14 June 2015 (gig)
18 June 2015
Music Festivals are just, well, fabulous! A complete break from our daily routines and preoccupations to a place where music and vices rule. However apart from the chill out with old and new friends, listening to mainstream artists and the odd hit in big fields from less famous groups, maybe clubbing it at night too, it’s as well to get stuck in to the serious business of furthering your own musical development and appreciation of new bands and music, some of whom, in a few years will be playing those very same main stages with their massive screens and big crowd all arms aloft with waving hands .
This is where a haven like the Jack Rocks stage comes into play as was the case at this year’s Isle Of Wight Festival. A superb open sided smallish tent with a Jack Daniel’s stocked bar and good stage set up. It had the best sound system to be found anywhere in the festival, loud as music should be but still able to engulf and engage you without deafness setting in.
Thus, once in the tent, considering the super quick change over between bands and their then short sharp 25/30minute sets, it was all too easy to settle in and literally be ‘punch drunk’; knocked out by a combination of urgency and above all passion of nearly all of the upcoming bands playing and a tipple of Jack Daniel’s.
The Gods have shined on Pretty Vicious, who played The Big Tent, the second stage at IOW, in spite of or because they have performed literally a handful of gigs with one single release. This was thanks to a bidding war between major record labels until a big fat contract was signed sealed and delivered by Virgin EMI to their waiting arms. Yet, honestly, many bands heard over the 4 days of the festival at the Jack rocks stage are just as deserving as the teens from Wales and with perseverance and a little bit of luck, their time will come.
Here are some bands, who in my opinion at least, deserve a special mention. Not everyone can go to festivals and see bands but if you check out these groups on the various social media platforms or maybe go see them live in your town, like the punters who checked out the Jack Rocks stage undoubtedly had the fortune to do, you too can journey on exciting new musical rides that will make you giddy with pleasure.
I’ve always liked to check out new stuff and i remember distinctly the day at the Phoenix Festival in 1994, when at the Unsigned Bands Stage I was lucky enough to see one of the first evr gigs by Skunk Anansie. What really impressed me was Skin, this shaven headed black girl with lovely teeth but a snarling grin, a hell of a voice whilst dancing all over the place.
Not till the IOW Festival on the Jack Rocks Stage have I felt the same mesmeric and captivating power from a girl fronted new band, this being Findlay who hail from Manchester. It’s the sultry Natalie Rose Findlay at the front on vocals, demanding attention from the crowd and able to elevate her very able band to a lively, vigorous performance by sheer force of nature. Quite frankly it just blew me away.
Slender, with dark shoulder length hair, dressed in checkered black and white shorts and braces over a blouse, tights and boots, dark glasses adding mystique, she dominated the stage, singing power pop quirky songs with force and determination. One by one, boy or girl the crowd fell in love. Songs such as ‘Electric Bones’, ‘Fever’, ‘Greasy Love’ and Off and On’ are show stealers that resound with her personality. Findlay are a success story waiting to happen, of that I am sure.
Power chords and rousingchoruses are prominent in the songs of this four piece band hailing from Telford. Frontman Jacob Ball has a loud rasping voice that perfectly complements their Bush/The Vines like sound even if it has a more punky edge to it all. They are as tight knit on stage as they are friends, having grown up together, and with really great songs like the single ‘Mental Home’ and new track ‘Coming Down To Hilo’ it’s easy to imagine that fans, like hyenas, will be packing to see them in the near future.
Great sounds and cool looks are intertwined as this 60’s style Mod combo with a presence that reminds you of The Kinks and early Rolling Stones instantly haveing the crowd dancing and singing to their catchy songs. Coming from London they are different to a band like The Coral even if they explore the same sounds; there is more of a groove here. They swap bass and lead guitars as easily as they swap lead/ backing vocals which makes their stage presence all the more exciting and intriguing. Songs like ‘Sunny Side’, ‘Dreaming of another Girl’, ‘Mona’, ‘It’s Time’ are all deserving of download and will make your playlists top notch.
Nile, Callum and Scott make up this three piece band from Manchester who play alternative rock, maybe even pop, melody ever present in their songs. Nile happens to be Johnny Marr’s son and he indeed is the guitarist in the band but he seemed very non plussed by it all it, playing with nonchalance and grit and very courteously thanking the crowd. Songs like ‘TV Broke My Brain’ and ‘Carsick Cars’ and new single ‘You Never Know How It Feels’ tell the story of a band in it for the long haul.
This 5 piece band from London had some of their fan base present at the Jack Rocks stage as much of the crowd knew all the songs. This a testament to their brash presence on stage with Tom Rowlett on vocals commanding proceedings, his loud and forceful voice goads you to singalong to the tunes. Like a new age Buzzcocks really with guitars to the fore, they have that something that makes you look up and listen. Songs like ‘The Hard Way’ and Oceans’ are meant to be enjoyed by one and all.
A four piece band made up of 2 sets of brothers is quite an intriguing arrangement. They come from Bristol and remind me of a new pubescent Libertines, there being a lot of swagger and confidence. Even if a bit green on stage being one of the few groups at the Jack Rocks stage experiencing sound problems, probably down to them too, their pop songs about adolescents and girls have charm and nice hooks. It’s a great name too, said either in the French way or the English way and that’s a rarity in itself!
Not too many famous bands from Pontefract I reckon so there’s more than enough space for Glass Caves, 4 lads who hail from there learning their trade by busking the streets and now slowly but surely on the rise. They look good, they sound superb with guitar, bass, drums and vocal all top notch, playing pure rock’n’roll that makes you want to sing and dance. Tunes like ‘Why Stay?’ and ‘Breaking Out’ are just great tracks. A band to go see live!
A half hour set split between good indie pop rock and some hilarious poetry readings, written by the pen of singer/guitarist Jack Jones. This 3 peice band from Wales really is entertaining going from a diatribe about ‘Ketamine’ or ‘Poundland’ to good songs like ‘You do nothing for me’ and ‘Tom Riley’. This all makes for a very entertaining set but there’s a lot more to it than that, loose yet sharp in their playing reminding me of early Ash let’s say. The band’s name comes from the Julian Cope track which also endears me to them.