August 01, 2011

Kendal Calling - The best of the Line-up

In its 6th year, Kendal Calling is one of the up-and-coming independent festivals in the UK. Headliners last year were Doves, The Coral and Calvin Harris and scintillating performances came from OkGo, The Subways and Pulled Apart By Horses to name-drop a few.

This time around, Blondie, Chase & Status and The Cribs were headlining, and the line-up included Echo & The Bunnymen, Frank Turner, Beardyman, Young Knives, Fenech Soler and a secret set from The La's too!
Here are some of my personal highlights from some other acts.

Summer Camp
Summer Camp. Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey look and sound incredible together. Successful duos need to have that spark between them, and Summer Camp have that in abundance. Playing at the intimate Get It Loud In The Library tent on the Sunday, the lo-fi dream poppers treated onlookers to a very personal and polished show. Heavy-handed drum beats also gave the act another dimension live that sometimes is needed to translate excellent recording sound into a tight performance. Sankey venturing into the crowd during 'Veronica Sawyer' and a future dream pop classic 'I Want You' were two of the many highlights from the set. If you like what you hear, get excited as a full-length album is coming out later this year.

  (pronounced Alt J). After the xx's meteoric rise last year to become new heavyweights in alternative music, there weren't many other bands who followed suit and rode the wave which carried the atmospheric electronic trio so far.  are like a stripped-back version (in terms of the background lull which surrounds the xx), with captivating drum beats and a therapeutic chillwave vibe around their music. Check out 'Breezeblocks' on this page, and then their soundcloud page if you like it (which I hope you will)

Stagecoach (photo from Kirsten Mavric)
Stagecoach. These upbeat junk-poppers from London write songs about pizzas and chess, but if you had seen them at Kendal or at any of their other festival dates this summer, you definitely will have enjoyed their set. One look at mandolin player Chop's outfit (headband, Dananananaykroyd tee and short shorts) would suggest a boisterous performance from guys who want to have fun while making danceable pop tunes. With influences from the 90s such as Blur and The Lemonheads, this is pop with britpop and grunge links. 'Jonah Lomu' and tracks 'Good! Great! Better! Best!' and Pavement-esque 'Headbangers Ball' from their 2011 EP Crash My Ride stood out in a strong and unique 30-minute performance on the Calling Out stage on Friday.

Top 5 Tracks Of The Weekend

  1. The Cribs - Be Safe
  2. Echo & The Bunnymen - The Cutter
  3. Stagecoach - Jonah Lomu
  4. Dinosaur Pile-Up - All Around The World
  5. Summer Camp - I Want You

 I Want You by Summer Camp

 Breezeblocks (demo) by alt-j

 Good, Great, Better, Best! by stagecoachuk

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