Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Bingley Music Live 2012

Spirit of John
I really look forward to Bingley Music Live, its a great weekend, probably one of the best value for money festivals at only £50 for 3 days. For the first time this year, the Friday is not a free event and it also starts earlier too. I have a mad dash from work to make it in time to see Spirit of John open up proceedings on the Raise the Roof Stage. This is my first surprise of the weekend. Last year there was a small tent for a few local acts and I was expecting something similar. However, this year Raise The Roof is a large beautifully decorated stage, which really suits the type and excellent quality of the acts who will be gracing it all weekend. It gets off to a fantastic start with Spirit of John, who start as their traditional duo of guitar and double bass but as they continue the set are joined by friends on violin, accordion, banjo and trumpet coming closer to the full sound on their new album.
Small Words

The Raise The Roof stage and the Musicians Centre Stage are quite close together and the timings have been set so one stage is playing while the other is on changeover, that way there is very little chance of one drowning out the other. The bands on the Musicians stage have been hand picked by the musicians centre from a large number of bands requesting a slot. The sound is being provided by Jam on Top studios Keighley, also renowned for their support of local musicians. I'm in time to catch the latter part of Small Words set, they have a great following there singing along - its wonderful to see support at this early stage for the local band stage. Great set from Small Words, a band I will definitely check out again.

Matt Belmont
I bump into quite a few people I know so I am a little late getting back to Raise The Roof for Matt Belmont, I only catch 2 songs and am left wanting more.

These two new stages are near the new kid zone and the catering areas. There seems to be a lot more choice and better quality than last year. I opt for paella which is excellent. There is a wide variety of cuisine up here though, I'm sure everyone can find something they like. Only problem on this first day is the rain - I'm having to wolf down my food to stop it getting wet! 


Back to the Musicians stage to see Ballyhoo/Eventide, these are one of my favourite live bands, its good to see them on a large stage where they have plenty of room to bounce around and swap sides and instruments. Great set.

Next I head back to The Raise The Roof Stage to where I catch Sadie and the Hotheads do a very nice set. There is so much going on here that I've not seen anyone on the main stage yet. I am on my way down when I am distracted by All Too Human on the Musicians Stage and stay to watch their very good set.

Skinny Lister
Back to Raise The Roof to see Skinny Lister, I loved these, fantastic set of raucous sea-shanty type songs, great toe-tapping music and just the thing you fancy at a festival. It's also pleasing that a good number of people have found their way to this stage as its not too easy to find if you don't know its there. 

As with all festivals there is a time when you want to be in two places at once, mine is on Friday when I want to see Bearfoot Beware and Martha Reeves, I planned to watch a couple of songs by Bearfoot Beware and then walk down to see Martha Reeves but end up staying for all the set and missing Martha.

Bearfoot Beware
I am back down in time for The Charlatans though, I thought their set was excellent. Some old favourites in there. In all its been a great start to the weekend, hopefully the weather improves for the remainder of the weekend as its very cold tonight.

I think that one of the things that has most amused me today is that Soreen are sponsoring the festival, it seems funny to be given malt loaf at an outdoor event.  I head back to the train as I want to be here in really good time tomorrow.

The Scandal

The opening slot of main stage on Saturday is for one of the battle of the band winners, young Leeds band The Scandal. Its a tough slot for a band but they do a brilliant job. I have seen them quite a lot this year and am surprised to hear a couple of new songs, I thought they might have played it safe with songs they were used to but this is a band who are constantly wanting to improve. They have been going a relatively short time to have got together a good tight bluesy influence rock. They will be the subject of a separate blog as I did a backstage interview with them.

Down The Machine

After an early start I am in the press area for a while catching up with some friends. It's quite a distance from mainstage to the 2 other stages so I'm thinking about the right time to head back up. I watch The Jim Jones Review on mainstage and really enjoyed them. Next I head back to the Musicians Stage to catch my good friends Down The Machine. Very good set as usual and through them I also find out that with my press pass I am able to "fast track" up down the stairs from mainstage, This is going to save me a lot of time! They also share their meal tokens with me :)

Dan Audio
The next band on this stage are Dan Audio, a versatile band who mix dub, ska, drum & bass and rock. Today however they seem to be doing some of their more reggae based songs, always guaranteed to go down well at a festival. It's a great set and there are a lot of people around these stages now, enjoying the sunshine and good music. One of the best things about this stage is the variety of genres. There has been folk, heavy metal, hard rock, reggae and indie bands, there have also been slots for solo perfomers which is great.

After popping back to the press area, I'm back again in time for Deadwall, a Leeds band I like a great deal. They're a 5 piece band, with haunting vocals that draw you in and an impressive sound with strong guitars and keyboards. They are followed by Ti Amo, a young Bradford band,   which I suppose you would label as pop punk. Their songs are very fast paced, though the fact that all the members sing means they are quite harmonious.

The headline act on the Raise The Roof Stage is The Lancashire Hotpots, and there is a large crowd gathered for them. I catch some of their set before heading down to mainstage to see the headliners Razorlight. I think tiredness is setting in, their set really isn't doing it for me so I head off as tomorrow is another early start.

Sunday I'm in time for the first band on, Marsicans who have had a great week playing the BBC introducing stage at Leeds & Reading and now opening mainstage at Bingley. They're a band who always seem to be enjoying playing and their joy is quite infectious and those gathered at this early hour are bouncing along. Its a good solid set, with a brand new song in there, as well as their new single Scuba and some of their regular setlist.

Also did a backstage interview with them which will feature in a separate blog.

Me and My Friends
I'm up at the Raise the Roof Stage in time to catch the latter part of the set by Leeds band Me and My Friends. I've not heard them before, beautiful sound and I'm delighted they have an album coming out soon. Lovely bunch of people too, it was nice to chat with them after the show.

 After I saw solo performer Joe Tilston, excellent performer, also joined by friends for a couple of the songs. Hmmm hungry, time for food again! Oops prorgamming error, I've managed to miss Katzenjammer, was really looking forward to them as well.

Foxes Faux
So its back to the Musicians Stage for one of the bands I've really been looking forward to, Foxes Faux. They really caught my attention when I was listening to bands I knew were going to be on this stage and I thought they would be great at the festival. They've moved some of the straw bales on to the stage which adds to the ambience. They are country style punk folk band, great set, there is one part with the violinist on top of a straw bale playing like a man possessed that is absolutely fantastic. A lot of people gathered for this one and plenty of clapping along and toe tapping. I got their album after the set, which is excellent too.

Ellen and The Escapades
I've not seen Ellen and The Escapades for a long time and its great to see them on the Raise The Roof Stage. It's very hot at the moment and there's a lot of people sitting in the sunshine chilling out with this music. I love Ellen Smith's voice, the songs are excellent. I'm really chuffed to hear "Without You", its one of the first tracks I ever heard by Ellen and The Escapades and its still one of my favourites. Also good to see the multi-talented Gary Stewart with the band. I hot foot it down to mainstage to catch the end of Hard-Fi's set, which I really enjoyed too. I've hardly seen anything on mainstage today, so much going on "up the hill".

The Coopers
I don't think there can be a better band to end a fun weekend on the Musicians Stage than The Coopers, they are so talented and so smiley you can't help but love them. They are bouncing around the stage and people are joining out front too. Their tunes are really catchy and whether you've seen them before or not you are soon singing along with them. Just in time for White Lies after The Coopers, really enjoyed them too.

I ended the evening watching a couple of songs by The Idiot Bastard Band, and by this time I was totally shattered but in a good sense. I think it is brilliant that Bingley Music Live have vastly improved the additional stages and given a chance to so many local bands and alternative performers. A good number of people found their way there this year and I'm sure these stages would be well supported in the future.

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