Talkin’ About Wilkestock Festival 2019

Wilkestock festival year and year again always stands out as one of the best festivals of the summer, an eclectic mix of genres, stages, and just the best vibes in general making it one of my favourite festivals ever. 2019 saw the festival’s best lineup to date, with Slaves headlining on the Saturday, bands like Lady Bird, LIFE, Zen, JW Paris, Avalanche Party, Strange Bones, and many others also gracing the lineup. Here are Indie Underground’s Festival Highlights from Wilkestock Festival 2019

Well known for their raucous punk angst on stage, Slaves have had an incredible summer, and their headline set at Wilkestock was one of the best, trashiest, and sweatiest times I’ve seen them play. Opening with a scathing screech of ‘Oi, what are you doing? Nobody gives a shit!’ before lunging into the thrashy The Lives They Wish They Had, Slaves played a mix of old and new tracks, their setlist featuring the likes of Magnolia, Beauty Quest, Sugar Coated Bitter Truth, Live Like An Animal, and classics Where’s Your Car Debbie? and The Hunter

Their energy is always impeccable, a solid raucousness and tightness embedded in the unique energy Laurie and Isaac share with one another. Tracks like Fuck The Hi-Hat (which Slaves smashed out just after a cymbal was kicked out into the audience) and Sockets were filled with that scatty passion and vigour which is so special to Slaves, resulting in the psyched up crowd moshing and jumping around in the audience

Luke Hinton (Juicebox – The Horn St Albans / The Horn at The Half Moon Bishop’s Stortford) runs the bookings for Wilkestock Festival, and Slaves played The Horn years ago to a tiny crowd, so seeing them headline the festival to such a stunning crowd reaction really was a magical thing to witness

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Slaves 

Heavy and raw, Strange Bones are always phenomenal live, and their set at Wilkestock for many was the most anticipated set of the weekend. In such an intimate setting, their set was immense, the tent absolutely packed; Bobby did everything that is classic for a Strange Bones live performance, from crowdsurfing and jumping into the crowd with his gas mask on, to climbing up the metal ladders inside the tent before jumping from the top into the audience. Their set was wild, tracks played including God Save The Teen, Snakepit, and Here Come The Wolves. An absolute blinder, Strange Bones never fail to entice, excite and impress, and their set was undeniably one of the best festival sets I’ve seen this summer

Savage and malicious in their fun punk attitude, Lady Bird were a definite highlight of the festival. Signed to Slaves’ DIY Girl Fight Records Label, the three piece had circle pits and moshing during their set from the very start, which can only really be described as a passionate set full of fiery grit and vigour. Their set included tracks like Spoons and Social Potions, as well as personal favourite Boot Fillers; this band have some seriously strong riffs up their sleeves, a rowdy guitar-heavy foundation to their music

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Lady Bird

Playing on the tiny Bella’s Stage on Saturday night, Avalanche Party were phenomenal, putting on a menacing and visceral set which obliterated the tent to pieces. They’re incredibly enticing live, and what always intrigues me about this band is the intimidating stance of lead singer and guitarist Jordan, who comes across as possessed in his demeanour. Their set was a stunning chaotic mess, featuring tracks like 7 and Porcelain

One of the most scarring and exciting sets of the weekend came from Hull’s LIFE, a politically angry and vivacious life band, who are no strangers to rowdy crowds and mosh pits. Only a few tracks in, lead vocalist Mez was out in the crowd, dancing, jumping and screaming into the mic with them. Dedicating the politically brilliant track Euromillions to “Brexit and the new government,” LIFE also played tracks like Ba Ba Ba, Popular Music, Moral Fibre and In Your Hands

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LIFE

Always a  favourite band of ours to catch live, JW Paris packed out the Bella’s Tent on Friday evening, their sound deafening and a lot heavier than previous times I’ve seen them. They have a very unique and eclectic sound, elements of blues and a more classic rock’n’roll vibe intertwined with a grungy post punk foundation. They played tracks like Radio, Rapture, Darker Side Of Paradise, and That’s Why, much of the energy of their set matched by audience members dancing and singing lyrics and riffs back at the band. Their riffs are incredibly catchy, a vehement angst ingrained in their sound, both guitarist Dan and bassist Aaron 100% in sync as they played together – an absolute beauty on stage

 

We also had the pleasure of catching Fiende Fatale, whose messy scatty post punk sound has improved so much since we discovered them in 2016. Lead guitarist and vocalist Matt ended up with blood pouring down his head at one point, their entire set rough, intense and incredibly charismatic; they have so much energy and power on stage, and the way guitarist Rolph played alongside drummer Dom was insatiable. Zen were another highlight, bringing their quirky post punk vibes to Bella’s Stage, and Caretta also packed out their set, with a fiery grungy set, their sound much heavier and enticing with their new tracks. One of the best bands from Sunday were FRAMATICS, who completely exceeded my expectations. A similar vocal style to Sophie from Sophie & The Giants or Yonaka’s Theresa, lead singer Maddie had a new powerful confidence, her voice really strong and intense. This power was matched perfectly by the force of the rest of the band; Liam on bass and Zach on lead guitar have a really strong fire between them when they play, their deafening heavy riffs an explosive eruption, backed up brilliantly by drummer Adam

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LIFE

Until next summer Wilkestock!!

©All photos by Sahera Walker

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saherawalker

Post punk & psych rock music blog for new music, based in East London Thank you for visiting my page! x © All copyrights reserved to Sahera Walker 2019

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