Oliver Grabowski (wordsmith) and Kane Howie (photo man) headed to the Moors for some (wet) days and nights checking out some cracking new bands
This being its first year (open at least) and a still largely unknown festival, Beacons 2012 was always going to be an interesting one, so I headed out to the Skipton Moors with an air of dread and a hankering for a breathable wetsuit.
Consisting of three main stages and a handful of tents, it is one of the smaller festivals on the go but I think that only adds to the charm of it all. However, it was the music that had really enticed me to go.
The main emphasis of the festival was an open window to introduce a larger audience to an impressive roster of some of the best and most exciting bands in the UK underground scene at the moment; putting on a plate, a bunch of artists that you would otherwise have to be “in the know” to find out about.
The real start to the festival came to me in the guise of Fawn Spots, playing a highly energetic and tight set that brought in a pretty hefty crowd for a relatively unknown band and quite rightly so, playing a fresh blend of noise punk combined with a pretty dynamic performance there is a lot to get excited about here.
The next band that caught my eye were Veronica Falls, having heard a fair whack about them before I was looking forward to seeing them, however despite playing everything perfectly note for note, there was something just a bit lacking in a performance which really did make all the difference here. Still, they did sound good and were a dreamy soundtrack to a festival afternoon
Cass Mccombs were another band that I had heard a bit about, not really knowing what to expect I was genuinely impressed with their beautifully crafted songs, ultimately laid back and perfectly played it was a great performance and introduction to one of my new favourite bands from the US.
Gross Magic came out at me like a knife; I was really impressed having never heard them before. Sounding like a grungy glam rocker from some forgotten lo-fi psychedelic radio station, there was a really good feeling around this set.
Best Friends really impressed me, playing rough and ready garage songs with sweet surfy guitar melodies their set was fantastic. Attracting a pretty decent crowd they did an incredible job in getting everyone pumped up and in the mood. Expect to hear more from these guys soon
Pins – whilst they weren’t at all bad - didn’t fit the amount of hype surrounding them. I saw more than a few people leave the tent during their set looking pretty disappointed and that shouldn’t happen what with Bella Union signing them out of the other week. I just get the impression it is all style over substance and an attempt to tap into an underground band that looks nice to try and make some money as well as look (dare I say the word) “cool”.
Eagulls ruled the roost on the Saturday night, standing out from the set was their ‘Coffin Song’ having just been released on Sexbeat, it was a firm favourite with the crowd chanting it word for word. The energy was high and the slacker rock was in full swing with the band really on a higher plain, the audience were more than happy to feed off what they were given. Completely eclipsing the Headline act Jacuzzi Boys it almost felt if the night had ended when they stopped playing. Or the music at least...
Savages were the band of the weekend for me, the all girl 4 piece were brutally incredible, in full throttle from the start they had the audience swinging from the rafters (tent poles) with every beat, every turn and every lyric. Reminiscent of an early Joy Division they had an incredible sound and stage presence, relentless and uncompromising. I had seen the growing buzz surrounding them on various sites recently and was fairly tentative about seeing them however they totally blew me away. As intense a front woman or front man as I have ever seen in Jenny Beth, she can command the stage and more importantly an audience just by looking at them, not to mention the rest of the band who are pretty incredible at what they do. Each with their own defined presence you could get lost just watching any one of them play they are that good. If you have not heard this band you need to check them out.
Beacons was actually quite incredible. What delighted me more than anything else was the point that the festival seemed pretty dedicated to putting on the new and interesting bands that are currently surfacing, fair enough there were some great already established acts on the roster but the real emphasis seemed on the new and that is really the way forward for me.