So you’ve seen who played at the Community Festival’s N4 stage in our previous entry. Here’s a flavour of what went on in front of a very packed Main Stage.
Four lively looking lads from Sheffield playing in front of a massive band banner as the opener for the main stage. Kicking songs that appeal to indie kids and indie grown-ups too – “Kerosene” reminded me of Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Big crowd of young people who were probably left slightly deaf by their loud/quiet songs, ripping vocals and whining guitars. Not a bad start to an afternoon.
“This is mental. We’re just a little pop band from Brighton”, said Natassja Shiner as she energetically delivered her vocals, resplendent in full Nike/Converse gear. Neat songs, perfectly crafted pop. Highlight was probably “Glue”, which had extra resonance given the name of the festival and the fact that “some bad shit” had gone down in the area recently – as Natassja rightly pointed out.
If Mark Bolan and Kurt Cobain hadn’t had an early demise, they could have spawned Darlia’s Natan Day. A band with attitude and a set of competent rock tunes and confident rock poses – complete with Natan’s subscription to the Liam Gallagher school of whiny vocals.
Four-piece from Hertfordshire, who obviously had a massive following in the crowd, including one lad in a Royal Mail uniform who was keen to offer the photographers a piece of cabbage. I did wonder what that was about. The Hunna delivered a very tight set of songs, just like the leaves of that vegetable – playing the first three without a break. They’d come to please the crowd, and the David Van Day lookalike Ryan Potter posted a heart-throb performance that got some of the younger fans fainting.
Nothing But Thieves
With a singer who looked like he could be the younger brother of Martin Gore of Depeche Mode, NBT were there to chuck some rabble-rousing rock anthems at the crowd. Conor Mason demanded that a mosh pit be created for song two (I think there wasn’t enough room to do that, although there were certainly enough energized people who would have liked to). They continued to bang out their noise, as I sloped off to go to watch Anteros. Tough choice.
A couple of years ago, a mate told me about a new band he’d seen who had the “couldn’t-give-a-shit” attitude of the late ’70s. That band was Slaves. The punk ethos continued today with a “Tories Out” banner carried onto the stage and one (of many) chants in support of Jeremy Corbyn appeared during their set. (Non-UK readers may need this last line explained). But they also had their own massive TV screens either side of them, as well as additional stage risers to allow them to climb even higher above the mortals below. They’d come prepared and they rocked. Forty years ago people laughed at punks, now they listen and admire their stage show.
When Isaac (Holman) recalled how he had joined the band and had explained to his dog why he had no hi-hat, we all smiled. They bash their drums and guitars like they’ve just decided to form a band that morning. Long may they continue.
Last but one, The Wombats. I’d always been a bit “anti” them, as they’re a fave of my wife’s, who insisted on playing them on a loop in the car for a couple of months. However, in reality, they are quite excellent. Not only did the tunes come to life – “Moving to New York” is a real ear-worm – but the trio also threw themselves into giving the crowd something to remember (were they trying to outshine the headliners I wonder?). Indeed, they had to restart “Moving…” because Tord Overland Knudsen‘s bass strap broke a couple of times as a result of him throwing himself around the stage. Good to see a man happy in his work – he had a constant smile on his face. They are obviously a band that loves to play at the big venues with big crowds and they deserve it. From the night, they’re probably the band I would most want to go to see again. (But don’t tell the Missus).
Catfish and the Bottlemen
Last band of the day. Catfish and the Bottlemen. Now, when I heard that they were headlining, I thought that they may not be big enough to fill that slot. But they really surprised me. They’ve got some great tunes, and they were tight in delivering them. In Van McCann, they have a front man who must have spent a lot of time reading “how to hold a massive audience” self-help books. He was quite simply mesmeric – busting moves as well as riding grooves. One moment on top of the monitor speakers, the next out in the wings, and going through the A to Z of rock poses in the process. I always thought of Catfish in the same sort of bracket as Biffy Clyro or The Courteeners – bands that are good, but will probably never be fully great. Maybe tonight was the start of Catfish rising to greatness.
To see more photos visit www.jampondphotography.com/gigs
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