Always the Sun is a new, two day festival, in Guildford, Surrey. It was set up by Guildford venue The Boileroom in order to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. The venue has played host to many big, current artists, such as Catfish and the Bottlemen, Blossoms, Wolf Alice and You Me At Six, as well as plenty of up and coming artists, too. The two day festival featured a host of up and coming artists and a fair share of already established bands too. It was headlined by Mystery Jets and Turin Brakes. The music and arts festival had two main stages, The Park Stage and The Andertons Stage, as well as an acoustic Buskers Stage, a DJ tent, called HMS Tropica, complete with its own ship shaped DJ booth, and many a food, stage and craft tent (and a spot of punk rock yoga). Despite being a two day festival, I only went on the Saturday (boo, especially as Sunday was very sunny) and it poured it down with rain quite literally the whole day, but this didn’t put off many eager festival goers, whose spirits were not dampened by the rain. Whilst I would imagine better weather would have meant more punters, I personally loved the intimate feel of the festival. I mean, how often do you get to see Mystery Jets from the barrier?
The festival was opened by Big Bug. The band played laid back, indie-rock tunes and set the festival off on a brilliant- and rather wet- note. Due to the rain, there wasn’t a huge turn out, but the band seemed relatively unphased as they played to a crowd of 10 as if it were a crowd of 10,000. The band themselves are easy to listen to and a brilliant little find. Have a listen to ‘Automobile’ or ‘Painted Blue’.
A band called Big Zero played on The Park Stage early Saturday afternoon, still in the pouring rain. Big Zero are a band you won’t forget. Their futuristic look (silver outfits complete with the best sunglasses I’ve seen in ages, made better by the fact it was raining) complemented their refreshingly futuristic synthy guitar laced sound. The band were captivating and entertaining from start to finish, with an opening song “Hey Big Zero”, or something equally as catchy, still lingering in my mind. The band credit bands and artists like The Cars, The Police, Elvis Costello and The Sex Pistols among their influences. I can also hear bits of newer artists like VANT within their music, too. Check out ‘Plug Me In’, ‘Disco At The End Of The World’ and ‘Buy Synthetic’.
Tusks is an artist I can only describe as the female equivalent to Jack Garratt, in terms of it being a one woman act playing all the instruments. Tusks played on The Park Stage after Big Zero had played their futuristic set and it couldn’t have been any more of a contrast. Tusks as an artist creates effortlessly calm and cool music, which is perfect and easy to listen to. It’s got hints of artists like Lorde, Alessia Cara and even Wolf Alice, which all intertwine to create something different. Her set was a nice break from some of the heavier, frantic bands that played and she’s definitely an artist to have a listen to (check out ‘Ivy’ or ‘False’ for a good start). Her music is one for when studying or relaxing with friends or alone.
Native People are a band that played the festival to an audience of new and old fans. They seemed to connect to the audience in a way which no other band did- there were groups of people waiting for them to come off stage and meet them for pictures and temporary tattoos. Their music has that classic indie-rock sound, which is an undoubtable winner. Their set was filled with songs from various singles and their latest EP, To Lose What EP. I’m really excited to see what and where they go as a band- they were one of my favourites of the whole day- and they’re currently on a UK tour. Have a listen to ‘Call Me’, ‘Don’t Save Me’ and ‘To Lose What’.
Late afternoon aaaaand it was still raining, but Get Inuit still dazzled nonetheless. They’re a band who already have huge tours under their belt- including one with Slaves and currently with Spring King- and Jamie Glass (lead singer and guitarist) provided a hilariously comic running commentary between songs. The band played songs such as ‘Teriyaki’ and ‘Pro Procrastinator’ as the audience continued to grow. They’re a band just finding their feet, but they’re almost certain to explode over the next year (so keep an eye out).
The Big Moon are a band I love. Ever since I saw them supporting The Maccabees back in January (2016), I’ve been listening to the band and eagerly anticipating new material. They were one of the main reasons I wanted to go to the festival in the first place. The all female band impressed a large audience with hits such as ‘Sucker’, ‘Cupid’ and, latest single, ‘Silent Movie Susie’. Their sound is classic and championed by bands and touring mates, such as Spring King and Mystery Jets. I will say though- and it’s the first time I’ve ever really experienced something that bad, but it can’t be uncommon for them- their set was spoiled for me by the grim middle aged man behind me who spent the whole time shouting rude remarks and derogatory, sexist comments at the band. God knows why he thought such a vulgar commentary was necessary, but it wasn’t welcomed or tolerated. Ugh. Not sure why that’s still (or ever was) a thing, if I’m honest.
The rain finally stopped for Spring King, thank God! The Manchester band had played Guildford, at the Boileroom, before and so knew what to expect from the building crowd. The set rivaled Palm Honey’s set on the Andertons Stage, which proved popular among people at the festival. The band played plenty of songs from their debut album, Tell Me If You Like To, which was released in June, including ‘Detroit’, ‘The Summer’ and ‘Who Are You?’. They, of course, ended the energetic, raucous set with their hit ‘Rectifier’. Somehow the band managed to start a conga line through the crowd for the first time ever- it was quite something!
The Mystery Jets headlined the festival on the Saturday. Mystery Jets are a timeless band. They played a set packed full of hits new and old, playing many songs off of their latest album, Curve of the Earth. The band played songs like ‘Alice Springs’, ‘Flash a Hungry Smile’ and ‘Half in Love With Elizabeth’ to a mixed age crowd with plenty of talking, mainly by Jack Flanagan (guitarist, who joined the band in 2014) and, lead singer, Blaine Harrison in between. The whole crowd joined in by singing ‘Two Doors Down’, at the end, as well as ‘Young Love’ from Twenty One. Their set was simply fantastic and I wish I could go back! I can’t stop listening to the band. They said they were excited to feel as though they were “headlining a festival” and it definitely was a special moment.
Overall, the Saturday of Always The Sun festival was brilliant- I just wish I could’ve gone on the Sunday too (to see bands like Blaenavon and The Amazons)! The day was filled with brilliant new bands and some of my favourite bands around at the moment, despite the rain. This festival, which was conveniently so close to home, was a fabulous find and I hope to go again next year, if they put it on again, and hopefully I can discover some more great new bands.