© All photos by Sahera Walker
© All photos by Sahera Walker
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
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
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
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
Until next summer Wilkestock!!
©All photos by Sahera Walker
With an impeccable reputation for live music, DIY venues, and thrilling punk gigs, Camden is one of the UK’s strongest towns for rock music, and Camden Rocks festival each year helps solidify this. With 400 bands playing over the weekend of June 1st & 2nd, the festival is split over 20 of Camden’s finest venues, from mosh-pit indulging DIY spaces like The Dublin Castle, to the intimate Hawley Arms, to larger club spaces like The Electric Ballroom. This year, the lineup is a fantastic mix of indie, punk, and rock’n’roll, and we have narrowed the lineup down to our top 5 Bands to Watch
A deafening formidable riot on stage, Strange Bones fuel vivacious punk scat with a grungy foundation. Their sets are always fuelled by an insatiable feel of chaos and urgency, their manic deranged tracks undercutting a politicised edge. Expect intense mosh pits and crowd surfing, with front man Bobby known to jump from amps directly into the crowd beneath
Top tracks: Here Come The Wolves & Give Me The Sun
2. Projector The Monarch, Saturday 1st, 4pm-4:30pm
Cleverly blending grunge with an indie pop sensibility, Projector create a beautifully complex shoe gaze vibe with their music. The dreamy indie breeziness is undercut by deafening bass lines, which builds up an interestingly 90s based sound
Top tracks: Go Ahead & Break Your Own Heart
3. False Heads Camden Assembly, Sunday 2nd, 4:15pm-5pm
Scathing and raw post punk trio False Heads are the most exciting live band at the minute, their music vigorous and powerful, their gritty punk rigour riveting and dynamic. Front man Luke has the passion and attitude needed to convey the band’s ballsy angst perfectly, and his messy riffs slice through the deafening bass lines from Jake and the furore of drummer Barney. They have cultivated a special reputation for themselves as East London’s most exciting band, their live sets fuelled with power and dynamism; certainly not a band to miss live at this year’s Camden Rocks
Top tracks: Slew & Fresh Ink
4. Dirty Orange Music And Beans, Sunday 2nd, 6:30pm-7pm
Merging together old school rock’n’roll (think Hendrix, Rolling Stones, and The Strokes) with a fresh indie-punk vigour, Dirty Orange are always wonderful live; they use retro reverb effects and distortions when playing to amp up a 70s rock sound, accompanied by the accented vocal of lead singer George, yet they still manage to maintain a freshness to their sound. Incredibly catchy on record, and extremely fun live, Dirty Orange’s set will be a very special one
Top tracks: Council Estate & Time Again
5. Gaygirl The Good Mixer, Sunday 2nd, 9:15pm-10pm
Brooding and abstract, Gaygirl blend a messy punk aura with shoegaze indie psychedelia, a very new and innovative sound to get from a band. What I love about Gaygirl is their ability to blend their dreamy indie-pop cloud with a more scathing and intricate punk bite, a rawness and messiness softly layered over their sound. Live, the band are sonic and gripping, and they create a wonderfully hedonistic atmosphere
Top tracks: Sick Note & Paralydise
Additional bands to catch… JW Paris, The Black Roses, Cavalcade, The Pigeon Detectives, King Nun, Pretty Vicious, Brain Ape, Rascalton, Asylums, Queen Zee, Juicebox, Hands Off Gretel, The Gulps, Rews, The Pearl Harts, The Howlers, Panic Island, Dutch Mustard & The Scruff
Hear our Camden Rocks playlist below…
Tickets for Camden Rocks are only £40 per day, or £70 for the whole weekend – this festival is really one of the best for new music, and it plays such a pivotal role each year in its support of the DIY scene, so go and grab a ticket now!
Wilkestock festival…sick as alwaaays
Once again the festival was a blitz of immersive, scathing post punk music, this year’s lineup playing host to a plethora of intoxicating and talented bands on the upcoming DIY scene. Indie Underground covered the Saturday of the festival for the upcoming issue of Some Might Say Zine, hanging with Strange Bones, Cabbage, 485C, and The Scruff both on and off stage. Check ’em out
All photos by Sahera Walker
The number one party #ZoneIsland of last summer is returning next week, thanks to This Feeling once again taking over a stage at the iconic Isle Of Wight festival. One of the biggest champions and supporters of new music, This Feeling are teaming up with Pirate Studios and Pretty Green, with over thirty bands gracing the stage; no doubt it will be biblical. If you’re looking for the freshest, most raw and enticingly hedonistic live music, paired with the indisputable fact that future headliners will be playing the stage, then This Feeling’s tent will be the place to be. Here’s our top five unmissable bands to catch live at the festival
Last summer This Feeling hosted a stage at Reading Festival, and Avalanche Party were undeniably the standout highlight act from the entire weekend. There’s a manic visceral energy which infuses their live sets with a deranged,almost feral nature. Tracks like Porcelain and 2021 are a solid testament to what gritty garage punk music is, and the intense brutality the band create with ease is enthralling and mosh worthy on stage
A few months ago, Calva Louise were creating sugar coated punk music; blaring riffs and scarring vocals layered over delicate whispers from vocalist Jess, and carefully created pop riffs blended in with their DIY grit. Yet latest single Outrageous takes you back to the old school DIY punk sound of the band, which is one of messy, filthy grunge. Authentic and stunning in their unique brand of punk, Calva Louise are one of the tightest and most polished live bands on the scene at the moment, whilst still able to inject a scatty excitement and vitality into their live sets
Having seen Cavalcade support The Wholls back in March, I have been desperate to see them again ever since. The four piece have a wild sound; it’s got a post-Britpop/ rock’n’roll bite to it, but it’s not as commercial sounding as many other bands who fall into this genre. Perhaps it’s their jaw dropping riffs that give them the edge, or it may be the energy and vigorous no-shit attitude they have on stage. Either way, this band are fast becoming one of the most interesting and fun live bands emerging onto the scene
Sophie And The Giants
Completely bad-ass and intense both on stage and on record, Sophie And The Giants are a vivacious new band, whose enigmatic sound blurs the fine line between pop and indie perfectly. Sophie’s vocal belongs to a class of head banging pop rippled with savage heaviness, similar to the likes of Yonaka’s lead vocalist Theresa. They use synths perfectly too, using them to enhance their thudding music rather than distract from the refreshing indie rock they are so perfectly creating
The Surrenders time and time again have proven themselves as one of the most intense, hedonistically wonderful live bands on the scene right now. Their live sets are rippled with a bluesy nostalgia, the immensity of their groovy raw riffs akin to the talent of Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. Connor’s vocal is scarring and raw, a gritty dirty bite embedded in his soothing voice, amped up by the vibrancy of Rich and James on guitar. Scott is a wonderful drummer, particularly with his rowdy backing vocal on Pursuit Of Love. Riff wise, lead guitarist Rich is genius in that he plays with an immaculate sense of natural ease, and this effortlessness builds up the flawless brilliance The Surrenders have on stage.
Other bands to catch: The Scruff, The Velvet Hands, SONS, The Black Roses, Himalayas, & The Cosmics
This Feeling will also be hosting stages this summer at Y Not? Festival (26th-29th July) and Truck Festival (19th-22nd July)…they have smashed it this year lineup wise, and if last summer was anything to go by then time is running out to see these bands in small venues playing for DIY promoters, so act fast
Buy ya tickets here: http://www.thisfeeling.co.uk/
Wilkestock 2017, you were a blast; have a look at some of my on and off stage snaps, featuring some of my favourite bands everrrr. Interviews coming soon with a bunch of these bands (including The Scruff, The Wholls, October Drift and BlackWaters), so keep an eye out for them.
© all pics by Sahera Walker
The zone strikes again, as This Feeling take over Reading festival for one last rock’n’roll party of the summer. This Feeling and Jack Rocks have joined forces once more to put on what will easily be the best stage at the festival, featuring the best upcoming bands in the UK. A sick mixture of indie, post punk and garage bands, the tent is gonna be a raucous explosion of fresh talent. If you’re looking for future festival headliners, then the This Feeling tent is the place to be. And if you’re not sure which bands to check out, here’s Indie Underground’s bands to watch.
Palm Honey (Saturday, 12:00 pm)
A trippy blend of drugged up psychedelic rock and distorted indie, Palm Honey are musically and aesthetically a stunning live band. They have a screwy nostalgic 60s sound, very reminiscent of experimental bands like Cream and Pink Floyd. They use distortions and blurred amp effects to give their music a more soft trippy edge, full of hazy psychedelia. The band’s aura has a mesmerising finesse to it, and the guitar brings back a gritty bite which glides through that synthetic psychedelia.
BlackWaters (Saturday, 12:45 pm)
A raw post punk four piece, BlackWaters are proper rowdy on stage. Manic and hectic, they have a deranged intensity live, and Max’s voice is packed with post punk grit and rawness. They’re really heavy both on stage and on record, and live they have a really abrasive uncaring feel to their sound. Their music is mad and loud, and has a thrashing mosh pit-esque feel to it. Messy and full of a post punk vibrancy, BlackWaters create a hectic riot on stage which is always fucking class to be a part of.
The Assist (Friday, 12:45 pm)
The Assist are always insane live, blending indie and rock riffs with rapping and a more quirky hip hop vibe. Mikey raps over funky bass lines, and the band fuse a variety of genres perfectly. The way the band perform is really creative and unique, and the raw indie rock rap sound they have is perfect for dancing and grooving. It’s honest and open indie rap, with funky jazz elements to their sound. I love how they don’t stick to one genre, but instead transcend a vast number of musical genres. The experimental exploration the band have gives them a unique vibe which makes them extra fun to see live.
False Heads (Saturday, 3:50 pm)
False Heads are easily going to be the highlight of Reading this year. Tearing up every single stage they’ve ever graced, the three piece have a really tight solid sound to their sets, packed with deranged heaviness from Luke on lead guitar and Jake on bass. Barney’s drumming amplifies the band’s post punk riotous nature, and the anger and bitterness behind Luke’s lyrics make the band mental live. They’re full of raw passion and energy, and the grit and gravel to False Heads gives them a Nirvana-esque feel. They always blow me away each time I see them, and I can genuinely see them playing headline sets at Reading one day.
Breed (Saturday, 4:30 pm)
Blinding disordered rock band Breed are a killer four piece, the second generation of post punk rockers Jackals Rose. They’re full of heavy grit live with a really intense brooding edge, and Jake’s voice and charisma as a frontman is blinding. There’s this immense force the band have, both on record with tracks like Starman and Get With It, and on stage. The harsh rock grit they have gives their music a messy dirty edge, packed with raw rock’n’roll purity, and they’re KILLER live.
Rosko (Sunday, 9:40 pm)
Another one of my favourite live bands, Rosko are one of the quirkiest most interesting unique bands on the scene right now. They fuse indie, rock, hip hop, rap, reggae…pretty much every genre with a grimy gritty rock feel. Their riffs are meticulous and intricate, played perfectly in sync with the reggae style drumming. Bruce’s vocal has this accented bite too, giving the band a very cocky abrasive feel which I love. Live, they remind me a bit of Jamie T, and the intriguing unique sound the band have makes them one of my favourite groups around right now. A must see this weekend.
Anteros (Friday, 11:20 pm)
Anteros are a stunning band live, with a really fun indie rock/ pop aura to their music. Tracks like Cherry Drop and Drunk are insane live, with Laura’s voice gliding beautifully over the heavy gritty riffs. There’s something quite abrasive and arrogant about the band’s stage presence; their sound is ridiculously tight and polished, and the way Laura struts around on stage gives them this confidence and attitude which is infectious. I love the style and aesthetic to Anteros too; very fashionable and edgy, they’re stunning to watch live as well as to listen to. Their tracks blur the boundaries between indie rock and pop; there’s an anthemic feel to their choruses too, and I can see their set on the This Feeling stage as being a big stepping stone between where the band are now and inevitably bigger things to come.
Strange Bones (Saturday, 6:05 pm)
Heavy, uncaring, riotous punk is what Strange Bones are made of. The energy and heaviness the band have has a raucous sense of anarchy to it, especially live where Bobby puts his balaclava on midway through the set before diving into the crowd and crowd surfing. Tracks like Big Sister Is Watching have a nasty politicised bite, the band never swaying away from the riotous attitude and scepticism which is so key to punk. The nasty rawness to tracks like Spitfire and Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus make them an insane band on stage, with new track Energy unreal live too. Bobby’s rough screams paired with the dark heaviness of the guitar make them one of my favourite live bands; their set this weekend really is unmissable.
The Blinders (Saturday, 1:35 pm)
The Blinders are one of the best live bands around right now, fact. Their music is full of heavy distortions, pounding bass lines and lyrically brooding dark connotations. Their shows are hectic and manic, with a frenzied post punk aura to their sets. Looks and sound wise there’s a very cutting edge sense of political frustration, with lead vocalist Thomas wearing a shirt which said ‘the Tories are a bunch of cunts’ last time I caught them live (can’t disagree with that). Thomas on lead guitar and Charlie on bass is a lethal combination, resulting in vivacious heaviness which rips their stage to bits. If you’re into heavily politicised, abrasive cutting edge rock music then look no further than The Blinders; the dynamic vigour and energy they have is blinding, and their music is packed to the brim with a sensual DIY edge.
The Wholls (Friday, 2:25 pm)
A band who produce alt-rock, post punk music infused with rock rawness and a shot or two of Jack Daniels…The Wholls are maybe one of the coolest most exciting bands to have been picked up by This Feeling. I LOVE these lads. Their guitar sound is roaring, with raucous rock heaviness. The thing which makes their sound so intense and unique is that rough gravel of Tordy’s voice. There’s a gritty undertone which makes tracks like X21 and Take Jimi works of art. Their music is heartfelt, authentic rock’n’roll, and it’s packed with passion and spirit which make them phenomenal live. There’s something brooding and sensual to their tracks too, most of which have a mosh pit inducing aura.
Reading festival this summer has an unreal lineup, and aside from the This Feeling stage I’d recommend catching Marmozets, Black Honey, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, IDLES, LIFE, Cabbage, King Nun, and Tigercub
When it is: 1st-3rd September, 2017
Where it is: Stevenage
For fans of: indie rock, post punk, DIY rock‘n’roll, & the underground rock scene
Back in April I published my Bands to Watch at Wilkestock Festival post, picking out my favourite bands amongst the first wave of acts announced. The full lineup to have come out since has proven just how sick the festival is going to be, setting it up as a definite highlight of the summer. The three day long festival takes place at the start of next month in Stevenage, featuring a wave of popular well established rock bands as well as some smaller bands who are more well known in the local scene (big up Luke Hinton and Juicebox for this). In my last post I picked the festival highlights out as Carl Barât & The Jackals, Yak, October Drift, MONO 01, Concrete Caverns, BlackWaters, VANT, The Wholls and 485C. Further festival highlights will be…
The Scruff are easily one of the coolest live bands I know, with a brilliantly vibrant rock’n’roll feel to their sets. With a classic sense of British rock authenticity to their music, The Scruff always put on a brilliant show with great reactions from the crowd. I last saw them in March supporting John Hassall & The April Rainers, and the wicked vibrancy their music has makes them one of the coolest most fun live bands I’ve seen this year. Adam is a sick frontman too, and has this fantastically raw gravel to his voice, which pairs with the raucous guitar to give the band a more gritty feel.
Another one of my favourite local bands, The Visitors are a class four piece from St Albans. They have a really bold, raucous indie rock sound, their sound taking you straight back to noughties post-Britpop indie. There’s a very charismatic feel to the band, who use blaring guitar riffs with mosh-pit inducing drumming, which makes their live shows really fun and enjoyable to be at. Alex is a wicked frontman too, with this Alex Turner-esque confidence on stage. Their music encompasses the cheeky attitude of indie rock, with tracks like Partying All Night giving the band a more intense raw feel. Last time I saw the band, they covered a few artists like Oasis, Arctic Monkeys and David Bowie, but their original tracks are just as credible too.
Waste are the only band on this list I haven’t seen live yet, but I am crazy excited to see them. They’re really my kinda music, full of this hectic post punk dirt, packed with this vicious flavour of hardcore rock. Their abrasive rock sound is uncaring and crass, with a riotous distorted bite. Live, I get the impression it’ll be a screaming thrashing explosion on stage, and the dark angst to their music has made them a favourite band of mine already. Everything I love about rock music is encompassed perfectly in Waste’s music; raw, snarling gravel, with brooding lyrics. Expect the band to tear the stage to bits.
Written In Ink
I first caught Written In Ink supporting October Drift at The Horn back last Christmas, and really loved their set. From the off, their set was packed with indie raucousness and a load of energy and vigour, drawing a brilliant reaction from the crowd. I love how tight the band are too, very intricate and meticulous with their riffs and track foundations. Mia is a standout musician in the band; an excellently talented drummer, she gives the band a whole new layer of finesse, building up a raw sense of old school rock’n’roll. Having undergone a couple of lineup changes recently, I look forward to seeing Written In Ink take to the stage again.
Maybe I go on about this band too much on my blog, but that’s because they are really fucking good. Emotive, raw, post punk rock’n’roll is the sort of sound J.W. Paris produce, very gritty and grimy with this cutting DIY edge. Live, the band’s sound is full of this raw intensity, with both Dan and Aaron taking it in turns on lead vocals. The cutting edge finesse of their voices are backed up by Josh’s raucous thrashing on the drums, amplifying the band’s immensity. They’re one of my favourite live bands, and blend blues infused rock with grunge, giving them a broodingly intense sense of punk filth and gravel. J.W. Paris’ rough DIY edge shines through their music, and every single track that band come up with is killer.
The Violet Shakes
The Violet Shakes recently debuted themselves as a new band; new image, new sound. They used to be known as Pages but have since re-branded, and Wilkestock will be their second gig they play as The Violet Shakes. Stepping away from synth indie music, the band have taken on a more edgy gritty sound, and it’s going to be brilliant to see them live again. Danny is a sick bassist, complimented by lead guitarist and killer vocalist Matt, whose riffs are very intricate and meticulous, gliding over that rich intensity of the bass guitar. James is a fantastic drummer too, and the three of them play in perfect sync with a very tight sound, built on firmly solid foundations. Stepping away from the 1975/ Wolf Alice vibes Pages used to have, I’m hoping The Violet Shakes live will be a lot heavier with a more intense raucous feel to their set (which judging from the demos I’ve heard, they will be).
You can purchase tickets for Wilkestock here, and watch my blog for live updates with set reviews and band interviews over the weekend
Truck festival, 2017. What a killer weekend. The festival put on some incredible bands, with an unreal host of small upcoming bands putting on some insane sets, especially with So Young who took over The Nest stage on the Saturday. As well as seeing well established bands who I adore, like Slaves and The Libertines, the festival was an opportunity to see some smaller post punk bands and experience the gritty filth of the current underground music scene hands on.
Socially uncaring, politically crass and sceptical in their music, Cabbage are always an absolute riot on stage. From the rapping over A Network Betrayal to the ‘Don’t Buy The Sun’ shirt to ending their set by throwing actual cabbage into the crowd, the five piece were easily the highlight of the Sunday. There’s an element of crass severity to their boldly left wing political message, tracks like Terrorist Synthesizer and Uber Capitalist Death Trade proving popular with the audience. Performed live, tracks like Fickle have a certain rash raucous feel to them, and the raw riffs glide over Lee and Joe’s voices with ease. Up Le fucking Chou.
Dead Pretties are a riotous storm of abrasive, careless punk. It’s gritty, raw and genuine, packed with dark riffs and loud screams which echoed throughout the tent. The sound they produced live was a headbanging mess of dirty rock’n’roll, fuelled by carefully written riffs, deep heavy basslines, and raspy vocals full of tough gravel. One of my favourite discoveries of the weekend, Dead Pretties have set the bar very high for how a band should be on stage. The thudding riffs and constant screaming distortions give the band a bite, creating a flavour of rock’n’roll which so far is untasted.
Hotel Lux, man, what a band. They had a very cool aura on stage, with this almost unapproachable intimidating feel. Full of laid back cockiness and a sophisticated arrogance, Hotel Lux have a very pure British feel to them. The heart of 70s punk and the raw bitterness and anger that came with it is embodied perfectly by Hotel Lux. The brooding miserable vocal is packed with nasty gritty punk honesty, and the thudding guitar lines over it make you kinda wanna fuck the world in and go have a cigarette. Moody brooding rock is hard to get right, but Hotel Lux do it with an arrogant finesse, filled to the brim with deranged intensity.
Raw vibrant rock’n’roll slaps you round the face multiple times with Strange Cages. Live, they have a sleazy deranged kick, full of raw emotion. To me they embody the genuine meaning of punk, and the rough angst they have live really is blinding. The Cracks is one of the best tracks I’ve heard all year, and it was an absolute honour to see this done live. Their screwed up riotous sound echoed throughout The Barn, pounding off the walls and echoing throughout the room. Charlie’s voice is full of a genuine raw grunge edge, which paired with the amped up distortions and fuzzy guitar riffs give the band a whole extra layer of unique, bold and aggressive power. Live, the band have a viciously intense sound, with so much potential. Check ’em out.
One of the heavier bands I saw over the weekend, God Damn epitomise perfectly the real essence of hardcore post metal rock. Live, the band spit vicious punk rock all over the stage, and this heavy thrashing music resulted in crazy psyched up moshing from the audience. Vultures was performed brilliantly, and the band use these looped rolling riffs and amp effects with the guitar pedals to enhance their live sound. The heavy head banger feel to their set gave it a very dark grungy metal feel, with a psyched up cutting edge and energy. There’s this epic intensity to their music and done live, this dark grungy moodiness is amplified.
The Saloon Bar was one of the smaller stages at Truck, and the subsequent level of intimacy made The Americas’ set one of the coolest of the whole weekend. The three piece are a bluesy force of old school, classic rock’n’roll, with a classic British rock sound blurred with American infused rock. Whiskey, motorbikes and sex oozed rock’n’roll all mixed together give you The Americas, and their use of a guitar and keyboard gives their music a fun, fresh feel. They manage to blend tainted old school rock music with a more raw post-punk sound, layering blues and 60s rock influences over it. Such a combination is incredibly unique, and I’ve not seen a three piece as cool or fun as The Americas before. It’s classy, feel good rock; keep an eye on these three.
Gritty, raucous, post-punk indie rock was the best way to start the weekend, and no band would have been better than BlackWaters to open up the Friday of the festival. They’ve been one of my favourite live bands since I saw them earlier on this year, and the FIDLAR/ Arctic Monkeys kinda vibe they have on stage is blinding. Their sound is messy, blaring loud rock’n’roll, packed with punk post-grunge grit. Tracks like Fuck Yeah, Down and Help Me were insane as always, as was their performance of new track People Street. What I love about the four piece is their abrasive uncaring attitude and the forceful riotous nature they have on stage. It was hectic raucous rock, packing a lively brain-explosive punch, Max’s voice effortlessly tearing through the tent. BIG UP.
Playing for So Young (mad love for them), LIFE were another incredible band and one of my favourite discoveries of the weekend. The hectic rowdy moshing and crowd reaction from the off immediately signalled the band’s popularity, and the tightness of their set proves how deserved their solid fan base is. Their music is, put quite simply, punk. Good old school punk, with a nostalgic sound that’s jumped straight out of a 1970’s London warehouse. Tracks like Rare Boots and Popular Music are wild, packed with a hectic messy nasty sense of grimy old school punk, but with a fresh energetic edge. Similar to bands like IDLES and King Nun, LIFE have something very special about them. For those craving a dose of authentic British punk, LIFE are a band to check out.
Other bands from Truck I’d recommend keeping an eye on: Honeyblood, Yonaka, Kamikaze Girls, Yak, Pulled Apart By Horses, Tigercub, Husky Loops, Palace, Vant, & Bad Sounds