Another weekend, another festival, I guess someone has to do it! I am of course joking, to be invited to cover so many summer festivals is a pleasure (if you call sleeping in the car a pleasure) but hey, I bought a 4 metre bell tent and found out the camping field was full so I would have had to walk about half a mile to find a pitch and the idea of a couple of nights in the car was just about bearable!
Boardmasters is by far the largest of the Cornish festivals, attracting some 30,000 flip flop wearing music lovers every year to the hills of Watergate Bay to indulge in a weekend of music, fun and frivolity, there is of course the surfing/skateboarding competition which was the reason the music festival actually kicked off in the first place, this runs throughout the week leading up to the music event which serves as a great way of closing a week of action across the two sites.
I don’t think I’d be upsetting anyone to say that the festival attracts a 'younger' demographic, I say this as I am 44 years old and felt more like a dad keeping an eye on my kids rather than a journalist taking in all that the event had to offer! I guess that most festivals draw a younger crowd these days and the older I get, the more this will become apparent! There were a fair few families walking about, kids sat in large trolleys that were being pulled around reluctantly by ‘Dad’ who clearly wanted to sit down with his face in a pint glass, taking in the sea air and the amazing atmosphere!
I arrived mid morning on Friday, the site had just opened and after I received my media wristband, I made my way to the main arena to find my feet and check out the stage times for the bucketful of acts that were performing throughout the day.
Altogether, there were ten music stages, ‘The Main Stage’ was an outdoor affair in the main arena, the ‘Unleashed’ Big Top acted as the dance tent, the ‘Land of Saints’ stage was another Big Top, ‘The Point’ was an outdoor dance area overlooking the sea, ‘The View’ housed the acoustic acts from a 50’s style open sided ‘Airstream’ caravan, ‘Corona Sunsets’ was another outdoor dance area. ‘The Net Loft’ tent was hosted by BBC Introducing and featured some of the BEST acts in the area, The ‘Keg & Pasty’ was a pop up traditional style country pub attracting all sorts of acts and the ‘VIP Bar’ was an undercover area where a myriad of performers provided entertainment for those who simply wanted to sit back in the sofas and watch the world go by! There was another performance area in the ‘Land of Saints’ field which hosted fire performances and the famous ‘Lords of Lightning’ late in the evening/early the next morning to entertain the masses well into the night. There really was, something for everyone!
It was great to see so many people, all clad in the trademark festival ‘garb’ including plenty of tie-die clothing, baggy ‘MC Hammer’ style pantaloons and flowered head dresses, there was of course plenty of places offering to paint your faces/bodies for a small charge, something I considered for a split second and decided against as I don’t think it would have done my handsome face any justice at all!
The weather started out a little dull with plenty of cloud cover and a light breeze, the forecast promised to brighten things up and by early afternoon, the big yellow thing in the sky had donned its hat and came out to play, this had a profound effect on the audience who switched into Summer mode in an instant, great to see so many people having such a good time in the Cornish sunshine!
I saw loads of bands on the Friday, chatted to quite a few too so to keep things easier to follow, I’ll run through the notes I made to give you a flavour of what was happening across the vast site, perched high on the hilltop of Watergate Bay.
My first appointment was at the main stage where Cornish trio Auction for the Promise Club did a great job of opening the festival with their blend of powerful indie rock, it’s always a bit of a task having to play to people as they made their way into the main arena but I see it as a privilege, playing to plenty of local folk, getting your music out there and making sure that you win a few fans throughout your set. We caught up with the band after they had left the stage, the full interview will be online soon.
It was good to see a Devon singer songwriter called Sam Fearon at ‘The View’ stage, he played a mellow, chilled out set consisting of a number of classic covers such as Bill Wither’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ (there wasn’t at the time he played anyway!) He also managed to slip in a self-penned track called ‘Brothers in Arms’ which he wrote for The British Legion who have gone on to use it as their track of 2016. He closed with a fab version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition’ which made great use of his magical loop pedal, creating layers of music for him to jam over and keep the 300+ crowd entertained throughout.
I wandered over to the ‘Keg & Pasty’ which is basically a pop up pub that even has a traditional frontage to it, inside, there was a fabulous 4 piece jazz combo called ‘Some Like It Hot’ knocking out covers of classic modern day tunes but with a real twist, the double bass and sax players doing a sterling job of keeping the back line together whilst the guitarist and amazing vocalist took centre stage to deliver the rest of the goods! They played a brilliantly laid back jazz style version of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggety’ which I have heard many times by acts but NEVER in this style, it was quite simply something else and really had to be heard to be believed! I left the pub as they were just kicking into ‘I Wanna Be Like You’ the track made famous by The Jungle Book which kicked off some rather awful dancing in the bar, great fun to watch though!
It was back to ‘The View’ to watch Hannah Lou Clark play her set, which consisted of her voice, and a distorted hollow bodied Ibanez guitar, which sounded awesome, like a tamed beast, ready to roar at any moment. Her songs were brooding, dark with heavy undertones, which contrasted greatly with her angelic vocals. Tracks such as ‘Kids in Heat’ ramped up her set and made many people sit up and take notice of what she was singing about, I likened her vocals to that of a female Thom Yorke, light and tender one moment and then gritty and pained the next, these really shone on a track called ‘Silent Type’ which saw her use her iPod to provide the beats (her drum machine was being repaired….). We tried to chat to Hannah after her set but sadly she had to shoot straight off to get home for other engagements but watch this space as we WILL be catching up with her in the not too distant future.
It was to the main stage next to see Jack Savoretti take to the stage and dazzle the audience with his blend of acoustic guitar led ditties, tracks such as ‘Written in Scars’ and ‘Back to Me’ really having their desired effect on the large audience that had congregated en masse to watch him play.
I ventured over to the ‘Net Loft’ stage only to receive a call from the manager of heavy rock trio Dinosaur Pileup whom I had contacted a few weeks ago to arrange an interview ahead of the festival. He explained that they were free NOW and if I wanted a chat, to get round the back of the ‘Land of Saints’ stage. Sadly, I hadn’t pulled any bespoke questions together for them but being the consummate professional that I am, I drew on my past knowledge of these heavy hitters and managed to conduct an engaging and thought provoking (I’m sure that they guys would disagree) interview which will be online very soon. More of the Dinosaur boys later on…
We made haste back to the ‘Net Loft’ to catch an insanely talented 4 piece called The Velvet Hands who I caught in Bristol earlier this year when they supported The Bluetones who were doing a number of 200th Anniversary dates (It might have been the 20th anniversary….) They played a great high energy set, their sound reminding me instantly of the output of The Strokes and The Libertines, which is never a bad thing!
I had a date with an Australian DJ called Carly Foxx, interviewing her was different as the questions were more about mixing and choosing the right styles of music to keep the crowds entertained and carry on dancing. We chatted for a good 20 minutes, the full transcript will be online shortly. I did catch the tail end of her set at ‘The Point’ and I must say that being a fan of house music from the early 90’s, it was great to see someone putting their heart and soul into their art and producing some laid back, summery grooves that kept the arena bobbing along nicely.
It was back to ‘The View’ next to catch Tom Speight, a singer songwriter who has just finished his 3rd EP and is going down really well across the country. His range of ‘love’ themed tracks kept the audience happy in the late afternoon sunshine, he also dropped in a country tinged offering which got people up and dancing. He played a tremendous track called ‘Willow Tree’ which Tom said had been used for approximately 40 weddings so far, it sounded great and you could see why so many people had fallen in love with it and wanted it played as the first dance on their special day (beats Lady in Red any day!) We chatted to Tom after his performance, this will be transcribed shortly and made available for you lovely people to see very soon.
Catfish and The Bottlemen struck up on the main stage in front of possibly the biggest crowd I had seen all day, their blend of high energy and catchy indie rock doing a great job of keeping the audience singing the songs back at them, what a feeling that must have been for them. Highlights Of their set for me included ‘Homesick’ and ‘Pacifier’ which went down a storm with the near capacity crowd. By the time they’d finished up, there were some ‘spent’ looking people wandering about (me being one of them!)
We had a wander around the site for an hour, after being drawn into the food area, we were lured into a noodle bar which smelt delicious, I have to say that they tasted BETTER than they smelt and after a few minutes, we were fully charged and raring to go (well, as much as someone aged 44 and having spent the entire day running around could be!) We headed back to the main stage where festival heavyweights Chase & Status were just kicking into their opening track. These guys meant business and it wasn’t long until the ENTIRE arena was jumping, and I mean JUMPING, it was going off good and proper and was the PERFECT way to close the main stage at Boardmasters 2016!
After exerting ourselves a little too much during the Chase and Status show, we hobbled over to the ‘Land of Saints’ tent where Wolf Alice were due on at 11:30, way past our bedtimes but hey, you’re only 44 once and I can kick it with the kids at the best of times so what the hell! After what seemed like the longest soundcheck in the world EVER, the band took to the stage and played an absolutely blinding set in front of a packed out tent. Their unique heavy guitar and bass led tracks, accompanied by Ellie Rowsell’s spellbinding vocals just produce a sound that is beyond compare, I love the way Jeff Odie throws himself into every track, contorting his body into some very strange shapes throughout. Theo Ellis on bass is a master of his trade whilst Joel Amey provides some killer beats to keep the back line together. They left me breathless after playing some awesome tracks from their latest album ‘My Love is Cool’ and from older EP’s which saw the tent full of people leaping about like demented animals (or was that just me?)
So that ladies and gentlemen is my abridged version of events from Friday, the opening day of Boardmasters 2016. I wandered back to my car, brushed my teeth and hunkered down in the back on my rollout mattress to catch some kip ready for a full day on Saturday, let’s hope that the sun comes out to play once again!
Saturday morning, 5am, it’s cloudy, that nasty looking low cloud that sort of lingers, threatening to rain and forces you to make a decision as to whether or not pack a poncho for the day! I headed into town to see what was happening at Fistral Beach, couldn’t park so came back to the site early and spent a couple of hours prepping for the day. Then the rain started, whilst it wasn’t the heavy sort, it was the kind of fine rain that gets you soaked to the skin without even breaking a sweat, which was a pain. I took refuge in the press tent and got down to some writing up!
Whilst I was busy beavering away, a band called The Steelers took to the main stage in the rain to kick of proceedings, from what I heard, they were playing a range of popular cover versions but with steel drums, very impressive it was too. Their version of ‘Valerie’ by The Zutons was note perfect and when they dropped ‘Shake it Off’ by Taylor Swift followed by ‘Killing in the Name of’ my ears perked up, reminding me of an Israeli 9 piece horn band called The Apples who did a great version of the same track but with brass, brilliant stuff indeed!
We chatted to a band called Sloes at the end of July as they were playing at a Folk festival in Sidmouth and it was great to see them on the main stage later in the morning, their range of orchestral pop fitted the festival perfectly and the crowds that had congregated early on to catch them received a fabulous set, delivered perfectly and to a great reception. We chatted to the band in the evening and this will be available to read on the site very soon!
The opening act on the ‘Land of Saints’ stage was a guy called James Shead who is a Cornish based singer songwriter who did a great job of opening the stage for the day, his songs told stories of personal experiences and each unfolded into a story that painted a picture for all to see. I took a few pics and couldn’t help noticing that the bass guitar player looked familiar, after his set, I caught them just before they were heading off to eat and I realised that the bass player was a guy called Kevin Jeffries who used to play in a Torquay based band called Babysnakes, small world! We were due to chat to James after lunch but sadly he had to shoot off but we will be catching up with him in the near future so watch this space!
It was back to the main stage next to catch a guy who we’ve seen a couple of times before, hailing from Liverpool, Louis Berry swaggered onto the stage, dressed all in black looking as cool as ever and for the next 30 minutes had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand, his style and sound can only be described as a rock n’ roll freight train which kept me glued to the stage for the entire set, his ’25 Reasons’ song doing a brilliant Job of winning over countless new fans! It was great to see that his show translated easily from a smaller venue to a larger festival stage, the quality of music being produced by Louis and his band was very high, the guitarist dazzled me the last time I saw them live and he did it again today. Louis Berry is DEFINITELY an act to keep an eye on both for now and the future.
We wandered off to the ‘Net Loft’ next to check out a 5 piece rock band called Loft who were nailing it with some killer songs that were quite literally heavier than heaven, they all looked the part and wasted no time at all in plying their trade to all in attendance. Their style consisted of some super gnarly guitar riffs and a track called ‘Kracken’ really caught my ears, if you’re into your heavy/prog rock, then this is definitely a band for you Togo check out.
Joseph J Jones from Essex was just kicking off in the ‘Land of Saints’ stage and we popped in to see him performing a laid back set with some super smooth vocals ahead of the craziness that would no doubt be brought later on in the day. Joseph was accompanied by what looked like 2 people on keyboards, he did say that one wasn’t a keyboard but in my hurried state I failed to make a note of it, sorry about that! He played a superb version of Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown’ which was immense and after being recently signed to the Communion record label, he has gone and put out a new track called The Video which sounded great with his powerful but controlled vocals.
It was at this time that the weather realised that we were at a festival in Cornwall and rather than being a party pooper, it decided to part the clouds and let the sun come shining through, you could see the moisture evaporating from the ground, leaving it nice and dry only a few minutes later on. The outer layers came off and were packed away as the forecast looked favourable for the remainder of the day….phew!
London based Indie pop 5 piece Eliza and the Bear took to the main stage and dazzled the audience with their unique brand of stadium sized, sing-a-long pop which, coupled with the catchy lyrics, the hooky music and anthemic choruses, paved the way to a fantastic set that was lapped up by all in the audience, especially the younger ladies who were screaming and cooing over them for the duration….
Jamie Lawson took to that main stage after Eliza and co had departed, I was struggling to think of where I knew this guy from but from the opening lines of ‘Cold in Ohio’, it all came flooding back. I likened his output to that of uber famous Americana-pop act Counting Crows and the opening track set the scene for the rest of his set which was delivered perfectly throughout. His style bounced from classic Americana to catchy anthemic pop which again, kept the audience involved and attentive for the duration of his set. He has been in Australia recently and announced that he had appeared on the cult TV show ‘Neighbours’, meeting Dr Karl Kennedy and ‘Toadfish’ who I think I remember from my school days, God, he must be about 48 years old now!
I ventured off to the ‘Net Loft’ to catch a band that a few local acts had put me onto, a drum and bass duo called Waxx, not to be confused with a duo that play drum and bass music, they are actually two super talented musicians who play the drums and a bass guitar which has been filtered to the moon and back and actually sounds a little like a guitar instead. I immediately likened them to Royal Blood and you wouldn’t be wrong to follow suit, their music was immense, gutsy, punchy and raw, just the kind of music that you expect to see at a festival. A highlight of the set for me was a track called ‘Fly By’ with its pounding drums and rolling bass lick which broke down to a heavy mid section prior to gaining momentum once again. ‘Hightail’ was another favourite which I can only describe as a fat slab of pure rock n’ roll. Chatting to the band after their performance, I found out that the reason they used 2 x’s in ‘WAXX’ was because it is ‘more sexy’, I admit to feeling rather horny during the set so having the 2 x’s in the name has clearly done it’s job, should they ever add another ‘x’ I think I’d have been stood there dripping in my own pearlescent 'goo' which just wouldn’t have been good…..If you’re after a Cornish band to go and learn more about, Waxx would be a good one to research, just be prepared for the extra sexiness and take precautions at their live shows!
We popped over to the ‘Land of Saints’ stage to check out an interesting looking 7 piece act called Hyde and Beast who formed after drummers from The Futureheads and Golden Virgins got together. Their live set was upbeat, energetic and crammed full of nods to some classic luminaries such as The Beach Boys and T-Rex to name just two. They played with a 2 piece horn section that really added depth to their sound and the tent was nodding along nicely to their output.
The hunger pangs started so it was off to see what festival fodder we could find to ward them off. After a good walk around, getting hungrier by the second, we settled on a very busy stall called ‘Jumping Bean Burrito’, opting for a chicken burrito and a portion of decorated nachos, we sat in the late afternoon sunshine to scoff the contents in record time. I’ve seen these guys at most of the major festivals up and down the country so if you come across them in the future, please go and give them a go, you WON’T be disappointed!
Michael Kiwanuka was just striking up on the main stage and it was great to see someone of his calibre at a local festival, he played a great set consisting of many new tracks from his debut album ‘Love and Hate’ that is doing so well at the moment. Sadly, we weren’t able to catch up with Michael at the event but we WILL be chatting to him in Exeter when he plays in October so watch this space….
Antimatador are an amazing band that we have seen at many festivals and gigs all over Devon, their live show is something that has to be seen to be believed, the way that they fuse so many different genres of music together to create their sound is awe inspiring and seeing them do it time and time again is fascinating. Like the Pied Piper of Boardmasters, their music enticed people into the tent from afar and it wasn’t long until the whole place was rocking nicely to their horn infused blend of funk, reggae and hip hop.
We caught up with a band called The Golden Dregs in the ‘Net Loft’ afterwards, these guys are also in a band called The Black Tambourines who were playing later on the Sunday night on the same stage so it was interesting to see how their music differed. Consisting of 5 musicians, 2 guitars, bass, drums and keys, they played a great set consisting of 60’s infused surf rock akin to the likes of Beach Boys, complete with some great sounding vocal harmonies. Both guitarists favoured a poncho as their stage attire, fair play to them as it must have been hot up there with the lights but hey, artists need to suffer for there art and chatting to them after their set, they preferred these to a kagoule which just don’t cut the mustard as far as these guys are concerned. More on these once I get the transcriptions done from my voice recorder!
As we left the Net Loft stage, we caught a few minutes of Charlie Bowdery, an acoustic performer who had attracted a bunch of young ladies to his show who were hanging on every note that he produced, this used to happen to me when I was in a band but those years have long gone….. Charlie’s music was tight and varied, he used a keyboard type device on stage which produced some great beats, if you’re in the Wadebridge area, keep an eye out for any local gigs that he may be playing.
Having spent the last 90 minutes away from the main arena, I was shocked to see about 20000 people crammed in to the area to see Louisa Rose Allen, AKA Foxes play her early evening set. She really set the crowd alight with her energetic performance, encouraging them to join in with her songs and generally doing what any professional performer should do at a large-scale music festival. Her track ‘Feet Don’t Fail Me Now’ went down exceptionally well as did other offerings from her two albums which both deserve to be in anyone’s collections.
I had a walk around the site, capturing images of people generally having a great time in the early evening sunshine, the Nando’s food stall which had a DJ booth on top of it was doing a roaring trade and for those not peckish, they were able to drink and boogie themselves silly to some super cool sun drenched beats as the day progressed.
The Kaiser Chiefs have been labelled as festival heavyweights for years now and I was hoping thet their performance this evening was going to be on par with previous occasions where I have seen them perform. From the off, Ricky Wilson was dancing about, jumping into the photo pit and was stood on the front barrier, goading the crowd to join him in singing along to their classic track ‘Everyday I Love you less and Less’ which they did in their droves, a spectacle in itself! They played a great selection of tracks from their impressive back catalogue including ‘Ruffians on Parade’, ‘Everything is Average Nowadays’ and of course the crowd pleasing tones of ‘Ruby’ which never fails to go down well wherever they may be.
I took off to the Net Loft once again to catch Auction for the Promise Club who did such a great job of opening the main stage on Friday morning. This time, it was back to a more intimate stage with a lot less people but the room was soon full and they managed to pull of a blinding show, getting the room bouncing along to their amazing indie rock sound.
We stopped by the Land of Saints stage to check out the super talented and very lovely Gabrielle Aplin who had just taken to the stage to entertain the masses that had congregated to share her sermon. We've seen her a number of times but only in a supporting role such as a backing singer so to see her take centre stage and drive the show was something else. She kept the crowd engaged with a selection of songs from her album 'Light up the Dark' which clearly did the trick as people were shouting for more come the end of her set!
The main stage was getting ready to invite Deadmau5 into its arms and by now, you could barely move, we opted to stand ‘side of stage’ and watch from there, we’re not able to keep up with the kids anymore! From the off, the lights, the bass and the atmosphere were incredible, EDM isn’t really a genre I enjoy or have paid much attention to over the last couple of years but to see this happening in front of my eyes was a real spectacle and the audience were lapping it up. I hope there were no epileptics in the audience as they would have been in the medical tent come the end as there were quite a few strobe lights going off during the performance.
There were more things happening way into the night but being a little tired from a very hectic day of interviews and walking around, I decided to hit the sack and save some energy for the final day of Boardmasters!
Sunday morning, I hadn’t slept that well as the Unleashed tent kept me awake for most of the night and despite the silent disco in the Land of Saints stage being ‘Silent’, it was more the shouts and cheers that kept me awake. So much so, I decided to go for a walk at 4am and try to settle myself, it was then I realised that I had been busy sipping ‘Relentless’ energy drinks most of the afternoon as that was all I could lay my hands on in the press tent…. I returned to my car and settled down once again and at exactly 6:30am, I was just starting to nod off when a complete numpty decided to pull up next to me with Radio 1 blaring out of his sunroof. I removed my eye mask and gave him one of my ‘looks’, he soon turned the radio down, apologising and explaining that he had come with a day ticket for the event. I decided there was no point in trying to sleep so got my shit together and wandered up to the camping field for a WWW (wet wipe wash) and a freshen up prior to heading into the press tent to prepare for the day.
I heard that a ‘surprise’ act was to open the main stage on the Sunday and I had my suspicions as to who it might be as they had been wandering about the site all weekend. All told, it was great to see Sunset Sons take to the stage on the stroke of 11am to play a blistering set consisting of their summer influenced stadium sized rock that everyone loves them for.
I wandered over to the Land of Saints stage to catch up with Reigning Days frontman Dan Steer who had arrived early to open the tent with a solo set consisting of Reigning Days classics such as ‘Renegade’ and ‘Fever’ which sounded great stripped right back to basics, Dan’s timeless vocals and gentle acoustic strummings really casting an entirely new light on these hard rock classics that he is renowned for.
Hein Cooper hails from 'down under', an acoustic act that had previously played Boardmasters in 2015. He’d clearly made an impression last year with a few hundred turning out for his set which consisted of some mellow acoustic vibes that certainly got Sunday off to a chilled start, fans particularly loving his track, ‘Rusty’.
I took a walk back to the main arena afterwards to catch the tail end of VANT’s set which was a barrage of hard hitting, fast riffing, lyric spitting punk rock. A rude awakening? Nope. VANT couldn't care less. 30 minutes of the finest punk rock from the UK. Playing Soccer AM the previous morning, it was clear that they still had plenty of energy to awaken the early risers at Boardmasters. Take note, ‘Karma Seeker’ is one hell of a track. These guys are picking up a LOT of airplay at the moment across regional radio and if you get the chance to catch them live, do make the effort.
The Magic Numbers hit the main stage, receiving a great reception, they played a mixture of tracks from their sizeable back catalogue including some classics for their debut release from back in 2005 which really put them on the map. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 11 years since their debut dropped as it still sounds as current today as it did back then. We caught up with the band after their performance and had a good chat about festivals, set lists and an in-depth discussion about Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece ‘The Shining’ (as you do)….
I slipped off to The View to catch Hannah Grace perform an exquisite set, she was accompanied by a chap on the acoustic guitar when I dropped by and her lush vocals drifted across the stage and into the minds of everyone present. We chatted after her performance and she told me about her appearance on Dermot O’ Leary’s Saturday show on Radio 2 (aired on 20th August) if you missed it, you can listen again HERE
I popped into the Keg and Pasty next to catch a great Beatles tribute band called ‘Not The Beatles’, I was incorrectly informed that these guys played alternative versions of the classic tracks but instead, they were knocking out carbon copies of the originals which did a great job of keeping the capacity crowd entertained throughout the set which consisted of songs from the early days right up until the late 60’s.
I heard some appealing rumblings coming from the Land of Saints tent so I wandered in to see a band called White performing a tremendous set in front of a healthy crowd that were grateful of the cover of the tent and the amazing indie rock offerings from this Glaswegian 5 piece. The band were working really hard giving it their all and I was particularly impressed by the bass player and drummer who were so tight, you’d be lucky to be able to slide a ten pound note between them. Some real jagged angular guitar playing poked through the vocals, at times, sounding like Justin Hawkins had stage bombed the performance. A highlight form their set for me was a track called ‘Pride of Lives’ with its retro 80’s guitar riff. They called a day on their set with a great track called ‘Future Pleasures’ which ticked every box for me.
COASTS are a band that I have witnessed a couple of times now and each time they get stronger. This band is certainly one that is made to play festivals. Each song had the crowd up in the air and screaming their lungs out. The biggest crowd of the day so far. Track of the set, ‘Oceans’, a fitting ditty for a festival that gazes across a vast sea scape.
I was tipped off earlier in the weekend about a local guitar/drum duo called Wolf Note, they were about to perform in the Net Loft so I took my place at the front of the stage and waited for them with a great sense of expectation. What followed was an immense display of fuzz fuelled, grunge-tinged rock which really got the place shaking. Looking at their social media pages, they are to play another couple of Cornish festivals before wrapping it all up with a performance at the famous Looe Music Festival which has an absolutely killer line-up this year, if you’re heading to this, make a beeline for these guys, you WON’T be disappointed!
White Denim are an Austin Indie Rock quartet who did a sterling job of tearing up the main stage early Sunday evening. That old school guitar and radio tone vocals were a real shake up in variety for what was a pretty predicable line up. ‘At Night In Dreams’ is a track that will stick in my mind for a long time.
The evening was wearing on and it was time for Primal Scream to take to the main stage to start to wind up proceedings on the main stage. The band strode onstage to a huge cheer and launched straight into their opening track. The last time I saw them play live, Mani from The Stone Roses was on bass duties, tonight, we were treated to the skills of Simone-Marie Butler who did a great job of keeping the groove on-track throughout the set. Bobby Gillespie was looking good with his trademark wrap around shades, standing in his usual manner clapping along to the beats that emanated from the stage and keeping the audience on form throughout the set. Andrew Innes was doing a grand job on guitar, keeping things pumping along nicely. Highlights from their set included ‘Jailbird’, ‘Rocks’ and ‘Higher Than the Sun’ which dropped just as the sun was setting, a really special moment for anyone in attendance. They played ‘Trippin On Your Love’ which is lifted from the new album ‘Chaosmosis’ which went down really well alongside the classics that everyone was expecting. They saved ‘Come Together’ until the end, which culminated in a mass sing-a-long with the entire audience chanting the chorus back at Bobby as he surveyed the masses that had come to pay homage to the band, his band. In my opinion, this is a band that changed the direction of music back in the early 90’s, who said that you can’t take a band that produce indie based guitar driven music and create a timeless classic such as ‘Screamadelica’ which still sounds as current today as it did when it landed on planet earth way back in 1991, long may they continue!
James Bay took over from Primal Scream which initially I found a little hard to stomach, who is this whipper snapper wanting to appear over and above the legendary Primal Scream? I guess if you go by the average age of the audience, a lot of them may not have been familiar with the work by Bobby Gillespie et al so I guess it kind of made sense! Taking to the stage adorned in his trademark hat, he launched straight into a crowd pleasing set with his bluesy rocker 'Collide' and classics such as 'Hold Back the River'. James' touring schedule has been pretty intense of late and watching him perform in front of a huge crowd is something that he is getting more and more used to as his career and confidence levels grow.
As the final notes rang out across the arena in the early hours of Monday morning, it was time to say a teary goodbye to Watergate Bay and everything that Boardmasters 2016 bought us over the weekend. The weather behaved (okay, a little rain on Saturday morning but no damage was done) and everyone had an absolutely amazing time. I walked back to the staff car park where I was packed and ready to go, back to my house, a proper bed and a hot shower. By the looks of things, the people around me were thinking the same! See you again next year……
Earlybird tickets for Boardmasters 2017 (Aug 9th - 13th) are available HERE and will sell out VERY QUICKLY indeed, to avoid disappointment, book them NOW.
For images across the entire weekend, please click on the links below;
To purchase any of the professional images that we took at Boardmasters, please click HERE
Words by Steve Muscutt
Photography by Andrew Hobbs & Steve Muscutt