Returning for it’s fifth outing, and it’s first to be sold- out, Middlesborough’s Twisterella festival made huge splashes again at the weekend living up to it’s reputation for bringing together a mix of musical performers, styles and sounds.
Spending most of the day in the Student Union, if only to watch Bradford’s ‘Glass mountain’ take to the stage early with their walk-on music of ‘We shall overcome’, I believe I chose the best venue. . Loading up their guitars to 11, and backed by an incredible visual display, the Glass boys spent their set searching for the spirit of My Bloody Valentine in their creation of a pop meets drone classics. Visceral, aggressive, and cosmic Glass Mountains set a high standard for the day, particularly with highlight of the set ‘We shall overcome’ (an original not a Joan Baez cover) which was raw and aggressive and evidence that they are an interesting art band with clever messages.
Next up, Derry resident ‘Roe’ created magic with her one-person orchestra of delicious pop. Using guitar, effects pedals, keys and drum machines, Roe built multi-part, highly impactful, electronic pop sounding not too dissimilar from Moncao circa their ‘Sweet lips’ era. Standouts ‘Wasted. Patient. Thinking’ and ‘Cheek, boy’ were deliciously built live on stage, and provided a huge platform for Roe’s high, sweet, vocals and masked edgy narratives. She may well have drawn the loudest cheers of the day.
‘The Howl & the Hum’ delivered the penultimate show on the Student Union stage, attracting possibly the largest crowd of the day, with their Jeff Buckley meets The Killers sounding set. Highlights ‘Godmanchester Chinese bridge’ and ‘Don’t shot the storm’ drew mass sing alongs, and on stage boogying. Leaving the stage dripping with sweat, and sticking about for celebratory photos, The Hum were clearly happy with their evenings performance.
Headliner ‘Bryde’ closed the stage with her blend of guitar driven pop a la The Dandy Warhols. Driven by moments of loud guitars and fine 3 piece musical interplays Bryde delivered in fine form, though given her apologies for her vocal delivery in places, frontwoman Sarah Howells appeared disappointed in moments with herself. She needn’t have.
A real blend of performers, with each one showcasing their excellence, Twisterella proved itself, again, to be a fine day out for music lovers. If there was one criticism for the promoters it would be to draw attention to the noise coming from the main bar which occasionally drowned out some of the quieter songs on stage. We’ll be back next year for more of the same.