I tend to regularly contradict my own opinions of what I enjoy from live music. On one hand I often get annoyed with sloppy bands, quiet fans, choreographed moments of impromptu behaviour and slap-dash start times. On the other I can enjoy living vicariously through trashed rock stars, watching unprepared fans getting thrown around mosh pits and standing around as rock stars make me wait until well after their scheduled start time. These contradictions display an inner clash between my own beliefs as a modern-day consumer (the needs for precision and the feelings that I’m being cared for) and my beliefs as a fan of the type of music which drives youth revolt and sticks two fingers up at the adult world (the need to feel that rock and roll can still disrupt even the efficient plans).
So how exactly do I review Hit the North? Starting almost 45 minutes after the scheduled time, and running with disrupted time slots, the Boiler Shop arm of Hit the North is not necessarily what punters or critics or bands want from a rock festival. And yet, given that we get four fantastic rock bands, swaying crowds, disruption, collapsing barriers and a (slight) feeling of being at a show which isn’t running smoothly, perhaps we get what we need. And what we sometimes need is for the programme managers and event planners who try to lord over rock and roll to be firmly put back in their place.
Across a four-hour period we get four rock bands who could all be headliners of the show; local lads Fletcher Jackson, rock boys Ten Tonnes, intense Hunna, and the loud as fuck Age of Nothing. They all put in performances well above what is expected and play extraordinarily well. When all is said and done, it’s fair to say that fans will put up with almost anything if the music is good enough. In the Boiler Room, at Hit the North, the music was excellent.