For the second night in a row, I’m back in Kentish town, but this time it’s for the Last.fm festival. This was one of the oddest “festivals” I’ve ever seen, for starters only 4 bands were playing, it was all on one stage and it lasts as long normal evening gig. With the packed in line-up proceedings were kicked off early, by Bones.
These spritely indie rockers put in a solid if slightly generic performance. I especially liked the tradeoff between the female vocals and the sharp guitar riffs which clattered along to their pop centric melodies. Enjoyable, but not likely to set the world on fire.
The next band up Chapel Club had been hyped up in the indie press so much that in my mind, they were this gargantuan indie rock titan, set to steal the show. Somehow I fell foul of wise words I’ve written here many a time before…don’t believe the hype! If you like your music with a streak of angst (the depressed kind, not the angry kind), monotone vocals ala Morrissey and an obsession for Joy Division, this is right up your street. This set left be thinking what other things I could be doing instead…like sleeping.
Young Knives returned to the place where me and Mr. Flowers saw the nearly 5 years ago without their preceeding “The” (They must have mislaid it down the back of the sofa or something). Far from becoming industry standard, Young Knives have always remained true to their full on pop experience. The dual front men are perfectly in sync, bopping out vocal harmonies to rival any glee club while picking out some of the finest, nifty little guitar licks this side of franz ferdinand. The only disappointment was the fact they only had 30 minutes to play, causing a very new album heavy setlist. But when the classics arrived in the shape of jerky strutter The Decision and the epic indie anthem Turn Tail it had the whole crowd up on their feet singing along. A massively impressive set from this unlikly combo whom encompass everything that’s great about true britishness (that’s being a little bit eccentric but just about getting away with it).
Here is where I have a right old moan at the organisers! As much as its great to see 4 bands in one night, everyone knows that any festival, no matter how small, must have a headliner. With only a 10 minute difference between set lengths of band 1 (25mins) and band 4 (35mins) this was beyond acceptable. It was tough to see Young Knives leave so soon after they arrived and with the next bands calibre this set length was unacceptably short. Their best bet would have been to drop Chapel Club altogether!
Despite the restrictions The Futureheads set about whipping up a frenzied edged punk outpouring of thumped guitars and equally harmonious vocal hooks. In the Live setting these guys really live to crank up the volume, upping the punk ante, putting the amps through their paces with 3 guitars bursting out massive riffs left right and centre. I was surprised by this as their studio material is always very measures and slickly produced, live they are an altogether harder beast to tame.
It was good see that they still loved to perform their old material, pulling plenty of old classics such as Alms, the riffing terrific Decent Days And Nights and set closer, the Kate Bush cover Hounds of Love. Thankfully for us all, The Futureheads didn’t was to leave either as they ploughed on 10 minutes beyond curfew because, as lead singer David “Jaff” Craig put it “35 minutes is not enough” Their final flurry was met with rapturous appreciation, estatic moshing and crowd led harmonies. This was a cracking high energy set from a band I seem to have missed live thus far. Something I am sure to rectify, again and again and again etc….