My Festival Round-Up – Beautiful Days, 2018

Belatedly, a round-up of my top bands from Beautiful Days, our best festival (once again…) of the year…

Thursday is get in day, and no formal music events, with the stages kicking off on Friday. I left the obligatory Levellers acoustic session to catch the full Rews set opening up the main stage, and a cracking start to the festival proper:

They’ve got some great riffs and infectious lyrics, but I think the festival set list order could do with a tweak… A lot of the songs have an early hook, presumably to catch the interest of the Spotify / Youtube generation before they click away, but in a festival set when you’ve caught the interest of the audience, there’s an opportunity to give a tune bit more space and play with the instrumental breaks a bit more. The audience was asked for an opinion on a new song and I gave it a thumbs up, in general, but in need of a bit of reworking: let it build a bit more… Dropping one of the songs from the set list to give more space to songs that were rocking would have made this an even better set for me, but it was still a blast… They’re touring later in the year, so if you get a chance to see ’em, take it whilst the tickets are still affordable…

A quick saunter over to the Big Top to see the Army’s Justin Sullivan on a solo set, then back to the main stage for My Baby, the stand out act of the weekend for me… I’m not generally in to the dance thing, but they were just incredible, building songs beautifully and just FRICKIN’ AWESOME…

If you ever get a chance to see them in a festival setting, don’t miss it… Rews could learn a lot from them…

I’d also happily spend another lazy afternoon sipping Long Island Iced Tea and foot-tapping along with Kitty, Daisy and Lewis

For myself and many of the old gang I met up with at the festival, Feeder are the band whose songs you may remember well – and they have a lot of them – but for which you could never remember who played them. Solid, slick, but forgettably memorable…

Then it was Hives… meh.. irritating, irritating, irritating; but so irritating that a lot sat through it to see just how much more irritating they could be… I wandered off to see Suzanne Vega, who had a couple of session musicians alongside her stalwart guitarist, but the set was the same as the two piece offering and perhaps more suited to a theatrical setting than a festival alt-stage. TBH, for that hour or two, a little bit of me would rather have been back on the island watching 77/78

A slow start to Saturday – too much iced tea the day before – but whilst Kitty McFarlane’s story backed folk songs were quite beautiful (I’d love to see her at the Quay Arts) it wasn’t quite rockin’ enough to kick start my day, so I regret not catching more of Emily Capell who was boogie woogie -licious -lightful:

I’m not sure whether she has a thing going with any of the Spitfires, who were on after, but it’s the first time I’ve seen an early after support act: a) brag about how they’re the tightest band at the festival, and b) suggest everyone go to the clean toilets a walk away by the acoustic tent for a poo when then next main stage band are on…

Undeterred, I still gave the Spitfires a chance – should’ve brought me docks… It’d be good to see them at Strings to give the Orders a bit of a lesson in how to be’ave…

I’m still not sure how I get on with 3 Daft Monkeys… perhaps depends on the mood I’m in when I catch ’em… would be nice to see them again at Rhythm Tree.

Elephant Sessions, on the other hand, I have no doubts about… The video below doesn’t do the power of them justice… played loud in a big tent: brull-yunt. It’d be a bit of a trek to get them down to the Island but I’d give them a floor to sleep on any day…

(I also thought this was interesting – their tech spec / stage plan.)

Saturday headliners were the Manics… whilst I admire their performance, persistence and continued inventiveness, I’ve never really got on with them. I should perhaps have made it down to the front (Beautiful Days is a beautifully sized festival – you can get as close to the stage as you fancy and have a bit of a jig, though it can get a little boisterous from time to time…).

Sunday opened with homage to The Bar Steward Sons of Val Doonican, the second band I now rate from Barnsley (Hands Off Gretel being the other…). Lyrical reworkings of well known tunes, Paint ‘Em Back had me in stitches, and the audience management was incredible – an inflatable boat trip surf completely round the Big Top, and the whole tent, and a packed tent at that – down low for a jump; a perfick Sunday awakening…

The Bar Stewards took inspiration from another “comedy” act who were playing in the pub, Hobo Jones and the Junkyard Dogs.

We gave them a bit of a listen over a(nother) cocktail whilst sat on the hill, before heading back for Dub Pistols:

I skipped out with the last 2 or 3 three songs to go (not least because I needed a rest!) to check out Skinny Lister, but that was a mistake… should’a stayed at the Pistols for the full set… Oysterband a bit later didn’t really work for me either…

So that was pretty much it, then, (I missed Gogol Bordello in favour of hitting the tent to replenish the cocktail readymix bottles) until days end with the Levellers full set. I’d watched them spotting the lights the night before – although the lighting guy hadn’t been in an overly chatty mood (“concentrating….”)

Post festival shopping list:

  • Rews, My Baby, Elephant Sessions, Emily Capell, maybe the Spitfires.

I also saw a lot of Ferocious Dog t-shirts, so maybe something from them too…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.