Posts Tagged ‘Festival’

Another year of the Reading & Leeds festival has passed and it’s another year I’m glad I watched from the comfort of my settee. Any twang of envy felt observing the human pyramids is dismissed with the unwelcome memory of wading in human effluent and resorting to rip-off greasy burgers. Now, let’s talk music: who were the Festival Republic stars of 2012 and who deserves to be detained in the Lock Up, key thrown away?

Endeavouring to steer clear of endorsing the same bands, I must nevertheless give nods to Florence and the Machine & The Black Keys. Flo’ flourished in her main stage slot, prancing about the floor as balletic as ever, the day two deluge failing to dampen her spirits. The rabbit-hearted, ex-art school Welch also entertained when giving her security guard the slip.

Meanwhile, Black Keys’ showcased their 7th sleeve El Camino (“the way”) which has helped pave “their route” to mainstream success. Dan Auerbach ground out the bluesy guitars whilst Patrick Carney pounded the percussions like they were bin lids. Such has been the Keys’ parachuting to stardom, teenage girls were spotted wearing self-decorated t-shirts sporting the messages “I’m Howlin’ for You Dan” and “Dan, I’ll be your Next Girl!” The opening two numbers did not disappoint.

As for the headliners? The Cure were a bore – Robert Smith‘s pallid appearance threatening to actually make boys cry…  Kasabian were also something of a mixed bag. Fire caught on but for the most part Meighan and co looked subdued. Fortunate then that Foo Fighters‘ three hour closing stint was a true lesson in rock & roll brilliance.

Lowlight of the week, perhaps, came from the lips of Fearne ‘amazing’ Cotton when she hailed The Hives set in the NME Tent as “so live”. Sometimes it is just better to say nothing. Quite how “so live” distinguishes The Hives from the 200-or-so other, very much live acts performing over the weekend is a mystery! Maybe miming is secretly more widespread at festivals than we are led to believe… The freeze-frame with which The Hives finished mirrored the astonishment on my chops whenJubilee sickbagCotton dropped this latest cherry.

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Reading & Leeds NME tent has a rich tradition of spawning the latest talent. A few years back Pendulum, Vampire Weekend and later Florence & The Machine all made their impact.

This year it’s The Vaccines and Justin Young’s blaring lyrics of Wetsuit and Eh-eheh-eheh-eh-Eleanor. Their highlight is a cover of pre-punk band The Standells’ 60’s number Good Guys Don’t Wear White. Tom Furse AKA Tom Cowan of The Horrors delivers a Stranglers sound with the quality keyboard riffs echoing of No More Heroes.

Cue Norgaard. The triumphant two-and-a-half minute set-ender is such a Ramones-esque romp, spontaneous yelps of “Blitzkrieg Bop” are expected at any moment.

Click here to watch interactive highlights.

Good Guys Don’t Wear White is at 21:30.

Photograph: Robin Byles

Following a year’s meticulous planning and eager anticipation, the city of Sheffield is poised once more to host the Tramlines Festival 2011. Over 3 (hopefully scorchio) summer days, Tramlines 2011 will witness a staggering 200+ bands performing LIVE across 70 stages. The FREE music festival conceived in 2009 aims to “showcase the amazing, diverse music” that the Steel City has to offer. This year Tramlines expects to haul a record 175,000 people into the city. Come and join in the celebrations!

When’s it kicking off? Thursday 21st (although officially) Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th July.

Where’s the buzz? Main Stage located on Devonshire Green… Multiple destinations along Division Street… Corporation, The Shakespeare, O2 Academy, Leadmill, The Harley, University of Sheffield and many more pubs, bars, nooks, crannies, pavement…

Who’s playing? Guillemots kick off proceedings with a cheeky set on Thursday evening at Leadmill… The Futureheads… Los Campesinos!… Dananananaykroyd… Toddla T… Ms Dynamite… Ash close the Main Stage on Sunday.

What’s new? This year’s event will be sponsored by Nokia… The University of Sheffield will become the Dance Village… The 2010 inaugural Blues & Ale Trail running from Shalesmoor, Kelham Island to the University Arms now has a Main Stage… Heeley City Farm will showcase a new folk/community event on the fringes of the city with beer tents, stalls and more…

What types of music? Everything… Reggae, blues, folk, rock, indie, pop, r&b, jazz, rap, dance…

Just popular bands? No… local talent, unsigned acts, acoustic sets, buskers… Tramlines truly has something for everyone.

A kilt-clad Tinie Tempah stole the plaudits at a rainy yet fabulous T in the Park 2011. On what looked a windswept day, Tinie endeared himself to the Scottish faithful by donning the nation’s most famous garment mid-set. Running through successive hits taken off his number 1 debut Disc-Overy, Tinie and his entourage detoured from Wonderman to Written in the Stars via the crowd-thrilling Miami to Ibiza. Calls of “where’s the moshpit” and repeated instructions to “bounce” engaged the audience, inspiring waves of jumping jacks. Most looked ironically spent by the time curtain closer Pass Out arrived. Tempah’s stage presence is energetic and firmly in the same mould as fellow London rapper Mr Rascal. Top marks.

Of the headliners, Foo Fighters take the honours for a sterling performance of pure rock and roll. The Foos – completing a hat-trick of T appearances – were in fine form, arriving on stage early to the delight of the Scottish folk. I want to know what Reggie Yates smelled on Dave Grohl’s breath backstage. Whatever it was, the much-loved frontman dominated the stage with his head-bashing antics reminiscent of a headless chicken.

Elsewhere, Friendly Fires Hawaiian Air banished thoughts of the weather while Chase & Status successfully doubled up from Glastonbury in King Tut’s. White Lies gloomy brand of guitar rock also excited despite ghostly lead singer Harry McVeigh’s adamance on disguising all emotion.

The only lowlights of the weekend for me were Gerard Way’s painfully whiny vocals during MCR’s outing and The Saturdays tragic cover of Aloe Blacc’s I Need a Dollar. Try perfecting your own songs first ladies. Did anyone else think Liam Gallagher’s hat and anorak combo likened him evermore to a scarecrow?

T in the Park continues to be my personal pick of the festivals broadcasted by the BBC. What’s yours?

Last Saturday saw me unintentionally stumble across the Godiva Festival in Coventry. An attendant for other purposes, I was completely oblivious to the city’s get-together. The nature and magnitude of the event soon became apparent though as the train from Nuneaton piled up with a lary hoard of Stella-fuelled 13-20 year olds. Who can blame them? 

The celebratory music festival which began as a one-dayer in 1997 has previously staged the likes of The Human League, Kasabian, The Cribs, Idlewild, locals The Enemy and believe it or not, one Leo Sayer! This year’s do was graced by headliners Heaven 17, Athlete and amongst other Young Knives, Sandi “one-hit-wonder” Thom and Jeremy Clarkson’s favourite act – Lethal Bizzle. The only identifiable song I recognised from inside my peripherally-placed alternative tent was Whistle For The Choir courtesy of Jon Fratelli’s acoustic guitar – always a sweet listen. 

Musical talent was accompanied by a fine assortment of boutiques and stalls including homemade jams, spangly bracelets and voodoo gear. The Coventry Telegraph reliably informs me that the three day weekender attracted a record audience of 120,000; transforming the ‘Ghost Town’ into a carnival atmosphere. Let’s hope the entertainment and income generated outweighed the disgraceful 30 TONNES of refuse the City Council had to dispose of.