On the South East coast of England, in the once resplendent seaside resort of Margate, By The Sea Festival took up residency in the re-imagined heritage pleasure park, Dreamland. After the success of Foals and Hot Chip in its inaugural year By The Sea returned to a resurgent Margate to blend the established with the up and coming in an environment like no other. Amongst the helter skelter, big wheel, carousels and coasters the various artists took to the stages (and decks) in the wonderfully evocative Roller Disco, down at the dodgems or in the newly restored Hall By The Sea. With Kiss Me Quick cocktails and enough locally brewed cider to entice The Wurzels the amassed throngs were in for a very entertaining weekend.
Wild Beasts ("They're so f'ing sexy"-Blaine Harrison, Mystery Jets) got off to a cracking start in the Hall By The Sea with a pumped up version of 'Big Cat' and an impromptu birthday celebration for "ideosynchratic drummer" Chris Talbot before launching into a sizemic, shape shifting and floor shaking rendition of 'He The Colossus' and a wonderful working of 'Wanderlust'. The Kendal foursome sounded on top of their game, channelling circa '82 Simple Minds, ahead of their upcoming live set on 6Music.
In the shabby chic surroundings of the kitsch come cool Roller Disco, Mystery Jets got joyously playful with 'Flash A Hungry Smile'. After the initial grief imparted in 'Telomere' they ramped up the tempo and asked the assembled masses, "do you feel like dancing?" A blinding rendition of their single, 'Bubblegum', ensued. Taken from the band's latest album, 'Curve Of The Earth', it easily got the biggest interaction of the night so far. The Middlesex quartet followed up with another crowd pleaser, 'Young Love', and quite bizarrely another birthday shout-out, this time for Gary who did all of the MJ's art work! With apparently "too many tracks for just one album this year" the band took to a highlight off their new 5 track E.P, 'The Whole Earth', 'The World Is Overtaking Me' sounded spectacular, with front man Blaine and his three cohorts synched in tight unison, delivering a belting track replete with (Tubeway Army era) Numan esc keyboard loop, they sounded awesome; full of passion and presence as well as full of love for their fellow performers, especially The Big Moon, Wild Beasts and Meilyr Jones (at one time late on in his set striking a quick Bowie pose whilst teasing us with an all too brief classic Bowie riff) Mystery Jets pitched it perfectly in the Roller Disco with a short, sharp very entertaining set that left you just aching for a little more.
With August's festival calendar seemingly busier than any other month, those of us with a persuasion to stand in a field watching live music are spoilt for choice. While V Festival might be the most corporate and therefore populist, the more discerning fan of both music and the arts in general would probably be found elsewhere. Such as Green Man for instance. Situated on the Glanusk Park estate in Crickhowell to the eastern point of the Brecon Beacons, it prides itself on being one of the most unique festivals around. Having grown from a capacity of just 300 people when it started in 2003 to the 20,000 revellers here to party this weekend, it's become a festival season highlight even with such a saturated market.
What also sets it apart is the stellar line-up organisers Fiona Stewart and Ben Coleman regularly pull out of the bag, and this year's edition was no exception. With the "sold out" signs hoisted long before this weekend, its reputation for putting quality control first speaks for itself. While its picturesque setting and heavy focus on locally sourced organic produce also render it a cut above the standard festival fare of greasy burgers and warm Carling where daily nourishment is concerned.
Indeed, the only thing that cannot be guaranteed is the weather but then this is the British summer time, right? Right. So without further ado, having acquired our passes and pitched up, Contactmusic are immediately drawn to the impressive bill taking place on the Far Out Stage this Thursday evening. Flamingods experimental take on psychedelic world music and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's full throttle sonic assault prove to be particular highlights. So much in fact that headliners Wild Beasts actually seem unsure about following either act on stage and play a surprisingly muted set of material mostly lifted from new record 'Boy King' instead.
Continue reading: Green Man 2016 - Live Review
Outside Lands 2014 will be headlined by Kanye West, The Killers and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Possibly the only major festival where you can enjoy fine gourmet cuisine while rocking out to an eclectic variety of international artists, Outside Lands has now unveiled the 2014 line-up as it prepares to return to San Francisco this August.
We just can't express our excitement enough at the newly revealed line-up for Outside Lands this year. Topping the bill are the likes of Kanye West, The Killers and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers; three very different artists which see the latter become the first act ever to headline twice following their incredible set in 2013. Now in its seventh year, Outside Lands are showing signs of development every single summer, and at much benefit for the city with a percentage of every ticket sale going to San Francisco's Recreation and Park Department.
A day by day recommendation of this year's festival favourites.
Coachella Festival is nearly here, bringing with it one hell of a weekend chock full of great food, exciting entertainment and, most importantly, amazing music.
Arguably California's most eagerly anticipated event of the year, Coachella settles at the Empire Polo Club in Indio once again for the fifteenth year running between April 11th and 13th on the first weekend and April 18th and 20th on the second. It's not unheard of that a music festival was so good they had to hold it twice, but as of 2012 it has become a no-brainer for Coachella. In a nutshell, it is basically a big playground for grown-ups - though of course it is a family friendly event - featuring activities such as the 3 Legged Race, the Beauty Bar, the art studios, dodgeball and the almighty Pie Eating Contest, all while you're munching on a variety of cuisine from around the state and rocking out to some of the best bands you will ever hear.
Continue reading: It's Almost Here! 25 Must See Acts For Coachella 2014
What's Dom Gourlay's number one album of 2013?
After an immense year for music, here's reviewer Dom Gourlay's favourites for 2013 - and possibly for a long while after!
Arcade Fire 'Reflektor' - Early reviews were ridiculously negative, probably because journos were invited to a one-hour listening session in a plush Soho bar while being plied with free booze. The test of time has proved otherwise. And some.
Continue reading: Dom Gourlay's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
Q: What do you get if you leave 55,000 people on the Isle Of Wight for four days in September?
A: Possibly the messiest weekend of excess on the UK's summer festival calendar.
Having become the official closing party to the summer's festivities that started back in May at Brighton's Great Escape, Rob De Bank's Bestival shindig has developed a life of its own in recent years. Growing to over five times the size of its inaugural 2004 event, Bestival can boast at being one of the few music festivals where the line-up is often secondary in the eyes of many revellers. Described as a "boutique Glastonbury" by some, it's become one of the most prominent names on the calendar, which is testament to its creator and his team of organisers in building and maintaining such a prestigious gathering.
Continue reading: Bestival 2013 - Live Review
Live At Leeds - the metropolitan music festival held annually across a variety of venues in Leeds on the first bank holiday weekend of May - has just added some huge bands to its roster.
Indie fans better take note, as just a portion of the line up includes Rudimental, Everything Everything, The Pigeon Detectives, The Vaccines, Tribes, AlunaGeorge, The Staves, Darwin Deez, Little Comets, King Krule, Laura Mvula, Swim Deep, The 1975 and Peace. LAL continues to enforce its remit of pushing local bands to the fore while providing national acts to draw in the crowds. It's a real music lover's affair, and this year looks set to carry on the tradition. And with tickets from just £22.50, it's affordable too.
The Pigeon Detectives - having just announced album number 4, Rudimental - will look to bring their uncompromising brand of indie to the proceedings, while The Vaccines will be playing a separate ticketed event on the Sunday of Live at Leeds with special support from TOY and more names to be added.
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