The difficulty with any festival is not being able to see everyone you want; particularly true with an inner city festival where the reality of the spread of venues, and the distance between them, means you have to factor waiting and walking time into your schedule.
Never the less, you do what you can and you plan accordingly. So today’s tactic is to pick a location and dig in; decided today by our desire for rock music and our decision to make camp at the Gigwise stage.
Arriving in time for 3 piece, noise rock, ‘Horror my friend’ our first set is a full on sonic bombast complete with screeching guitars and effects pedals. Standout ‘Never set’ showcases a band full of intensity and angst with a sound which could be likened to Dinosaur jnr. It’s a hell of a start to the day and they exit the stage drenched in sweat.
Up next are double denim wearers ‘Buzzard buzzard buzzard’ who inject Stone’s rock with T-Rex’s Boogie in a style not too far removed from early century rockers The Datsuns. Standouts ‘Late night city’, ‘Paper tree’ and ‘Stockholm City rock’ inject Kiss styled theatrical rock with tales about being young and wanting to cut loose. Clearly in love with classic rock the Buzzard’s give us signature rock moves and guitar licks in a set which is blinding from start to finish.
Running downstairs for the opening of the doors to The Independent Stage we decide to get to the front for ‘Dream Wife’ and accept the hour long wait until show time. In the process I lose my plus one. Proving they’re worth the wait, and the lose of my friend, Dream Wife nail their 45 minute with high energy and a punk spirit. In only their second show of the year the Wife’s showcase new material (‘Hasta la vista’ being the standout), give us classics (‘FUU’) and advise us all that we’re bad bad bad bad bad bad bitches. Eventually, someone’s seen the real me.
Sticking around for ‘Gengahr’ is worth it for their guitar driven rock and guitar wizardry but by now it’s mid-afternoon and the crowd is getting larger and drunker, meaning switching venues is harder and more complex. Empathising with my plus one we go out to check out other venues, conscious that we’ve given up prime location for the day’s headliner Kate Tempest, and stopping off at the o2 we watch some ‘Marsicans’ who are playing to a packed crowd and then some ‘Sam Fender’ who’s on great form and doing the North East region proud.
Deciding to revert back to the ‘hold your stance’ strategy we finish the day in the Nation of Shopkeepers venue, checking out a serene (and highly proficient guitarist) ‘Malena Zavala’, a late (and cut short at four songs) ‘Balcony’ and an up for it (and incredibly professional) ‘Apre’. Apre, in particular are on fine form with their Duran Duran meets ColdPlay style of pop and continue to build their confidence and library of fine tracks. They’re headlining in Newcastle soon and are well worth checking out.
And before we know it that’s us done. Nine bands in about eight hours and four venues. Next time though I think I’ll drop my plus one and dig in more; I think I did about three venues too many.