain and lots of mud – Standon Calling provided all the elements of a great British festival. I saw some of my favourite bands as well as discovering some new artists.
On Friday, I caught all of punk band Slaves’ set. In front of a raucous crowd, the Kent duo played hits such as ‘Sockets’, ‘Lies’ and ‘Where’s Your Car Debbie?’ to wild adulation from the crowd. I was also lucky enough to bump into drummer and lead vocalist Isaac Holman before the performance. They delivered a fast-paced gig that had the moshpit going crazy.
Rapper Akala also performed at the festival. Not your typical rapper, his songs touch on meaningful and important aspects of life as well as being politically charged. He was able to excite the crowd inside the packed new tent, ‘Cindy’s Motel’, with only a backing track and a drummer alongside him on stage. He ran through twelve years of material dating back to 2005 in an hour-long set.
My personal highlight of the festival was Cabbage, a post-punk band hailing from Mossley, near Manchester. Having recently supported bands including Blossoms and Kasabian, they performed on the smaller Laundry Meadows stage, giving the performance a more intimate feeling. The set included tunes such as ‘Terrorist Synthesizer’, ‘Kevin’ and ‘Necroflat in the Palace’.
I also managed to catch parts of a number of other artists’ sets. Four piece Yonaka are clearly destined for big things, and London band Tangerines evoke comparisons to Fat White Family. Other performers at the three-day festival included Grace Jones, Clean Bandit, Orbital, Editors and even actor and DJ Idris Elba.
The festival was a really great experience, even if by Sunday the mud had caused the site to become little more than a swamp. It was a diverse event, with genres ranging from pop and indie to grime and drum and bass being represented. These combined to form an exciting and memorable event for everyone who attended.
Alt-J have made a name for themselves since the release of their debut album An Awesome Wave in 2012 as a band who aren’t afraid to try anything new in their music, and it usually works. Their latest offering, Relaxer, features eight songs that transcend multiple genres in what is possibly their most complex record to date. Continue reading “Album Review: Alt-J’s RELAXER”
Innovative virtual band Gorillaz played an intimate gig at the Alban Arena in St Albans last night ahead of their ‘Humanz’ tour. The band, led by Blur frontman Damon Albarn, played an eclectic mix of songs, drawn from a number of their albums. Continue reading “Gig Review: Gorillaz in St Albans”
The Magic Gang have been making waves across the country over the last couple of years with their catchy brand of indie rock. With a host of EPs under their belt, they embarked on a headline tour, supported by Abattoir Blues and Paris Youth Foundation. I was lucky enough to catch them at my local venue, The Horn pub in St Albans.
The night began with Liverpool-based rock group Paris Youth Foundation, who played an enjoyable set of guitar rock. They were soon followed by Abattoir Blues, who impressed with their heavier sound, building up nicely to the main event. A few lucky attendees even noticed TMG frontman Jack Kaye in the crowd before his band performed.
The crowd had seemed relatively quiet and sedate during the two support acts, but this immediately changed when The Magic Gang came on. Within the first few bars of the jaunty track ‘Lady Please’ the moshpit had got into full swing. Despite being somewhat unknown on the mainstream stage, the band have steadily built a loyal fanbase, and the crowd screamed the words back at Kaye as they went through the setlist.
Their most popular song ‘All This Way’ elicited a strong positive reaction, and it was clear this was a band confident in their ability to perform. Other tracks that were particularly good included ‘Jasmine’, ‘How Can I Compete’, which comes off their most recent EP, the imaginatively titled ‘EP Three’, and ‘No Fun’, one of their earliest songs.
The band, which comprises of Kaye, fellow singer and guitarist Kristian Smith, bassist Gus Taylor and drummer Paeris Giles, are already one of indie music’s hottest acts and, by this showing, definitely have a very bright future ahead of them.
Blaenavon released their long-awaited debut album on Friday, and it was certainly worth the wait. The Hampshire outfit, who first appeared as teenagers five years ago, have shown that they are almost certain to be a major indie band for years to come.
What is perhaps most impressive about the album is how it defiantly decides to throw the rule book out of the window. Sure, there are tunes that can appeal to the masses such as My Bark Is Your Bite, but the album also features three songs that surpass the six-minute mark, including the atmospheric and beautiful Swans. Continue reading “Album Review: Blaenavon’s That’s Your Lot”
On Thursday night I finally attended my first ever concert – indie outfit Glass Animals at the O2 Academy in Brixton. The band, whose hits include Hazey, Gooey, Agnes and Pork Soda, delivered a show that will be remembered for a long time. Continue reading “Gig Review: Glass Animals at Brixton”
In celebration of the eleven-year anniversary of the kings of indie rock Arctic Monkeys’ debut album, Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not, I’ve decided to attempt to rank their five albums so far. First things first, all of their albums are fantastic. The Sheffield band’s style has changed so dramatically but with so much success that it is very difficult to compare them. With a sixth album (hopefully?!) coming our way in the next year or two this list is open to opinion. When it comes down to it, the case for every one of the albums to be their best can be made. However, here goes with my offering. Continue reading “Arctic Monkeys Albums Ranked”