Thursday, 13 June 2013

Long Division Festival 2013

Bright and early start, off to Wakefield for the 3rd Long Division Festival. 

It's my first time, I'm feeling a bit apprehensive as I don't know Wakefield and have a terrible sense of direction, I fear I will spend most of my day looking for the venues. I get there around 12 and there isn't a large queue at the Wristband exchange. The staff are friendly and very helpful. I bump into Mike Kershaw, Wakefield musician, and its really nice to meet an on-line friend in person. 

A brief glance at the timetable makes your head spin, so many good acts, over 7 venues, how do you begin to choose? My initial plan for the day is to try and see bands that I have played on the radio show but haven't seen live and also catch a few people I know but haven't seen for a while. The programme is excellent, blurb about all the bands, timetable and venue map.

The Sunbeams
Its already very busy in the Hop courtyard and the first band of the day are playing, The Sunbeams, its over a year since I last saw this band and I was very impressed with them. Good solid set. I am loving the buzz in the courtyard, timetables out, swapping of hot tips, really good atmosphere. 

12.30 and first dilemma of the day, I am sticking with the original plan and go upstairs at the Hop. A little unscheduled treat is a short spoken word set from Matt Abbot (Skint and Demoralised) who then goes on to introduce The Michael Ainsley Band, and with a mighty scream they are off! Wow, really blown away by this band, so much energy and great playing. A band who are having fun of stage and transmitting this. 

Time to make a move, I head up to Velvet, my fears about getting lost are dispelled as all the venues are very close by and easy to find. Change of plans at Velvet as performances are not going to start until 3.30, time for a quick chat with Jonny The Firth who will be running events here. 

I decide to head off to Drury Lane Library to see imp. They are just setting up so I use the spare
time to have steak and ale pie and peas. There is a really good crowd to see imp, I've seen them before but its been quite a while. Even better than I remembered them.

Going to head down to Warehouse 23 but I've realised that I can fit in Thomas Wilby Gang at the Hop first, their set is already underway but I catch most of it. Great harmonies, they alternate lead vocals in the songs. WIll definitely try and see them again. 

Quick trip through the carpark and down to Warehouse 23 for The Scaramanga Six, these are a great live band, I'm hoping they are good today as I have recommended them to a few people. How did I ever doubt, they play a really good set and work very hard at getting the audience involved at this early hour. 

The Coopers
The short cut between the Warehouse and The Hop means I can alternate and see a few more acts, so I head back up to The Hop for The Coopers, I love this band, how could you not, a band that transmits happiness and good feeling. By simply draping flowers round the mics they have made this space there own and play a lively set of sunny, bouncy and catchy songs. 

Back down to Warehouse 23 for Aztec Doll, I heard their music for the first time last week and really liked it - the live set is great, dark pop I think I would call it. 

Back up to the Hop for Boxing Klub, 3 piece blues-rock band who are launching their EP today as well, great set mostly of the songs on the new release. 

Back down to the Warehouse 23 for Morain, love this band's EP was interested to see what they were like live and really impressed that their live sound is as polished as the recordings.

Next I head up to Velvet and catch Harry George Johns, his voice gives me goosebumps, such
Harry George Johns
emotion, his songs are hauntingly sad but they leave me feeling strangely calm, like they've sucked all the sadness out of you. 

Sometime around here the beer and trips in the hot sunshine have frazzled my brain and I read my watch wrong which means I miss The Do's who I was planning to see, I take timeout for something to eat and am at Hop in time for Nine Black Alps (forgetting that I told Harry George Johns I would see him at Post War Glamour Girls on at the same time). It's packed, not surprisingly, really enjoy this band who hadn't been on my original list.

Toying with the idea of reliving my youth and going to see Ed Tudor Pole but I can't actually get into the bar when I come downstairs, so I head back up to Velvet to catch the The State of Georgia, loved the album they sent me earlier this year but this is the first time I have seen them live. Not disappointed 

Where to go next is based solely on the fact that I found a chair at Velvet, so I am staying put! The next band are Humanfly, I hadn't originally planned to see them but really glad I did, excellent set.

Another impromptu appearance from Matt Abbot who introduces Micky P Kerr, who starts off with spoken word and finishes with some songs from the new EP. I really like the new songs, looking forward to the release.

 I reckon I have left it too late for The Fall, so pop into the Hop again to catch New Vinyl, looks to be a new line-up since I last saw them, including female backing vocals. They still have a decent crowd in despite coinciding with The Fall. 

I desperately want to stay for Middleman but my legs are refusing to move any more. 

 I am exhausted but its been a brilliant day, loved the atmosphere of this festival, places were always busy but no horrendous queues. I didn't actually get to all the venues but packed a lot in. I will certainly go again and strongly recommend it.

Michelle Dalgety, Yorkshire Music Collective

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