Standon Calling Festival in Hertfordshire (UK) took place over three rainy days in July. The festival, in its 12th year, feels like a family-friendly country fair that got a bit out of hand, with dog shows, fancy dress competitions, drag acts, and a swimming pool included. Oh and some music. Here are some of my music highlights from Saturday and Sunday.


Editors delighted us with a selection of their older hits, with their haunting guitar riffs and soaring vocals. They also played their tribute to U2 (“Desire”) as well as some of the newer stuff, which is sounding a bit too much like Coldplay for me. However, there was no confetti canon in sight, and I reckon Tom Smith could probably take Chris Martin if it ever came to an indie-stadium fist fight. Whatever you do, just don’t call them The Editors.

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Gary Numan

How can Gary look so young and sound so fresh? His old and new tracks ran alongside each other like two drag cars on the Daytona Raceway. He even brought out his equally talented 11-year-old daughter to sing backing vocals with him. Is there nothing this man can’t do?

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Laura Mvula

Soulful voice, dancy highly-produced tunes. A massive portable white keyboard thingy, too.

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Clean Bandit

Big set, big stage presence, headlining Saturday night. Grace Chatto banged and plucked things, as well as contributed vocals. Didn’t think I’d ever shoot Clean Bandit, and can’t say I’m a massive fan of their music, most of which sounds like it was programmed on a ZX Spectrum, but they put on a show worth hanging about for.

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!!! (Chk Chk Chk)

Nic Nic Nic. You are by far my favourite freaky dancer. You even took time out from singing your band’s largely newer material to wipe the rain off the stage with a towel. I want to be your buddy and go shopping for shorts.

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Two 10-year-old boys were behind me before Idles came on stage. Boy 1 to Boy 2: “This is my dad’s favourite band. They’re punks.” Father arrives with beer, “Right lads, there may be a lot of swearing coming up.” Idles did not disappoint.

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The Early Years

How had I not heard of this band before? Well they did take 10 years in between their first two albums (the recent one called II on Sonic Cathedral). Intelligent, soaring indie, with a sound similar to Merchandise (who they told me they hadn’t heard of). They finished and I rushed to Google, then Amazon. Lucky for me Amazon had heard of both of The Early Years’ CDs, so now I can hear them as much as I want.

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Early slot at Truck and early afternoon again here; they deserve more. Every time I see them they get better, and I’m glad they got up at 5 AM to be there. Bigger stages and later times must surely follow. If I go out shopping for shorts with Nic Offer, then maybe we can bring Theresa along to buy some shoes, too.

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Fickle Friends

Poppy, boppy, fun, and catchy. Continuing their rise to the top of the bill and their ambition to promote dad dancing. Good summertime band. Just needs the sun!

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Grace Jones

Bonkers but brilliant, too. Headlined the final night and matched her hits to her crazy costume changes. When she said, “All men should be penetrated at least once, and I’m here to do it”, I thought maybe it was time to leave.

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Not forgetting a few others from a very full lineup, who I would recommend to anyone sat at home on a rainy day: Nothing But ThievesBaron Goodlove; Maddox; VennTangerines; Plastic Mermaids; Vanishing Twin; Slow Club; and Cabbage – photos below.

Marcus Jamieson-Pond is a regular contributor to The Revue. More gig pics, including Standon Calling Festival, can be found at


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