Hello Thomas.

No thought was put into this.

August 19, 2014 at 6:22am
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Packed.

Packed.

12:08am
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ba gua

August 14, 2014 at 11:24pm
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BREAK-UPS ARE FUN!

BREAK-UPS ARE FUN!

4:52pm
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£10 for a picture? Nah, this’ll do.

£10 for a picture? Nah, this’ll do.

11:26am
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Last minute line-up change for Manchester tonight! #HoraDouse

Last minute line-up change for Manchester tonight! #HoraDouse

August 13, 2014 at 7:15pm
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Reblogged from struggletown

Excellent DIY Labels →

struggletown:

When it comes to DIY music in the UK, I don’t think it should be a competition, I reckon there’s enough ‘business' to go around, and while we have a tonne of records we'd really like you to buy, that doesn't mean there aren't other labels putting out great stuff that we really think you should…

6:27pm
15 notes
Reblogged from struggletown

Excellent DIY Labels →

struggletown:

When it comes to DIY music in the UK, I don’t think it should be a competition, I reckon there’s enough ‘business' to go around, and while we have a tonne of records we'd really like you to buy, that doesn't mean there aren't other labels putting out great stuff that we really think you should…

6:17pm
0 notes
Solid line-up tomorrow in Manchester!

Solid line-up tomorrow in Manchester!

6:09pm
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This is such a wicked free compilation. The new #HoraDouse tune ‘Crash’ will be out ONLY from Progressive People Records this FRIDAY! xo

This is such a wicked free compilation. The new #HoraDouse tune ‘Crash’ will be out ONLY from Progressive People Records this FRIDAY! xo

12:23am
4 notes
Reblogged from irregularzine
irregularzine:

FESTIVAL REVIEW: BEACONS 2014.
What time is it? It’s got to be almost three in the afternoon. We are sat hunched up in the little open space in the train carriage next to where the doors are. I tear open the crate that wouldn’t fit in my camping rucksack and hand out cider in tinnies the size of Coke cans to anyone in our group who wants one. My closest friend in this little collective is drinking from a much taller, stronger can – the kind that you buy from the corner shop down the road from your house based on cheapness and strength and how strange the name sounds; he will be suffering the most come tomorrow morning.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, so we talk louder and louder about absent friends and old times, the way it gets harder and harder to resist the older we get. After a while, a kid of maybe five or six years old wanders down the carriage, pokes his head through the doorway, and just kind of stares at us for a while. We wave at him, unsure of what to do, suddenly feeling a little awkward and embarrassed for drinking and swearing loudly in an enclosed space so early in the day. The North Yorkshire countryside flashes by. He stares us out for a while and wanders off again. It’s weird. But it passes.
We are on our way to the third year of Beacons festival. It should have been the fourth, but the first edition was cancelled due to bad weather. This year, they are persevering, despite hurricane warnings, but today the sun is shining and everything is good. This is my first festival since 2012 – last year was the only year I’ve not been to one or more since 2008. I’ve missed it. But I feel rusty. Lately, as I get older, I’ve been feeling more run down by shows. Can I still handle festivals? Like the festival organisers staring in to the hurricane, like the child staring in to the faces of day-drinking strangers, I must stare in to the abyss of uncertainty, of unknowing.
I’ve thought about hitting up Beacons for every year they’ve been running because it’s pretty much the closest camping festival to where I live that isn’t essentially an extended village fete for local bands, or the teenager-filled swamp that is Leeds Festival, but the lineup’s never quite had enough for me to consider it worthwhile. I’ll be straight – when it comes to music festivals, I don’t really give too much of a shit about the arts attractions, or soaking up ‘the vibe’. Like, those things are cool, but they’re added extras, you know? If I’m shelling out over a hundred quid for the privilege of sleeping in a fucking field then there better be about a dozen bands I really want to see. As much as I love them, Fucked Up were not enough to sell me on it last year when there were only about five other bands I was bothered about seeing. This year, though, the lineup had a solid enough foundation of essential viewings, and enough ‘yeah why not’ curiosities to flesh out the three days, that it would have been foolish not to go.
Yeah, British Sea Power! Joanna Gruesome! PINS! TRAAMS! September Girls! Tall Ships! METZ! 65Daysofstatic! The Fall! Great! Even if I have seen a lot of them before. Daughter being announced as one of the headliners was the big seller though – I was pretty keen to see them this summer after getting pretty heavily in to them over the course of the year. All for not much more than a hundred quid spent on the ticket. Bargain. Beacons is also the smallest festival I think I’ve ever been to – I think it’s got a smaller capacity than Truck and 2000 Trees anyway – and so many of my best festival experiences have been at smaller ones, where the hand of corporate sponsorship is less obvious, the bands are more carefully selected, and the people are generally not such incredible knobs. Beacons, with its lineup brimming with local-ish bands, the food trucks and tents occupied by some of Leeds’ best independent restaurants, an ale tent populated by great local craft brewers, seems like it would provide something truly special.
Okay, so the small, non-corporate vibe is ruined as soon as you enter the arena and see the fucking Peugeot tent, but otherwise the Beacons site is pretty much perfect. Small enough to amble across in mere minutes, with the majority of the stages in tents to protect against the obviously shitty weather that will occur on any given weekend in Skipton. You can get between the two main bands stages in seconds, the arts spaces and workshops are all conveniently clustered together, and you’re never too far from some toilets. Sure, the constant bass from the dance tent (which is probably bigger than the main stage) is a little overpowering when someone quiet is playing elsewhere, but it’s hard to have too many other complaints. We spend Thursday exploring, getting our bearings and figuring out where all the stages are, and mostly just drinking heavily. You know, standard festival first night stuff. The weather holds up and all is well. Everyone gets separated and has a great time.
As expected, my friend with the tall trainbeers does indeed suffer the most come the next morning. He lies in his tent groaning as the rest of us circle the bands we want to see that day on our programmes. The sun is bright and we lay on the grass until spots of rain turn in to a full-blown thunderstorm, which fortunately clears as our hangovers do, meaning we can head to British Sea Power free of any apparent worries. I’m always a fan of bigger bands doing special sets early on in a festival day – watching Joanna Newsom play at midday at Latitude will always remain one of my favourite things, ever – and seeing them do their film soundtrack thing sounds like as good a way as any to start.

If they were doing a regular set then I might not have bothered – I saw them years ago at that same aforementioned Latitude, and it was one of the biggest musical teases I’ve ever encountered. They came out with a choir and cranked up these air raid sirens so there was this awesome wall of noise and melody getting everyone pumped and then… nothing. They basically played a set of their least interesting songs. This time, though, the band wander out sort of inauspiciously, sit down facing away from the crowd, and proceed to create something unexpectedly wonderful. From The Sea To The Land Beyond is a documentary about the history of the British coastline and, whilst providing the soundtrack, British Sea Power give in wholly to their occasionally-displayed post-rock tendencies, sculpting pieces that crash like waves and float like gulls on a breeze. I spend most of the set lying down towards the back of the crowd, with the film in view out of the corner of my eye, letting it wash over me, almost drifting in and out of sleep. I never expected it to be quite as perfect as it is.
Of course, I take a little break mid-set to go and catch a bit of Nai Harvest – I’ve gone on and off these guys over the years, but it felt right to go and support them. I loved their first couple of EPs, but their album left me cold and I could never work out if I liked their newest offering or not. It just seemed to lack something they had before, y’know? A lot of the energy was gone, and it was like they were back to figuring themselves out again. Fortunately, I catch a bunch of their newest songs and really enjoy them – it sounds to me like they’re getting back on track, and the kids in the crowd are eating it up. After British Sea Power are done, Post War Glamour Girls hit the main stage and do an impressive job of filling it for a local Leeds act, actually. I wasn’t keen on them the last time I saw them, but their swaggering indie rock suits the big tent pretty well.

Over on the DIY mag-curated Argyll stage soon after, Eaves’ gentle folk is a nice afternoon distraction before catching Napoleon IIIrd’s set on the campsite stage, who sticks to new, much more straightforward and organic material written for the five piece band he has assembled. Totally unexpected, but still fantastic.

Later, Vessels take for-fucking-ever to set up their gear and cause the Noisey stage to run half an hour behind schedule for the rest of the day, causing us to miss out on most of Submotion Orchestra, and all of Action Bronson, but they are forgiven because they are fucking rad. The five piece make a shit-ton of noisy mathy racket from their various tools, and end the set with four of them battering away at various drums and percussion all at once. I’d never actually checked them out before, due to confusing them with another band called Vowels who I don’t really care for, and promise to myself that I will forget about their poor time keeping and pick up one of their records when I get home. There’s not too much time to dwell on it, though – as soon as they’re done, we run to the main stage to fling ourselves in to the dancing mass for the last two songs of Submotion Orchestra’s incredible epic and atmospheric dubstep. For a while, I am furious at Vessels again – I could have danced to this all fucking night.

Joan As Policewoman is totally not the band I thought they were either (seriously, who am I thinking of? Is it Juliette and the Licks? I think it is), and I would likely enjoy them more if I wasn’t just killing time before Daughter because, oh my god, fucking Daughter. Despite the rage I feel towards the kids behind us who will not shut the fuck up the entire way through, they are perfect. Igor Haefeli rocks the fuck out on a bowed guitar, while Elena Tonra switches between guitar and bass duties as necessary (something I weirdly admire in a frontperson/songwriter – it’s awesome when Kate Nash does it). Her voice fucking soars, man, and their sound is so goddamned huge. They mention that it is their first time headlining a festival, or even closing out a stage at one, and suddenly you can sense the nerves, but they still do an incredible job. My skin stands on end when they play Youth and Tomorrow. They may not quite have the confidence and the fans to be ideal festival headliners yet, but they’ve sure as hell got the songs. Give them time, and they will be huge.

Saturday is the slowest day, band-wise, so I wander around a bit to see what’s on offer – Plank! come off like a two piece Tall Ships, but with riffs instead of loops, whereas FAMY sound like the band Nai Harvest have been trying to become lately, but with more of a classic Manchester indie sound. Things really kick off, though, with Joanna Gruesome’s noisy fuzzed out punk, and festival sound does them a lot of favours – I’ve seen them before and listened to their album a load, but this is the best I’ve ever been able to hear the lyrics. Fuck me, they are angry, and their singer’s ability to switch from sugary to screaming in seconds makes for a pretty terrifying experience. PINS follow, and are in a similar vein of noisy, fuzzed up punk, kind of if like the Vivian Girls were from Manchester. I’ve had the good fortune to watch their drummer play in a bunch of bands over the years thanks to youths spent in the same town, and I don’t think she’s ever been involved with something that isn’t fucking great – it’s so good to see them fill out a tent. Pretty much everyone who made the trip over from Manchester seems to be here.

It always feels pretty fucked up to talk about a band’s look instead of just focusing on their music, especially when the band in question is made up of four women (because, y’know, patriarchy), but that’s often because what they look like is totally irrelevant. PINS, though, man, it feels relevant to mention it – they have a goddamn look, even if it is just all black with a fair few leather goods and incredible hair. It feels like an essential part of the band as a whole because it amplifies their Manchester rock and roll swagger and basically makes them the coolest fucking band going right now.
TRAAMS are another band I’m psyched to see doing so well – I went to uni with their bass payer and absolutely loved the band he was in while we were there. Aged Yummy were unlike nothing else I’d ever heard – surfy math rock that grew from a bass and drums two piece, to a bass-led trio with a guitarist that essentially just matched what the bassist did, to a four piece that threw a weird 60s vibe in to the mix thanks to a new singer who would go on to play keys in Temples. They were great, so it’s seriously so awesome to see Leigh doing so well in a new band. Because TRAAMS have fans, man! Like, seriously adoring fans. They play to one of the best crowds of the festival, and a pit breaks out to their proggy kraut-indie, and the closing jam of Klaus is both invigorating and draining at the same time.

I reunite with my friend to check out Galaxians, who come highly recommended by a lot of people, and the Noisey tent is pretty full for the keyboard-and-drums duo. If I’m honest, their sound is derivative and unoriginal, their tunes are repetitive and fairly unremarkable, but holy fuck are they fun to dance to. There really seems to be no merit to their music if you’re standing still (making the crowd potatoes with their arms folded seem all the stranger – what were they getting out of being there?), but to let yourself go to these guys is to know some form of bliss. The endlessly danceable vibe continues in to Jon Hopkins’ headline set, which sees us battered by luminous inflatable balls and covered in cigarette burns by the rolling crowd. I spend half the set in the thick of it, and retreat to the side to lie down and soak up his lush sounds from the back of the tent. His live stuff seems more dancefloor ready than the records that I’ve heard, and it’s a great end to the day.

The general consensus on Sunday appears to be that it’s the day crammed fullest with guitar bands, and Girl Band kick things off with a completely unexpected wall of noise that must wake up anyone still straggling from the night before. It’s the bassist that shines here, causing the biggest racket by leaning heavy on the pedals and possibly being the first person I’ve seen play slide-bass – it’s fucking awesome. Tall Ships, on the other hand, are a bit of a letdown – whereas their live shows used to be an utterly wild mess of loops, instrument-swapping, and diving in to the crowd, the new five piece straight-up-rock-band lineup leaves so much to be desired. They’ve been heading this way ever since their album came out and, although it’s nice that we still get Plate Tectonics early in the set, it is mostly just depressing to hear them head down the Foals route and go from being an exciting and challenging math rock band to sounding like Editors. As they play a bland-as-hell new song, a friend taps me on the shoulder and asks me when Tall Ships are coming on. I laugh, and it makes me feel sad. Oscar is not a worthy closer compared to the likes of Vessels and Snow, and watching their now-frontman totally put down his guitar and not pick up anything to replace it for the reworked Ode To Ancestors was legitimately a bit depressing.

Still, September Girls carried things on in the same vein that PINS opened up yesterday, but with a poppier, more melodic sound – it’s my third time seeing them, and they get better every time. I can’t wait for an album from them. METZ, however, are a band I’ve missed quite a few times up until now, and their return to Sub Pop’s grunge roots is amazing to watch. I spend the set kicking myself for not catching them at the Brudenell when I had the chance.

Then there’s Sleaford Mods, a band who I previously thought were actually a joke. I admittedly admired their style in telling Miles Kane to fuck off when he tried to champion them, but the recorded stuff I listened to at first was fucking terrible. Still, I was told by a few people that you kind of have to see it live to ‘get it’, and they were right – this weird duo of one guy pressing play on a laptop and standing around drinking while a furious midlander yells his throat raw about getting drunk and signing on the dole is seriously powerful to watch. They’re either the worst thing ever, or the best, although it’s probably a bit of both.

Early on in 65daysofstatic’s disappointly short set (how are they only on for half an hour? They could easily headline a festival this size) I realise that it’s been nearly nine years since I first saw them play live. While this is far from their best set ever, thanks to the short span, the lacklustre afternoon crowd, and their focus on new material, it was far from their worst (the Destruction Of Small Ideas tour cycle made for that). After writing off Wild Light at first for being far too dull, seeing half of it live made me determined to give it another chance, and they made the excellent choice of closing on Radio Protector. See, I never really care how good or bad 65 are, or what they play – as long as I can see Radio Protector every year or so, I’m happy.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart live up to my memories of them being distinctly average, and Speedy Ortiz provide a worthwhile distraction instead while I wait for The Fall to come on. My antagonistic relationship with Mark E. Smith and his rotating band of post-punks is better documented elsewhere, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to see them again after walking out on them half way through a set at Camp Bestival four years previously. It’s pretty interesting to note that they are the first band of the entire festival to come out on stage to an already full-tent – most bands attracted the majority of their crowd with their opening bars, but Fall fans, many of them day ticket holders coming out especially, are already in full force when they walk out.

They are actually great, much better than I remember last time being, with the straightforward ruckus of Remainderer opening things up. Smith’s classic amp-fiddling and unpredictable stage antics are in full force until the worst winds of the weekend flare up causing the organisers to come on stage and attempt to pull the plug. They respond in classic Fall style, batting away stage managers and continuing to play through their amps even after the main sound is cut. Rain is actually coming in, though, and the light rig is swinging a little too much, so they eventually are forced off stage to a chorus of boos, only to crash back on stage with Mr Pharmacist about twenty minutes later, finishing off with a few more songs that sees Smith handing over lyric sheets to one of the two drummers and the synth player to take over vocal duties while he wanders off stage, presumably for another beer.
A little later, and Neneh Cherry takes me totally by surprise – I have no idea what to expect, but it definitely isn’t the ambient, dubby hip hop that she creates with backing from Rocketnumbernine. After being in the game for so long, Cherry is one of the most charismatic performers of the weekend, whilst Eagulls round things off for me with one of the most chaotic crowds – constant crowdsurfers, and an ambitious dive off the tent’s central tower. Awesome. I don’t quite get the buzz around these guys, but their live show proves that they do at least deserve it.

At this point the wind begins to flare up again, and Beacons comes to an unfortunately blustery end, but still, it was, overall, a fantastic experience. After a year away from festivals spent getting increasingly disillusioned with the whole idea, Beacons managed to pull me back. It’s not without it’s problems – the organisers seem to want to push the arts and family sides a little more, whilst most of the advertising seems to be centred more around the indie rock side despite the festival relying heavily on its DJ lineup to pull people in, so it does have a bit of an identity crisis going on. Some bands played to sparser crowds than they deserved, and some lineup positions were a little baffling, but y’know. At three years old, Beacons is still in its infancy, and deserves a chance to grow – I am legitimately excited to see what they can do in the years to come.

Waking up at ten to seven on Monday morning, we have survived the hurricane. My body has survived the trials I have subjected it to much better than expected. My neck is stiff as all fuck, but that’s life at this point, I guess. We pack up quickly and head straight for the slow train back to Leeds – the commuters scowl at us a bit for taking up six seats with all of our stuff, but it’s hard to really care too much. We’re home by half past nine, without incident. Time for a goddamn shower.  

irregularzine:

FESTIVAL REVIEW: BEACONS 2014.

What time is it? It’s got to be almost three in the afternoon. We are sat hunched up in the little open space in the train carriage next to where the doors are. I tear open the crate that wouldn’t fit in my camping rucksack and hand out cider in tinnies the size of Coke cans to anyone in our group who wants one. My closest friend in this little collective is drinking from a much taller, stronger can – the kind that you buy from the corner shop down the road from your house based on cheapness and strength and how strange the name sounds; he will be suffering the most come tomorrow morning.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other, so we talk louder and louder about absent friends and old times, the way it gets harder and harder to resist the older we get. After a while, a kid of maybe five or six years old wanders down the carriage, pokes his head through the doorway, and just kind of stares at us for a while. We wave at him, unsure of what to do, suddenly feeling a little awkward and embarrassed for drinking and swearing loudly in an enclosed space so early in the day. The North Yorkshire countryside flashes by. He stares us out for a while and wanders off again. It’s weird. But it passes.

We are on our way to the third year of Beacons festival. It should have been the fourth, but the first edition was cancelled due to bad weather. This year, they are persevering, despite hurricane warnings, but today the sun is shining and everything is good. This is my first festival since 2012 – last year was the only year I’ve not been to one or more since 2008. I’ve missed it. But I feel rusty. Lately, as I get older, I’ve been feeling more run down by shows. Can I still handle festivals? Like the festival organisers staring in to the hurricane, like the child staring in to the faces of day-drinking strangers, I must stare in to the abyss of uncertainty, of unknowing.

I’ve thought about hitting up Beacons for every year they’ve been running because it’s pretty much the closest camping festival to where I live that isn’t essentially an extended village fete for local bands, or the teenager-filled swamp that is Leeds Festival, but the lineup’s never quite had enough for me to consider it worthwhile. I’ll be straight – when it comes to music festivals, I don’t really give too much of a shit about the arts attractions, or soaking up ‘the vibe’. Like, those things are cool, but they’re added extras, you know? If I’m shelling out over a hundred quid for the privilege of sleeping in a fucking field then there better be about a dozen bands I really want to see. As much as I love them, Fucked Up were not enough to sell me on it last year when there were only about five other bands I was bothered about seeing. This year, though, the lineup had a solid enough foundation of essential viewings, and enough ‘yeah why not’ curiosities to flesh out the three days, that it would have been foolish not to go.

Yeah, British Sea Power! Joanna Gruesome! PINS! TRAAMS! September Girls! Tall Ships! METZ! 65Daysofstatic! The Fall! Great! Even if I have seen a lot of them before. Daughter being announced as one of the headliners was the big seller though – I was pretty keen to see them this summer after getting pretty heavily in to them over the course of the year. All for not much more than a hundred quid spent on the ticket. Bargain. Beacons is also the smallest festival I think I’ve ever been to – I think it’s got a smaller capacity than Truck and 2000 Trees anyway – and so many of my best festival experiences have been at smaller ones, where the hand of corporate sponsorship is less obvious, the bands are more carefully selected, and the people are generally not such incredible knobs. Beacons, with its lineup brimming with local-ish bands, the food trucks and tents occupied by some of Leeds’ best independent restaurants, an ale tent populated by great local craft brewers, seems like it would provide something truly special.

Okay, so the small, non-corporate vibe is ruined as soon as you enter the arena and see the fucking Peugeot tent, but otherwise the Beacons site is pretty much perfect. Small enough to amble across in mere minutes, with the majority of the stages in tents to protect against the obviously shitty weather that will occur on any given weekend in Skipton. You can get between the two main bands stages in seconds, the arts spaces and workshops are all conveniently clustered together, and you’re never too far from some toilets. Sure, the constant bass from the dance tent (which is probably bigger than the main stage) is a little overpowering when someone quiet is playing elsewhere, but it’s hard to have too many other complaints. We spend Thursday exploring, getting our bearings and figuring out where all the stages are, and mostly just drinking heavily. You know, standard festival first night stuff. The weather holds up and all is well. Everyone gets separated and has a great time.

As expected, my friend with the tall trainbeers does indeed suffer the most come the next morning. He lies in his tent groaning as the rest of us circle the bands we want to see that day on our programmes. The sun is bright and we lay on the grass until spots of rain turn in to a full-blown thunderstorm, which fortunately clears as our hangovers do, meaning we can head to British Sea Power free of any apparent worries. I’m always a fan of bigger bands doing special sets early on in a festival day – watching Joanna Newsom play at midday at Latitude will always remain one of my favourite things, ever – and seeing them do their film soundtrack thing sounds like as good a way as any to start.

British Sea Power

If they were doing a regular set then I might not have bothered – I saw them years ago at that same aforementioned Latitude, and it was one of the biggest musical teases I’ve ever encountered. They came out with a choir and cranked up these air raid sirens so there was this awesome wall of noise and melody getting everyone pumped and then… nothing. They basically played a set of their least interesting songs. This time, though, the band wander out sort of inauspiciously, sit down facing away from the crowd, and proceed to create something unexpectedly wonderful. From The Sea To The Land Beyond is a documentary about the history of the British coastline and, whilst providing the soundtrack, British Sea Power give in wholly to their occasionally-displayed post-rock tendencies, sculpting pieces that crash like waves and float like gulls on a breeze. I spend most of the set lying down towards the back of the crowd, with the film in view out of the corner of my eye, letting it wash over me, almost drifting in and out of sleep. I never expected it to be quite as perfect as it is.

Of course, I take a little break mid-set to go and catch a bit of Nai Harvest – I’ve gone on and off these guys over the years, but it felt right to go and support them. I loved their first couple of EPs, but their album left me cold and I could never work out if I liked their newest offering or not. It just seemed to lack something they had before, y’know? A lot of the energy was gone, and it was like they were back to figuring themselves out again. Fortunately, I catch a bunch of their newest songs and really enjoy them – it sounds to me like they’re getting back on track, and the kids in the crowd are eating it up. After British Sea Power are done, Post War Glamour Girls hit the main stage and do an impressive job of filling it for a local Leeds act, actually. I wasn’t keen on them the last time I saw them, but their swaggering indie rock suits the big tent pretty well.

Nai HarvestPost War Glamour Girls

Over on the DIY mag-curated Argyll stage soon after, Eaves’ gentle folk is a nice afternoon distraction before catching Napoleon IIIrd’s set on the campsite stage, who sticks to new, much more straightforward and organic material written for the five piece band he has assembled. Totally unexpected, but still fantastic.

Napoleon IIIrd

Later, Vessels take for-fucking-ever to set up their gear and cause the Noisey stage to run half an hour behind schedule for the rest of the day, causing us to miss out on most of Submotion Orchestra, and all of Action Bronson, but they are forgiven because they are fucking rad. The five piece make a shit-ton of noisy mathy racket from their various tools, and end the set with four of them battering away at various drums and percussion all at once. I’d never actually checked them out before, due to confusing them with another band called Vowels who I don’t really care for, and promise to myself that I will forget about their poor time keeping and pick up one of their records when I get home. There’s not too much time to dwell on it, though – as soon as they’re done, we run to the main stage to fling ourselves in to the dancing mass for the last two songs of Submotion Orchestra’s incredible epic and atmospheric dubstep. For a while, I am furious at Vessels again – I could have danced to this all fucking night.

VesselsJoan As Policewoman

Joan As Policewoman is totally not the band I thought they were either (seriously, who am I thinking of? Is it Juliette and the Licks? I think it is), and I would likely enjoy them more if I wasn’t just killing time before Daughter because, oh my god, fucking Daughter. Despite the rage I feel towards the kids behind us who will not shut the fuck up the entire way through, they are perfect. Igor Haefeli rocks the fuck out on a bowed guitar, while Elena Tonra switches between guitar and bass duties as necessary (something I weirdly admire in a frontperson/songwriter – it’s awesome when Kate Nash does it). Her voice fucking soars, man, and their sound is so goddamned huge. They mention that it is their first time headlining a festival, or even closing out a stage at one, and suddenly you can sense the nerves, but they still do an incredible job. My skin stands on end when they play Youth and Tomorrow. They may not quite have the confidence and the fans to be ideal festival headliners yet, but they’ve sure as hell got the songs. Give them time, and they will be huge.

Daughter

Saturday is the slowest day, band-wise, so I wander around a bit to see what’s on offer – Plank! come off like a two piece Tall Ships, but with riffs instead of loops, whereas FAMY sound like the band Nai Harvest have been trying to become lately, but with more of a classic Manchester indie sound. Things really kick off, though, with Joanna Gruesome’s noisy fuzzed out punk, and festival sound does them a lot of favours – I’ve seen them before and listened to their album a load, but this is the best I’ve ever been able to hear the lyrics. Fuck me, they are angry, and their singer’s ability to switch from sugary to screaming in seconds makes for a pretty terrifying experience. PINS follow, and are in a similar vein of noisy, fuzzed up punk, kind of if like the Vivian Girls were from Manchester. I’ve had the good fortune to watch their drummer play in a bunch of bands over the years thanks to youths spent in the same town, and I don’t think she’s ever been involved with something that isn’t fucking great – it’s so good to see them fill out a tent. Pretty much everyone who made the trip over from Manchester seems to be here.

Joanna GruesomePINS

It always feels pretty fucked up to talk about a band’s look instead of just focusing on their music, especially when the band in question is made up of four women (because, y’know, patriarchy), but that’s often because what they look like is totally irrelevant. PINS, though, man, it feels relevant to mention it – they have a goddamn look, even if it is just all black with a fair few leather goods and incredible hair. It feels like an essential part of the band as a whole because it amplifies their Manchester rock and roll swagger and basically makes them the coolest fucking band going right now.

TRAAMS are another band I’m psyched to see doing so well – I went to uni with their bass payer and absolutely loved the band he was in while we were there. Aged Yummy were unlike nothing else I’d ever heard – surfy math rock that grew from a bass and drums two piece, to a bass-led trio with a guitarist that essentially just matched what the bassist did, to a four piece that threw a weird 60s vibe in to the mix thanks to a new singer who would go on to play keys in Temples. They were great, so it’s seriously so awesome to see Leigh doing so well in a new band. Because TRAAMS have fans, man! Like, seriously adoring fans. They play to one of the best crowds of the festival, and a pit breaks out to their proggy kraut-indie, and the closing jam of Klaus is both invigorating and draining at the same time.

TRAAMS

I reunite with my friend to check out Galaxians, who come highly recommended by a lot of people, and the Noisey tent is pretty full for the keyboard-and-drums duo. If I’m honest, their sound is derivative and unoriginal, their tunes are repetitive and fairly unremarkable, but holy fuck are they fun to dance to. There really seems to be no merit to their music if you’re standing still (making the crowd potatoes with their arms folded seem all the stranger – what were they getting out of being there?), but to let yourself go to these guys is to know some form of bliss. The endlessly danceable vibe continues in to Jon Hopkins’ headline set, which sees us battered by luminous inflatable balls and covered in cigarette burns by the rolling crowd. I spend half the set in the thick of it, and retreat to the side to lie down and soak up his lush sounds from the back of the tent. His live stuff seems more dancefloor ready than the records that I’ve heard, and it’s a great end to the day.

GalaxiansJon Hopkins

The general consensus on Sunday appears to be that it’s the day crammed fullest with guitar bands, and Girl Band kick things off with a completely unexpected wall of noise that must wake up anyone still straggling from the night before. It’s the bassist that shines here, causing the biggest racket by leaning heavy on the pedals and possibly being the first person I’ve seen play slide-bass – it’s fucking awesome. Tall Ships, on the other hand, are a bit of a letdown – whereas their live shows used to be an utterly wild mess of loops, instrument-swapping, and diving in to the crowd, the new five piece straight-up-rock-band lineup leaves so much to be desired. They’ve been heading this way ever since their album came out and, although it’s nice that we still get Plate Tectonics early in the set, it is mostly just depressing to hear them head down the Foals route and go from being an exciting and challenging math rock band to sounding like Editors. As they play a bland-as-hell new song, a friend taps me on the shoulder and asks me when Tall Ships are coming on. I laugh, and it makes me feel sad. Oscar is not a worthy closer compared to the likes of Vessels and Snow, and watching their now-frontman totally put down his guitar and not pick up anything to replace it for the reworked Ode To Ancestors was legitimately a bit depressing.

Girl BandTall Ships

Still, September Girls carried things on in the same vein that PINS opened up yesterday, but with a poppier, more melodic sound – it’s my third time seeing them, and they get better every time. I can’t wait for an album from them. METZ, however, are a band I’ve missed quite a few times up until now, and their return to Sub Pop’s grunge roots is amazing to watch. I spend the set kicking myself for not catching them at the Brudenell when I had the chance.

September GirlsMETZ

Then there’s Sleaford Mods, a band who I previously thought were actually a joke. I admittedly admired their style in telling Miles Kane to fuck off when he tried to champion them, but the recorded stuff I listened to at first was fucking terrible. Still, I was told by a few people that you kind of have to see it live to ‘get it’, and they were right – this weird duo of one guy pressing play on a laptop and standing around drinking while a furious midlander yells his throat raw about getting drunk and signing on the dole is seriously powerful to watch. They’re either the worst thing ever, or the best, although it’s probably a bit of both.

Sleaford Mods

Early on in 65daysofstatic’s disappointly short set (how are they only on for half an hour? They could easily headline a festival this size) I realise that it’s been nearly nine years since I first saw them play live. While this is far from their best set ever, thanks to the short span, the lacklustre afternoon crowd, and their focus on new material, it was far from their worst (the Destruction Of Small Ideas tour cycle made for that). After writing off Wild Light at first for being far too dull, seeing half of it live made me determined to give it another chance, and they made the excellent choice of closing on Radio Protector. See, I never really care how good or bad 65 are, or what they play – as long as I can see Radio Protector every year or so, I’m happy.

65daysofstatic

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart live up to my memories of them being distinctly average, and Speedy Ortiz provide a worthwhile distraction instead while I wait for The Fall to come on. My antagonistic relationship with Mark E. Smith and his rotating band of post-punks is better documented elsewhere, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to see them again after walking out on them half way through a set at Camp Bestival four years previously. It’s pretty interesting to note that they are the first band of the entire festival to come out on stage to an already full-tent – most bands attracted the majority of their crowd with their opening bars, but Fall fans, many of them day ticket holders coming out especially, are already in full force when they walk out.

The Fall

They are actually great, much better than I remember last time being, with the straightforward ruckus of Remainderer opening things up. Smith’s classic amp-fiddling and unpredictable stage antics are in full force until the worst winds of the weekend flare up causing the organisers to come on stage and attempt to pull the plug. They respond in classic Fall style, batting away stage managers and continuing to play through their amps even after the main sound is cut. Rain is actually coming in, though, and the light rig is swinging a little too much, so they eventually are forced off stage to a chorus of boos, only to crash back on stage with Mr Pharmacist about twenty minutes later, finishing off with a few more songs that sees Smith handing over lyric sheets to one of the two drummers and the synth player to take over vocal duties while he wanders off stage, presumably for another beer.

A little later, and Neneh Cherry takes me totally by surprise – I have no idea what to expect, but it definitely isn’t the ambient, dubby hip hop that she creates with backing from Rocketnumbernine. After being in the game for so long, Cherry is one of the most charismatic performers of the weekend, whilst Eagulls round things off for me with one of the most chaotic crowds – constant crowdsurfers, and an ambitious dive off the tent’s central tower. Awesome. I don’t quite get the buzz around these guys, but their live show proves that they do at least deserve it.

Neneh CherryEagulls

At this point the wind begins to flare up again, and Beacons comes to an unfortunately blustery end, but still, it was, overall, a fantastic experience. After a year away from festivals spent getting increasingly disillusioned with the whole idea, Beacons managed to pull me back. It’s not without it’s problems – the organisers seem to want to push the arts and family sides a little more, whilst most of the advertising seems to be centred more around the indie rock side despite the festival relying heavily on its DJ lineup to pull people in, so it does have a bit of an identity crisis going on. Some bands played to sparser crowds than they deserved, and some lineup positions were a little baffling, but y’know. At three years old, Beacons is still in its infancy, and deserves a chance to grow – I am legitimately excited to see what they can do in the years to come.

Beacons Fest

Waking up at ten to seven on Monday morning, we have survived the hurricane. My body has survived the trials I have subjected it to much better than expected. My neck is stiff as all fuck, but that’s life at this point, I guess. We pack up quickly and head straight for the slow train back to Leeds – the commuters scowl at us a bit for taking up six seats with all of our stuff, but it’s hard to really care too much. We’re home by half past nine, without incident. Time for a goddamn shower.