Top Bands to Watch at Wilkestock Festival 2017 part 2

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

Wilkestock schedule
Stage splits and times

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

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.

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The Scruff

The Visitors

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

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.

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Waste, shot by Max Melvin

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.

J.W. Paris

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.

JW Paris
J.W. Paris

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).

The violet shakes
The Violet Shakes (bassist Danny and drummer James)

You can purchase tickets for Wilkestock here, and watch my blog for live updates with set reviews and band interviews over the weekend 

Festival Review: Truck 2017

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.

Cabbage

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

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.

dead pretties
Dead Pretties

Hotel Lux

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.

Strange Cages

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.

strange cages
Strange Cages

God Damn

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 Americas 

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.

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The Americas (shot by Alan Wells)

BlackWaters

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.

LIFE 

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.

LIFE
LIFE (shot by Lindsay Melbourne)

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

 

The Magic Seven: Jack Daniels/ This Feeling Reading Festival Preview

Jack Daniels and This Feeling; the lethal combination. Carl Barât, Liam Gallagher, Slaves and Kasabian all love This Feeling, so trust me (and them of course) when I say they are THE best promoter for upcoming guitar bands. The ‘magic seven’ this year, otherwise known as the Jack Rocks Seven, are seven of the coolest, funkiest most unique raucous rock bands the scene has to offer right now, touring a series of festivals this summer on the This Feeling stage. Next month I’ll be heading to Reading to cover the This Feeling stage on behalf of the legendary Northern Exposure (big up Rachel Brown for this), so keep an eye out for my festival review later on.

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The Blinders, shot by Sam Crowston

Reading festival this year is going to be one of the best, simply because the legendary Mikey Johns will be gracing the weekend with a This Feeling stage. This preview is part one of two; when the whole stage is announced, keep an eye out for my top bands you need to see. But for now, introducing the magic Jack Rocks seven…

Trampolene

Witty tongue in cheek humour is what makes Trampolene such a lyrically exciting and fun band; frontman Jack Jones (who also plays guitar with Pete Doherty’s band The Puta Madres) has the ability to spit out lyrics with a certain witty lick of charm and rock’n’roll vibrancy to them. From spoken word poems to heavy rock tracks, Trampolene encompass versatility and flexibility in their sound. The heavy post punk rock sound they have is deafening too, with brilliantly rich raucous guitar on tracks like My Bourgeoisie Girl and Divided Kingdom. Expect blaring guitar rock riffs, cheeky spoken word poems, and possibly Jack’s stunning acoustic cover of Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths to crop up in their set.

White Room

Using old school classic riffs and styles in their music, White Room are one of those bands with an almost predictable sound. I wasn’t too keen on them when I last saw them live, but there’s promising elements to their music definitely. Riffs are blaring and loud which always gets the audience going, and they definitely know how to put on an engaging and fun gig which will get their audience moving. Soft harmonies and backing vocals are blended well with the guitar riffs, and the band play extremely well together. Despite the repetitive sound I get from their music, I like their tightness and the DIY setup to the band; hopefully Reading will give them, as a new guitar rock band, the opportunity to play to a wider audience.

White Room by Alan Wells
White Room, shot by Alan Wells

Bang Bang Romeo

Bang Bang Romeo basically stepped right out of a dynamic 60s rock club, straight into the heart of the underground guitar rock scene of today. Their music possesses this brilliantly rich, authentic quality, and they match dark and brooding guitar rock music with intensely powerful vocals from front woman Anastasia. Their sound is atmospherically blinding, and the aura they have is magnificent; really a soul shaking band who capture everyone’s attention. The rolling riff that opens Carnival is immense too, and the dark power of Anastasia’s voice glides across the guitar, creating a pure old school rock sound, laced with Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin vibes.

Broken Witt Rebels 

Fusing indie rock with a raw old school bluesy sound, Broken Witt Rebels are a Birmingham based four piece. It’s nice raw rock’n’roll, with Danny’s rough gritty voice giving the band a more tough sense of rock authenticity. There’s a southern feel to their music, with a more Americanised rock edge to their sound. Tracks like Guns and Shake Me Down have really groovy dance beats to them, and there’s an exciting build up of anticipation throughout the tracks before those crashing down choruses. I like how they blend Americanised rock with classic British indie; it’s unique to say the least, and I reckon they’ll put on an exciting set this August.

Broken Witt Rebels by Alabn Wells
Broken Witt Rebels, shot by Alan Wells

The Blinders

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.

Blinders by Alan Wells
The Blinders, shot by Alan Wells

The Wholls

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.

The Wholls by Alan Wells
The Wholls, shot by Alan Wells

The Sundowners

The Sundowners aren’t my cup of tea in all honesty; the vocals and guitar have a very bland pop sound to them and to me they lack an overall grit and pure rock rawness. However, This Feeling should be championed for expanding their normal sound a bit more, and giving more soft light bands a platform. Rather than being indie rock or post punk (such as bands like The Wholls and The Blinders), The Sundowners possess a more psyche-pop folk quality, with a much more soft soothing feel to them. For fans of bands like The Velvet Underground, or other psyche-folk artists like Elliott Smith perhaps, this band may be one to look into.

You can purchase tickets for Reading 2017 here

 

 

 

Top Bands to Watch at Wilkestock Festival 2017

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

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BlackWaters 

A three-day long charity festival held in Hertfordshire, Wilkestock may be one of the most underrated festivals happening this summer, yet definitely one of the most exciting. The lineup so far is blinding, and the variety of bands playing is electric. Just two announcements in, Juicebox owner Luke Hinton has already booked some of the most exciting raucous rock bands in the UK, from well known famous bands to underground smaller ones. The festival works in association with Juicebox Live and The Horn, who are well known in the local area for booking the sickest, most intense exciting new bands. Tickets are only £65 for the entire weekend, and here are your top bands (of those announced so far) to watch at the festival.

Carl Barât and The Jackals

For any fans of post punk and indie rock, The Libertines are one of those quintessential bands, easily one of the best bands to have emerged from the UK underground rock scene in the noughties. The Jackals is the side project of vocalist Carl; rough, raw, gritty rock is what you get with this band. They have a very careless DIY post punk nature and gravely attitude on stage. Carl’s voice is stunning too, very deep and rough with just a touch of edgy gravel to his tone, and as a band, their sheer rock brilliance is blinding.

Top tracks: Glory Days & Victory Gin

Carl Barat and the Jackals, November 2014
Carl Barat and The Jackals

Yak

Yak are a really messy, weird force on stage, with a very abrasive confidence and unique power. Their sound is a lot heavier live than on record, with really raw distorted effects used on the guitar and Oliver’s vocal. The band supported The Last Shadow Puppets on tour last year and have a whole host of festival slots coming up this summer; definitely a band to catch live, Yak are one of those brilliantly intense, gritty post punk bands you need to witness on stage. Alternative thrashing rock at its best.

Top tracks: Alas Salvation & Victorious 

October Drift

Definitely one of the best bands I’ve seen live, October Drift literally define the word heavy. Their music is blunt and harsh, full of this authentic punk rock aggression. Frontman Kiran has a really deep dark vocal and the heavy riffs backing him up are filthy raw and loud. They use heavy distorted guitar effects to build up the thrashing messy sound of the band, and this gives them a very uncompromising and unorthodox edge. This frantic punk force they have live really draws you in as an audience, and they deliver everything you could want from a punk band.

Top tracks: Cinnamon Girl & Cherry Red

october drift
October Drift 

MONO 01

MONO 01 are a really great upcoming rock band, one who have been heavily supported by Juicebox and The Horn. The four piece take on classic indie rock with post-punk/ garage influences, and have a really bold solid sound live. The band have been together for a couple years, and now have a new guitarist who lead vocalist Nathan described as ‘keeping with Oasis and The Libertines,’ whose influence you can never really go wrong with, right? MONO 01 create these wonderfully heavy raw riffs, and just give you that edgy rock brilliance in the most effortless, natural way. For such a small band, their EP is outstanding too and Wilkestock will be a well deserved opportunity for the band to showcase this talent.

Top tracks: The Narcissist & Girl on The Other Side of Town

Concrete Caverns

Concrete Caverns are one of my favourite local bands; not only are they literally the loveliest guys, but their music is absolutely mad. Their sound is essentially ‘Britrock,’ with influences of indie rock and post punk to their music. Their riffs are ridiculously catchy and so well written too, with Jenny being a faultless track. They take influences from bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Libertines, but have a very personalised unique sound which sets them apart from a lot of the local bands. The band are an immense force live too, with a brilliantly vibrant energy on stage. Their riffs are played to perfection live, and they always manage to pack out the venues they play and receive a brilliant reaction from the audience.

Top Tracks: Jenny & That’s Why

concrete-caverns
Concrete Caverns

BlackWaters

Full of this crazy energy and fresh punk vibrancy, Black Waters are a hectic indie punk band from Guildford. Their music is raw and chaotic, and they really are one of the best live bands I’ve seen. I’ve caught the band live twice now, and the energy and passion they have on stage is blinding. They have a shit load of fun, and this is backed up by the cocky abrasive attitude from lead vocalist Max which just adds to the raucous rigour and punk authenticity of their music. They remind me a lot of young 70s punk bands, but have a much more exciting youthful edge to them. This bluntness and hardcore ‘no shit’ approach gives BlackWaters an incredible punk bite, and they really embody what DIY indie punk is. Also, the chorus to Fuck Yeah is incredible done live.

Top tracks: So Far Out & Let The Good Times Roll

Vant

Shaking up what modern day British alt-rock is, Vant are one of the bands leading a resurgence in gritty rock music. They write lyrics and riffs to perfection, with a lot of their tracks very abrasive social and political commentaries which give them an interesting and engaging bite. Their riffs are unreal, full of blurred distortions and packed with heavy mosh-pit worth energy. The group have a blinding grunge aura to them, and it really is soul shaking. Bold lyrics and harsh vitriolic guitar is what makes Vant the immense force that they are, and having seen them live twice now it’s safe to say their shows this summer will be absolutely killer.

Top tracks: Karma Seeker & Parking Lot

vant
Vant 

The Wholls

The Wholls have backing from This Feeling, Jack Daniels, and a whole host of huge festivals this year, and the reason behind that is clear; they are fucking immense. My mate and I caught them at Reading 2016 on the BBC Introducing stage and they were honestly one of my highlights from the entire weekend. They have a really brilliant raw rock sound to them, and the grit and rough punk infused gravel to Arturo’s voice is incredible. They’re an explosive force of attitude and energy, and the raw indie grit they have is undeniable. When playing live, you can expect mosh pits, energetic dancing and just a burst of messy raucous fun from these four lads.

Top tracks: Angry Faces & X21

485C

Definitely the most intriguing uniquely captivating band I’ve seen live this year, 485C are a raw, artsy indie band. They take influences from post punk and 80s indie pop music, as well as artistic subculture movements and traditional guitar rock music. Adam’s voice is really raw and bold, and reminiscent of vocalists like Ian Curtis. The band have an incredibly atmospheric aura, and really are captivating live. With up to four guitarists playing at the same time on certain tracks, their music has a brilliantly heavy deep sound, which is meticulously played to perfection live. I’ve seen the band three times this year already, and am yet to see a less than perfect performance from them.

Top tracks: American Walls & In My Cell 

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485C

As you can see, the festival is packed full of the best upcoming rock bands in the UK- I already know a few of the unannounced bands playing too and can honestly say the entire lineup will be killer. You don’t wanna miss out on this; you can buy tickets for Wilkestock here

Read my Part 2 here

Listen to my Ultimate Wilkestock Fest 2017 playlist below:

Top 10 Bands to Watch at Truck Festival 2017

Summer 2017 has an immense lineup of festivals coming up, with some of the best rock bands being given a well deserved platform on the most famous festival stages this summer. Truck festival definitely stood out for me, and I think it’s safe to say the lineup is one of the best festival lineups to have come out in the past few years. With some immense bands playing, like Franz Ferdinand and The Libertines, there’s also an unreal host of smaller acts to grace the lineup. For those of you lucky enough to have got tickets (as it’s now completely sold out), here are your top 10 bands to watch out for at Truck.

Pulled Apart By Horses

For fans of heavy, gritty post punk heaviness, Pulled Apart By Horses would be right up your street. A thrilling live band, they’re full of punk angst and aggression, making for vividly exciting and intense live shows. They’re highly receptive to crowd reactions too, making the exciting energetic vibe of festivals the perfect atmosphere to see the Leeds quartet in.

Top tracks: I Punched A Lion In The Throat & Medium Rare

Pulled apart by horses
Pulled Apart By Horses

Yak

Yak are a messy three piece, full of loud blaring riffs and a wild on stage presence. They’re a proper rock group, with undertones of alt-rock, garage and post punk to their tracks. They’re very heavy and have this raucous bite on stage. They’re crazily entertaining too, and use their amped up guitar sound to create this forceful explosive nature live.

Top tracks: Alas Salvation & Plastic People

The Magic Gang

The Magic Gang are probably the most perfect indie band out there- fun lyrics, brilliant riffs and wonderful interactions with the crowd makes them one of the most fun and entertaining live bands I’ve seen. They have a more reserved indie sound, which has a perfect rock solid beat throughout, giving them the perfect sound to jump and mosh to. Their energy and charisma, and just overall fun they have on stage, makes them a pleasure to witness playing live.

Top tracks: Lady Please & No Fun

The Big Moon

I love seeing bad-ass women taking over the rock industry, and The Big Moon are the best band right now doing this. Their riffs are beautifully catchy and mesmerising, with the drop in Formidable an unreal piece of rock music. Their feel good indie rock aura is made even better by Soph’s stunning vocal, which goes from soothing and light to raw and rich in seconds- they’re one of those bands who I can envisage getting massive one day, and their set at Truck ought to be a huge step for the band.

Top tracks: Formidable & Cupid

The Big Moon
The Big Moon

Inheaven

Fusing indie rock with pop and grunge, Inheaven have this crazy pop-art aura to them, very stylish and messy and fun live. With tracks that naturally draw heavy moshing and circle pits, James, Chloe, Jake and Joe were made to be on stage. They have a really sick bad-ass attitude which gives them a unique edge, and this is channelled perfectly on stage. They adore their fans too, and their love and excitement on stage makes them one of the most fun, passionate bands I know.

Top tracks: Baby’s Alright & Treats

Yonaka

Yonaka are one of the most crazily unique bands out there, with a very unorthodox and interesting sound.The alt-rock group are fronted by Theresa who has one of the most killer voices ever. The band group heavy alt rock sounds with post-punk indie elements to give them a wildly explosive rock’n’roll bite. And they’re touring this month with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and Strange Bones, so they must be good.

Top tracks: Ignorance & Drongo

Palm Honey

Indie psychedelia and hazy drugged up rock comes from Palm Honey, who have a highly intriguing and distinctive sound. Their tracks are full of distortions and blurred guitars- they’ve got these really exciting psychedelic rock elements to their sound which takes you right back to the 1960s. To see how they conjure up their trippy psychedelic sound live will be really intriguing, and they have the potential to be the most exciting bands to play the weekend.

Top tracks: Bewitched & Bones

palm honey
Palm Honey

Goat Girl

Goat Girl are a cynical four piece, full of bitter lyrics with a rough indie guitar rock element to them. They’re really unique, as in no other band out there seems to have the dark indie sound that they do. They have this unorthodox ‘no shit’ approach, which makes them effortlessly cool- this attitude transcends their music, and makes their on stage presence almost intimating, making them an unreal act to catch live.

Top tracks: Country Sleaze & Scum

Tigercub

This Brighton three piece are a group I’ve been desperate to see live for months now. They’re bold and brash and abrasive, with a heavy gritty alternative rock sound to their tracks. This doesn’t take away from the meticulous riffs and polished well written tunes they have though; the band possess a brilliantly raw DIY rock edge, which blends together post punk with alt-rock and grunge. For anyone into messy grunge with a raw authentic 90s sound, Tigercub are the band for you.

Top tracks: Pictures of You & Rich Boy

Tigercub
Tigercub

Palace

An artsy, alternative indie rock band, Palace have one of the coolest auras out there. They use beautiful riffs drowned in elegance and simplicity with haunting lyrics, all so well written and well composed. Their tracks posses a refined edge, with a very controlled delicacy. Leo’s vocals are stunning too, and it’ll be unreal to hear tracks from their stellar album So Long Forever performed live.

Top tracks: Have Faith & Bitter

Other bands to catch… Franz Ferdinand, Abbatoir Blues, RedFaces, Crows, VANT, Cabbage, The Libertines, Slaves, The Wombats, JAWS, The Vaccines & Sundara Karma

Listen to my Ultimate Truck Fest 2017 playlist below:

The Best of Reading 2015

Earlier this morning, the official Reading and Leeds social media accounts broke the internet with their line-up for 2016. Some brilliant bands, like Eagles of Death Metal, Slaves, Foals, Rat Boy and The Courteeners are on the line up, but there are some crap acts on that list as well. We’ve decided to round up the top five performances from Reading 2015, from artists who brought pure, gritty rock n roll to all the stages

Slaves, NME Stage

August 2015 saw Slaves play to one of the most lively, excited crowds ever when they performed on the NME stage at last year’s festival. Delivering a messy, sweaty show, the punk-grime Kent duo filled the entire tent with crazed enthusiastic fans who chanted along at the top of their lungs to all the tracks the band played. Laurie and Isaac played an array of tracks, from the hard-core punk tracks ‘Wow!!!7am’ and ‘White Knuckle Ride’ to crowd favourites ‘The Hunter’ and their new track ‘Facing the Wall.’ Their gritty raw punk-grime sound was like an explosion of energy and light hearted witty humour. Isaac’s popular story of walking Debbie back to her car (resulting in the crowd chanting ‘WHERE’S YOUR CAR DEBBIE? DEBBIE, WHERE’S YOUR CAR?’) and Laurie’s tragic story of the death of his fancy goldfish Gerald amused and entertained the crowd, who could easily have watched the punk pair perform for the rest of the day. The band will be back next year, following their sold-out January tour which was postponed after Isaac dislocated his shoulder whilst crowd surfing at the UEA Norwich back in November. A few weeks later, he dislocated his other shoulder whilst dancing onto the stage, and according to Laurie, he dislocated his other shoulder just before their January show in London…here’s hoping his joints stay in place for next August!

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Royal Blood, Main Stage

Following their intense set on the NME stage in 2014, Royal Blood were promoted onto the Main Stage last year where they delivered a powerful performance with blaring guitar riffs, killer drumming, and sweaty mosh pits of thousands of people. Mike Kerr (vocalist and bassist) delivered his intense heavy bass lines, accompanied by Ben Thatcher (drummer) smashing the drums. The crowd screamed back the guitar riffs, especially the captivating bass lines to the tracks ‘Out of the Black’ and ‘Little Monster’; when the crowd sing back your guitar riffs, you know you’re doing something right. The aggressive music was accompanied by Mike’s cutting voice and poetic lyrics, which have been praised by musicians like Alex Turner and Jimmy Page. Featuring Ben leaping in to the crowd and Mike strutting around stage blaring out Black Sabbath riffs, the eight track long set featured their UK debut of new track ‘Hook, Line and Sinker’ which is due to come out on their album scheduled for release later this year. And if the Reading performance was anything to go by, their upcoming album and tour dates are ones not to be missed.

Catfish and Bottlemen, NME stage

Following their top ten debut album ‘The Balcony’ from 2014, Catfish and the Bottlemen absolutely smashed the NME stage last time round, playing to a packed out tent where eager fans were even watching from outside the tent on the big screens. Van’s energy and charisma as a frontman has the professionalism of legendary rock stars, yet he still has his cheeky cocky attitude which makes all the girls fall head over heels for him. Benji, Bondy, Bob and Van gave one of the most impressive sets of the weekend, playing popular crowd pleasers (which are, to be fair, the entire album) including ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Pacifier’. To me, the most incredible track they did was ‘Tyrants’ (purely because of the beautifully melodic guitar) or ‘Homesick’ where once the track ended, Van proceeded to sing acoustically the evocative lines ‘I said, I’m only looking out for you, she said it’s obvious that’s a lie. But I only ever put out for you, you know it’s obvious you don’t try.’ The energy and atmosphere inside the tent was phenomenal as well, despite security being on ‘high alert’ as Van put it. From the flares and smoke bombs to Van daring members of the audience to crowd surf on a lilo being passed around, the entire set was insane, and given the band recently sold out Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl in matter of minutes, it’s only the start for them.

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Wolf Alice, NME Stage

Wolf Alice are definitely the biggest and best grunge band to come out of the UK in years; having just released their Mercury prize nominated debut ‘My Love is Cool’ last June, the album peaked at number two, and the band already have a sold out UK tour planned for March. Their glitter obsessed, indie-grunge fans love them to pieces, and their Reading performance makes it clear why. Ellie (lead singer) has the look of a pop grunge groupie, with her willowy figure and light blond hair, and with Theo, Joel and Joff, the band deliver a perfect set each time they perform live. They opened their set with the heavy head banger ‘Fluffy’ before going straight into ‘She’, tracks from ‘My Love is Cool’ and the ‘Blush’ EP respectively. They also performed their grungy hard core tracks ‘Giant Peach’ and ‘Moaning Lisa Smile’, but not all their tracks were crazed heavy rock induced pieces; they also played some lighter, beautiful songs, like ‘Blush’ and ‘Bros’ which show off Ellie’s beautiful melodic voice, a contrast to the heavy Courtney Love-esque screeching in ‘You’re a Germ’. The band’s set was insane; Ellie’s edgy pure grunge voice works so well in harmony with Joel’s light backing vocals, which paired with the heavy riffs from Joff and Theo makes them one of the most exciting grunge bands right now.

Marmozets, Main Stage

Before Reading, I hadn’t heard of Marmozets (ashamed to admit that), yet having watched their set on the Main Stage, I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered them sooner! Becca, Sam, Jack, Will and Josh are easily one of the most extraordinary alternative rock bands right now; with the heavy riffs, killer drum sets and Becca’s raspy screaming voice, they perfectly combine all the elements you need to be a proper rock band. Their debut album, ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’ is even better done live; the set list was full of intense, colossal tracks like ‘Born Young and Free’ and ‘Move, Shake, Hide.’ Becca’s stage presence was incredible as well; she strutted around the stage, screaming her wild hard-core lyrics out to the crowd of thousands, accompanied by the heavy blare of the guitars and intricate drum loops. Ending with her blaring scream of the line ‘Why do you hate me so much?!’ (and accompanied by the heavy guitar and drumming and energetic mad crowd,) the Yorkshire band certainly showed Reading how it’s done.