29 September 2017 (gig)
By the Sea is now in its 3rd year, curated in the compromising sea side town that holds legendary status – Margate with headliner’s “Everything Everything”, “Metronomy” and the “Libertines” on the bill, you are already set up for a good weekend.
In recent years, the Birthplace of The British seaside has undergone a renaissance and you can feel the change. It has the eccentricity and nostalgia of the past all wrapped into one, and you can see why this is becoming the place to be, there are hip and trendy bars lining the old town street’s as well as the heritage of the vintage rock n roll antique shop’s.
Dreamland lies at the heart of Margate and for almost a century was one of the UK’s best-loved amusement parks. The Dreamland Margate project emerged after several years of pioneering work by The Dreamland Trust to save Dreamland’s amusement park” This certainly sets the scene for the weekend’s festival.
Hearing that Friday’s evening session went down a storm, we arrive Saturday charmed by the local’s, musing through the shops, our first port of call was the Draft House Stage which is in Olby’s Soul Café – we arrive in time to catch Jen Clother and her band, performing distinctly raw distortive spiked sounds, Jen has recently released her fourth album and is all too familiar with the struggles of trying to break onto the worldwide stage.
Cloher is a hugely successful artist in Australia, she has been nominated for their equivalent of a Brit and the Mercury. Cloher delivers poetic stories which come with brutal honesty and sincerity direct from her heart and soul. I was enthralled to hear “You’ve been gone so long you could have been dead” as the crushing opening line of the forlorn ‘Forget Myself,’ a song about the perils of long-distance loneliness. A small and intermit audience gave us the opportunity to absorb Cloher’s intense and immersive lyrics, an artist to earmark on your radar.
After a gentle stroll around the market town we headed back to Dreamland and into the Roller disco where we set up camp and the gin bar with an offering of rhubarb gin on the menu, where else would we be?
Girl Ray one of the Newly Tipped all girl, Teen indie Pop bands were the next delightful offering, Poppy Hankin’s singing style enlightens the audience with her sweet and all round harmonic tones, their songs have a soft indie sounding edge, they engage the crowd with heavy hooked riffs, and you already get the sense that they will be an anthemic band next summer.
Time for a little more Gin in anticipation to one of the UKs most important new band’s HMLTD previously known as Happy Meal ltd, until the fast food giant McDonald’s legal team got wind. We watched as they teased the crowd with their sound check, an unconventional band made up of 6 very different characters, I found myself fully engaged in their erratic style, Loud, vampish, with a twist of 80’s stomping punk rock. Important and very relevant, a band not to be missed, they certainly are the real deal and are a somewhat mesmerizing force to be reckoned with;
Metronomy were the headliners of the day and they did not disappoint and neither did by the sea, this is a festival that fits and works well with in it’s home of Margate. I only see the future of this festival establishing itself as an artistic Masterpiece. If you are not catching the music, then ride the vintage style rides, absorb the sea air, take in the museum, or explore the streets. It’s here to stay.