Wildlife Festival 2017- Friday Review

Wildlife Festival returned to Shoreham airport for the third time this year, with Jess Glynne and Dizzee Rascal as headliners. The festival- which primarily focuses on dance and grime music- ran from the 9th and 10th June 2017, across Friday and Saturday (which allowed the festival to run later into the evening).

I attended the festival on the Friday. It felt like a local, quite intimate festival, yet it consistently pulls in huge, globally renowned artists. The crowd were energetic and young, yet the atmosphere felt strange at times. The dance tents were full at all times.

Here are my highlights…

Zara Larsson- Wild Life Stage

Zara Larsson played a brilliant- albeit short- hit filled set, which featured collaborations she has appeared on, songs from her 2017 debut album- So Good– and even an Ed Sheeran cover. Larsson has mastered the art of a good pop song and the songs sounded perfect under the beaming sun. A guilt-free pleasure.

Clean Bandit- Wild Life Stage 

Clean Bandit have soundtracked summers ever since they released ‘Rather Be’, with festival headliner and pop-sensation Jess Glynne, in 2014. Clean Bandit’s set was a huge sing-a-long, as the band played hits from their first album- New Eyes– and singles from the (pending) upcoming second album. The band performed with session singers, but brought out guests including Stylo G. The band played songs including Christmas number one, ‘Rockabye’, and ‘Symphony’, for which they brought out Zara Larsson.

Chaka Khan- Wild Life Stage

You’d be foolish to think that 60-something-year-old Chaka Khan couldn’t sing anymore. The Queen of Funk played a hit filled set, which spanned across her 40 year back catalogue. ¬†It goes without saying that the highlight of the set was the huge crowd sing-a-long to the iconic ‘I’m Every Woman’ and ‘Ain’t Nobody’, which Khan seemed to forget the words to.

George Ezra- Wild Life Stage

I can’t stress how pleased I was to hear George Ezra was back on the festival and touring circuit. Ezra played a glorious, trumpet filled set, which showcased songs from his upcoming second album, hits from his debut Wanted on Voyage, as well as a few old B-sides. Ezra had re-arranged some old fan favourites to include his touring band and give the songs a new lease of life. He also showcased brand new single ‘Don’t Matter Now’ and encouraged fans to sing to some of his new tracks. I can’t wait to hear more new George Ezra material. I can’t help but feel as though George Ezra was out of place at the primarily dance music led festival. He played an assured set, which the crowd enjoyed, but his placing on a line-up encased by artists like Stormzy and Wiley seemed strange. He managed to play a brilliant set though.

Jess Glynne- Wild Life Stage, headliner

Jess Glynne- and her incredible sparkly trousers- headlined the Wild Life Stage on the Friday of the festival. Glynne played songs from her first album I Cry When I Laugh to an excited and enthusiastic crowd. Huge screens changed to the music, whilst backing dancers and a full band made the stage an even bigger spectacle. The pop-senstation played a thoroughly enjoyable set, which was hit after hit. The crowd sang and danced all evening.

Overall, the day was exciting and full of great, fun music. The weekend also featured sets from Fat Boy Slim and a DJ set by festival creators, Disclosure.

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Wildlife Festival 2017- Friday Review

June 2016- What I’m Listening To

June- the month of new releases, reunions and festivals.

Let’s start with the rather unexpected comeback from The Strokes. At the end of May, Julian Casablancas (lead singer of The Strokes) debuted a new track, “Oblivius”, on his SiriusXM radio show. The new track came after an announcement that The Strokes would release an EP called the ‘Future Present Past EP’, on the 3rd June, which would be their first release since ‘Comedown Machine’, three years ago. The EP was released on the 3rd June and featured three tracks: ‘Oblivius’, ‘Drag Queen’ and ‘Threat of Joy’. They played the Governors Ball festival in New York City on the 3rd June. Their new material is edgy and effortlessly cool. It’s guitar laced classic indie rock and I love it. I can’t wait to hear more of what the band will release over the next few months.

June didn’t disappoint on the album release front either, with releases from artists and bands like Tom Odell,¬†Spring King and Jake Bugg. Tom Odell’s stunning follow up album was the perfect reinvention of classic Odell. Whilst he still manages to get the piano in many of the songs, Odell is less dependant on the piano and ventures away from the keys throughout the album. “Wrong Crowd” is a bold move, but it works and he sounds great (“exquisite” even, if you ask my dad). The same can be said for Jake Bugg’s third album, “On My One”. “On My One” is an eclectic mix of old, country laced classics intertwined with many an upbeat anthem, a ballad or two and, surprisingly, a rap, which is perhaps best forgotten. It’s one of my favourite Jake Bugg albums and I can’t wait to see him on tour in November. Spring King, too, have released an album. “Tell Me If You Like To” was released on the 10th June. Its raucous, raw sound, with hints of Palma Violets, makes it an interesting, yet thrilling, listen.

Bastille are also back. The band released “Good Grief” on the 16th June and also announced that they are set to release an album, ‘Wild World’, on September 9th this year. The album follows their debut album,”Bad Blood”, which was released three years ago (in 2013), and will be followed up by a UK arena tour, where the band are set to play huge areas like The O2 in London, as well as a huge string of festival sets. “Good Grief” is infuriatingly catchy. It’s an incredible track which has been stuck in my head since its release. If the rest of the album is anything like this then we’re in for a treat!

As if this wasn’t enough, Jamie T has released a song, too. On the 29th June 2016 Jamie T unveiled latest single “Tinfoil Boy” from his ¬†upcoming album, “Trick”, released on September 2nd. The album has a set of supporting concert dates, too, which sees Jamie T (whose real name is Jamie Treays) play three nights at the O2 Academy Brixton. “Tinfoil Boy” is¬†quite vocal for T, but it has huge echoey lines and hooks¬†reminiscent of earlier material. I can’t wait to hear what else he has to release.

Following a weird stint playing undercover comeback shows as a band billed as “a tribute to Two Door Cinema Club”, Two Door Cinema Club have debuted a new song called “Gameshow” (which was not played at any of the comeback shows) and another new song, and upcoming single, called “Are We Ready? (Wreck)”. The single is from their upcoming album ‘Gameshow’, released October 14th. “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” is a song I find very exciting. It’s upbeat and refreshing, with hints of classic Two Door Cinema Club. The sung “na na na na…” bit reminds me of Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries”, if you wanted a very distanced comparison, and I can imagine huge crowds singing back the lyrics (are we ready? Hold it steady).

On the first of June, The 1975, once again, hit us with a cryptic clues and a countdown. The band announced that they would play their biggest ever show in December this year, but, frustratingly, kept the location secret. Many speculated a date at London’s prestigious O2 Arena and they were spot on. The 1975 will play, to a sold out arena, The O2 Arena on the 16th December 2016. They promise to include “expanded visuals and a brand new set list including songs that have never been played live” and noted that their performance is “constantly evolving” and will “fuse art and technology to create a unique live experience”. I am beyond excited to see how this will play out. The band latterly released arena dates encasing this one in December, which includes another date at The O2 Arena. The 1975 also released the cinematically stunning video for “Somebody Else”. I’d love to delve into and explore the video further, but overall it’s a sympathetically shot video with brilliant and clever nods to past videos. It’s quickly cut, honest and clever. I like it.

In June, for my birthday (19th June), I saw Coldplay at Wembley Stadium. Coldplay are a live band who never get boring. It’s amazing how after constant touring they can still put on fascinating, encapsulating and almost perfect performances, which are never short of the odd, well handled hick up. The band genuinely seem to be having the time of their lives and looked genuinely grateful that people were still out and supporting their band. They managed to entertain a crowd which easily spanned three generations. They were incredible.

Obviously no June post would be complete without mentioning the formidable Glastonbury Festival. There’s nothing I love more than spending the weekend covered in mud with good people, good music and good tasting (yet probably not healthy) food. The festival was headlined by Muse, Adele and Coldplay, with the Sunday tea-time legends slot going to Jeff Lynne’s ELO (who have just released a one off date at Wembley Stadium on the 24th June 2017). Other acts across the weekend included Tom Odell, Wolf Alice, Madness and Jess Glynne. It was an incredible weekend and I could go on about it for ages. You can catch up on the blog posts here!

Other notable festivals from June 2016 included Shoreham’s Wildlife Festival, headlined by Disclosure and Rudimental, and The Isle of Wight festival, which both looked incredible.

This month’s playlist includes songs from artists I saw at Glastonbury, new releases from this month and some golden oldies. It also includes artists like Christine and the Queen, who I have been listening to a lot this month, as I’m baffled by her incredible talent. There’s also a bit of Viola Beach (having seen Coldplay’s emotional Glastonbury tribute) and Adele, of course.

 

 

 

 

June 2016- What I’m Listening To

Glastonbury Festival 2016- Friday 24th June 2016

This is the second of four blog posts about the festival weekend. You can find the first post and the ‘introduction’, if you like, here.

Whilst this post is about the Friday of the festival, I saw a handful of brilliant acts on the Thursday evening and thought it’d be worth giving them a quick review too. Whilst the music technically¬†doesn’t start until Friday, there’s always the odd act which plays on the Thursday evening. We managed to see three live bands (Clean Cut Kid, DMA’s and Rat Boy) on Thursday evening on the William’s Green stage- one of my favourite stages of the whole festival. William’s Green is an incredible little stage. It’s a stage which bursts with “new” talent, with the odd surprise. I suppose I have so much affection for it because last year I saw artists like Swim Deep and Palma Violets play sweaty little energetic shows there which had a totally different dynamic to their other performances, incidentally on the Other Stage, across the weekend.

THURSDAY 23RD JUNE 2016

CLEAN CUT KID– Clean Cut Kid were a pleasant surprise to see hidden among the line-up. I had wanted to see them, having heard them being played at work and on the radio, for a while as I love how chilled out and cool they are. They played a short set compared to many of the acts across the weekend, but they managed to satisfy a music hungry crowd (and it’s very hard to follow the hype and enthusiasm of a The Smiths tribute act, called The Smyths). ¬†They’ve got that Of Monsters and Men and The Lumineers feel about them. They’re a band to keep an eye on and I recommend you have a listen to “Vitamin C” or “Runaway”.

RAT BOY– I felt a bit sorry for Rat Boy. Unlike Clean Cut Kid, they weren’t previously listed on the line up for that slot. It was simply labelled “live band”. Whilst I was overjoyed about it being Rat Boy (knowing I would miss him playing on the John Peel Stage on the Friday), there were plenty of perplexed people there thinking it would be someone ‘huge’- the Radiohead rumours were rife throughout the weekend. Whilst not Thom Yorke, Rat Boy played an energetic and fun set. They played songs such as “Left For Dead”, “Sign On” and “Move” as the tent gradually thinned out. The crowd weren’t really feeling it and it looked as though the Essex lads were having a pretty painful time with a crowd that was almost dire. Rat Boy gigs are often hot and sweaty with plenty of “moshing” and dancing. This, on the other hand, was an hour or so of Cardy (Jordan Cardy or ‘Rat Boy’) shouting “JUMP” at a crowd with no intention of moving, other than out of the tent. The attempt at a “wall of death” style move was particularly hilarious to witness. Nonetheless, they played an incredible set, it just wasn’t really appreciated by the middle aged, ever hopeful Radiohead fans.

FRIDAY 24TH JUNE 2016

This year the Friday of the festival was headlined by Muse. It was a day filled with an eclectic bunch of music, rain (including non-waterproof jackets), sun and plenty of mud. Acts across the day included James, Skepta, ZZ Top and Foals.

Everything seemed to be going wrong for those working at The Other Stage on Friday morning. The main area surrounding the stage had been fenced off to allow the preservation of the last remaining green patches of mud and the recovery of the land prior to the mad rush of people, but when it’s 10 o’clock (and the first act is due on at 11) and you’ve still got wood chippings to put out, tractors to move and a, erm, wall to build, you’ve got a few problems. After a somewhat wild (yet, attempted to be controlled by specialised security) rampage, The Other Stage was opened by none other than Michael Eavis (the first of a few lucky sightings) cutting a red ribbon before 80s band¬†James took to the stage. I grew up listening to James in my dad’s car, so I was weirdly looking forward to seeing them. Granted, I only knew one song prior to seeing them (that being “Sit Down”, which they, devastatingly, didn’t play), but they managed to impress a crowded field of fans. They dedicated “Sometimes” to none other than Michael Eavis, as, apparently, “when you look into his eyes you can see his soul” or something. They managed to embody the spirit of the festival as Tim Booth (lead singer) got into the crowd multiple times, managed to crowd surf and ended up with a beautiful mud smear across his forehead (and finished the show with it). Eavis branded them “one of the best bands of the 80s” and they certainly did deliver a brilliant set filled with new and old songs.

Stockport’s finest, Blossoms, played on the Other Stage for the first time this year. Blossoms are an incredibly talented new, up and coming band. If you’ve not listened to them yet I strongly urge you to do so (as I do believe they’re about to become huge). They played songs such as “Getaway”, “At Most a Kiss” and “Blown Rose”. They dedicated “Charlemagne” to their late friends in Viola Beach- the first of many Viola Beach tributes across the weekend. Viola Beach were touring with Blossoms when they, and manager Craig Tarry, were tragically killed in a car accident. The band also played “My Favourite Room”, which is a new song. Blossoms are brilliant and can be found at pretty much every festival this summer as well as on tour this autumn, it’d be stupid not to see them whilst you can.

Two Door Cinema Club are well and truly back. At this point on the Friday afternoon it was pouring with rain. The pouring rain over the Pyramid Stage juxtaposed the sun kissed indie rock of Two Door Cinema Club’s set and was almost even distracting. The band played songs from their two previous albums, “Beacon” and “Tourist History”, as well as their latest single “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” from their new album “Gameshow”, which is due for release this October. They also played the title song, “Gameshow”, from the album. The Irish lads managed to win the crowd over in the rain by playing the upbeat hits, such as “Undercover Martyn” and ¬†“Something Good Can Work”, before ending with the hugely popular “What You Know”- which even my dad knew. Everyone (surely) knows, or at least recognises, a Two Door Cinema Club song, which is what makes them so fascinating to watch. I think the band are back and better than ever and I look forward to seeing them (hopefully) lots over the next year, with their new album.

Jess Glynne, accompanied by her live band and two dancers, ¬†played the Pyramid Stage at the festival and made the sun come out. She wore the most incredible green suit, too (on a completely unrelated note). Jess Glynne had to pull out last year, due to illness, so it was exciting to see her come back and play at the festival this year. She played an optimistic, fun set, perfect for a Friday afternoon. She played songs from her debut album, “I Cry When I Laugh”, such as “Hold My Hand”, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” and “Take Me Home”, as well as emotional acoustic version of “My Love”, for her parents, and songs which she collaborated with the equally as brilliant Clean Bandit on (“Rather Be” and “Real Love”). Glynne was just one of the strong female artists I saw over the weekend and she shone a beacon of light for the women in music. It was incredibly refreshing and inspiring to see someone like Jess Glynne play high up at a prestigious festival like this. She was one of the best acts over the weekend, too!

Just before Muse took to the stage Oxford’s¬†Foals played. Allegedly, the festival wanted Foals for The Libertines’s surprise slot last year, so it was hardly surprising (especially after the success of their latest album, “What Went Down”) that they were asked to play this year. They played a nostalgic set filled with old and new songs. “My Number”, from “Holy Fire”, always gets the crowd going and warmed the crowd up for Muse. They also played songs, such as “Snake Oil”, “Mountain At My Gates”, “What Went Down” and, the lengthy, chilled, “A Knife In The Ocean”, from the newest album. These songs proved popular with the Worthy Farm crowd. The PR and sound broke during the last song, “Two Steps, Twice”, but it was amazing to see the band still going on unfazed and unaware nonetheless. They played a triumphant set and proved worthy of their huge set. They’re definitely headliners of the future. The band will co-headline Reading and Leeds later this year.

Muse headlined the Friday night of Glastonbury Festival, on the Pyramid Stage. They played off of the back of their recent arena tour, with their latest album “Drones”. Whilst there were no drones on site, as it was not allowed by the farm, the set proved simply mind blowing to watch. ¬†I’ve never been hugely into Muse, but even I thought this set was something else. They opened, behind and through doors, ¬†with “Psycho”, after a tape had played. There was a huge graphic of a military figure plastered across all the screens saying things like “I am a psycho killer”, which is quite disturbing and unsettling. The band know how to put on a show though. Matt Bellamy’s (lead singer) singing and guitar playing were perfectly executed and added to the buzzing atmosphere over the night. They played songs, such as “Supermassive Black Hole” and “Madness”, to which the crowd sung along. The songs were cut up by various clips and tapes, such as a speech by JFK. It was all very cleverly put together- their production (and stage presence) is definitely worthy of such a big slot. Muse ended with a three song encore (before being cut due to curfew). They played “Uprising”, “Mercy” and “Knights of Cydonia” as the encore and left the crowd wanting more as they exited the stage at just got twelve! The band pulled off a tricky set with ease. Live settings, like this, definitely do them justice.

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Glastonbury Festival 2016- Friday 24th June 2016