Archive for the ‘festivals’ Category

features, festivals, music

Opening bands of the greatest music festivals of all time – Glastonbury, Woodstock

By Stefano on August 15th, 2013

Ever wondered who were the very first band to play your favourite music festival? Who kicked off the shenanigans at Glastonbury back in 1970, or who preceded all the greats at Monterey and Woodstock? And what ever happened to them? Did they achieve greatness or become a musical footnote just dragged out in features like this? Here are your answers.

1 Glastonbury – Stackridge

The first Glasto was back in 1970 and kicking off the proceedings (and ending it too) were an eclectic bunch of art school rockers Stackridge. Resolutely English sounding but incorporating all kinds of other weird elements including music hall, progressive jazz and even a touch of reggae, the band sounded like no one else at the time. The first track they played that day was Teatime from their second album and fortunately it is corker. A lovely swirling piece of psychedelic/progressive rock whimsy with a gorgeous extended solo. They went on to make some great albums, briefly morphed in to 80s hit makers The Korgis and then reformed, to considerable acclaim, in the 90s.

2 Monterey – The Association

Monetery pop festival back in 1967 might have become infamous for its drug addled rock star escapades, but the band that opened the Friday of the festival were the clean cut popsters The Association. The band, who went on to have a load of hits including Never My Love, Cherish and Windy appropriately enough started their set with the anthemic Enter the Young. If you like a bit of easy listening/sunshine pop their albums are highly recommended especially Birthday. Here’s how they sounded that day.

3 Coachella – A Perfect Circle

The first ever Coachella in 1999 boasted a stellar line up that included such pop luminaries as Beck and Morrissey. But kicking off the weekend’s festivities were A Perfect Circle, alt rockers with links to acts like Tool and The Smashing Pumpkins. Had they not turned up then history would have recorded that first act to ever play Coachella were Scottish indie curiosities Bis – now that would have been cool.

4 Donnington Monsters of Rock – Touch

The first Monsters Of Rock fest was in 1980 and the very first band to take the speakers to eleven were New York based rockers Touch. They managed a couple of albums which are apparently great if you like a touch of melodic rock. A live version of “Don’t You Know What Love Is” appeared on the compilation LP Monsters of Rock, documenting performances at the festival.

5 V festival – Edge Park

No, we had to look them up. Apparently the first V Festival in 1996 was opened by obscure New Yorkers Edge Park, a band so below the radar they don’t even have an entry on Wikipedia. They were followed by The Longpigs – featuring a certain Mr Richard Hawley and easy listening pop sensations Mike Flowers Pops.

6 Woodstock – Richie Havens

The US singer songwriter opened Woodstock and for his troubles got to play for nearly three hours. It certainly did his career no harm. Sadly Havens died earlier this year.

7 The Isle of Wight – Halcyon Order

The first IOW festival in 1968 was an absolute corker with the likes of The Pretty Things, T Rex and The Move supporting hot US psych rockers Jefferson Airplane. The festival’s openers are utterly obscure. Halcyon Order were apparently a local band and one festival goer recalls – ‘unfortunately the bass drum broke in the first number, and the resulting hold up seemed to take the edge of their set. This band had a lot of talent and some of the members are still gigging on the island scene.’ There’s more about them here.

8 Latitude – Vega 4

The East Anglian festival feels as if it has been around for ever but in reality its inaugural weekend was back in 2006 when the main stage’s first act were Vega 4 a London indie band who had just released their second album You and Others. Not many people know that the year before Henham Park had hosted the Latitude dress rehearsal, the Southwold Pop Festival, so in reality the fest’s first ever act were probably some pop and soul covers band from Lowestoft.

9 Benicassim – Athlete

The Spanish festival opened in 2005 with British band Athlete on the mainstage, the band recently finished touring their debut album Vehicles & Animals which was issued ten years ago.

10 Hyde Park – Jethro Tull

Long before Blur, Bruce and JLS invaded the park the inaugural concert in 1968 was headlined by the underground’s signature band The Pink Floyd. Before them though the day had started with the weird prog folk stylings of the slightly barmy Ian Anderson and his band Jethro Tull.

And if you have a spare few hours this history of British music festivals is loads of fun.

features, festivals, music, News

REVIEW: The Stone Roses at Heaton Park – A second coming worth a 16 year wait

By Gerald Lynch on July 2nd, 2012

The Stone Roses - Heaton Park 2012

Picture 4 of 30
Picture 4 of 30

Reunion shows aren’t quite the mystical occasion they once were. From the Pixies to Suede to Led Zeppelin to Pulp, long-missed musical heroes are now a staple head to the line-up of summer festivals.

The Stone Roses reunion, however, sits outside the realms of regular reunion shows . Following an acrimonious split, it’s been 16 years since the original line-up of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield, and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren shared a stage. With each member taken up with solo projects, other bands or ventures outside of music altogether, bassist Mani called reunion rumours “totally fantasy island”. It seemed like it was never going to happen.

But it did. Though big bucks obviously exchanged hands, this was always going to be about more than just the money. There was unfinished (monkey) business to attend to. Laying down the soundtrack for a generation with their eponymous début album, The Stone Roses took years to put out so-so follow up The Second Coming. From then on in it was a slow slide towards destruction with near misses (such as their heartbreaking headline Glastonbury show pull-out caused, by Squire breaking a collarbone while mountain biking) punctuating the run-up to the band’s inevitable implosion. The band that invented “baggy” and rejuvenated jangly indie pop never got their just deserts.

It was with genuine jubilation then, not cynicism, that fans welcomed the news of a reunion in October 2011.

Saturday’s second Heaton Park homecoming show (30/06/2012) was a triumph, silencing any naysayers and showing a band perfectly at ease with their “legendary” status. If the first night had been methodical and careful, the second saw the band enjoying themselves, playing loose with extended jams and Ian Brown prowling the stage; the King Monkey had reclaimed his throne.

Kicking things off with their traditional slow-building blinder I Wanna Be Adored, The Stone Roses powered through a set of fan favourites which included their first album in its entirety.

Though every song was rapturously received, highlights came in somewhat unexpected places. Fans sang at their loudest during first album track Made Of Stone and The Second Coming single Ten Story Love Song. A well lubricated crowd of all ages was in good, friendly spirits (a rarity in enormo-shows like these), bobbing with baggy swagger to the grooves of Fools Gold, with Squire, Reni and Mani regularly jamming segues between each song.

Though banter was kept to a minimum, Brown kept an eye on a lively crowd, commanding the swarming pit to “pick each other up if you go down”, and flying into an anti-royal diatribe before first album favourite Elizabeth My Dear.

Ending the only way an epic Stone Roses set could with an extended I Am The Resurrection, fans cheered a united, hugging band at the close as fireworks blasted overhead and Bob Marley’s Redemption Song blared out of the PA. A fitting end; after years of fighting and will-they-wont-they reunion rumours, the band have risen phoenix like, redeemed, proving their enduring relevance and position as one of the finest bands to ever hail from British shores.

The set remained identical to Friday night’s opener, and also carried over onto Sunday’s show, likely in order to help director Shane Meadow as he prepares to edit together a commemorative DVD of the weekend. Hit the Spotify playlist below to hear the Saturday night set-list in full:

Earlier in the day saw fellow Manc hero Liam Gallagher declare The Stone Roses “the best band in the world” as he lead his post-Oasis project Beady Eye onstage for the main headline slot. Carrying Gallagher’s trademark swagger throughout, a genial crowd paid most attention when the band tore through a handful of Oasis classics including Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and Morning Glory.

Beady Eye were preceded by Professor Green, whose dubstep-tinged rapping was at odds with the rest of the line-up. Despite a short barrage from hecklers, Professor Green eventually won over the crowds with hits including I Need You Tonight and Just Be Good To Green which saw a surprise appearance from Lily Allen.

The Wailers managed to bring out the sun during what was a heavily overcast day. Though few remaining members of the original Bob Marley-era line-up remain, they enjoyed mass sing alongs to One Love and I Shot The Sheriff.

Hollie Cook, daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, kicked off the day with a reggae/punk fused set welcomed by a crowd already fired up by a 16 year wait.


festivals, Retail

Lacoste rocking up to Coachella 2012 festival with pop-up shop this weekend

By Gerald Lynch on April 11th, 2012

Fancy a fashion-fix with your musical high at this weekend’s Coachella 2012 festival? Then you’re in luck; Lacoste are out on the campaign trail for their new Lacoste Live label, and will be rolling up to the Californian camp with a pop-up shop in tow.

It’s actually quite an impressive feat of engineering too, like a Transformer with a penchant for tailoring.  Housed in a metal container, the shop unfolds mechanically to reveal a 480 square-foot retail space.

There will also be interactive listening spots with artists playing at the festival, all day pool parties and, if the above image is anything to go by, a red rocking crocodile play chair. Nice.

Heading down to Coachella festival this weekend? Damn, we’re envious. At The Drive-In reformed? Pulp? You’re in for a treat! Get primed for the party with the Coachella Spotify playlist embedded below!

Coats & Jackets, festivals

The Barbour Festival Guide

By Laura on June 19th, 2011

The festival season is here and if there is one thing you need it is a good waterproof cover-up which is where the quintessential British Barbour comes in.

After years of keeping festival goers dry, Barbour has pooled their festival knowledge together to create this wonderful little guide. The Festival guide will help you with everything you need to know before heading off, from pitching a tent to maps of various countries with information on all the best festivals. So before you leave for your festival check it out here


Christian Louboutin & Gobel’s team up to make the ugliest shoe of 2011

By Laura on February 13th, 2011

These are quite possibly the ugliest shoes I have seen in a long time. I mean it looks like the man is wearing a gold dragon on his foot!
These rather obnoxious shoes were designed by Christian Louboutin as part of an exclusive collection for Marlon Gobel’s Fall/Winter 2011 menswear line. I am just Hoping this is one designer collection, that isn’t picked up by the high street.

festivals, Footwear

Havaianas Launches Wellies Range

By Laura on January 31st, 2011

Festival season might still feel like ages away, but the popular flip flop brand Havaianas are already on a mission to make sure all your festival footwear needs are met.

While we all would love to wear flip flops through the festival season, this is England and who are we kidding if your not up to your knees in mud your just not doing it right.
So to help us Brits get through the festival season Havaianas have launched their first ever Wellies range. The collection will be launched in 8 colours, from patterns to bold neons, for both men & women at Selfridges in April.


The Great Escape Festival Brighton 2010.

By ThomasHewetson on May 16th, 2010

great.jpgSorry I haven’t posted in the last couple of days. I got caught up in the hedonism and debauchery of the Great Escape festival in my current city of residence, Brighton. If you missed it this year, although on paper the line up didn’t look as strong as last year it was a hell of a three days. The city becomes a different beast to usual as 1000′s of music fans complete with the most popular accessory of this years festival, a can of Red Stripe, came down to enjoy the sun, sea and new music.
With one wristband and dozens of venues there were 100′s of bands and only a few you could make it to see, but some were just incredible and don’t worry, Ill tie this all in with clothes! Luckily, the first set I went to see was Darwin Deez, and if you haven’t checked out the D.I.Y. Garagebandesque sound yet I urge you do. It’s the catchiest music I’ve heard in a while and sounds a lot like a lo-fi Albert Hammond Jr. Sporting his trademark ‘tache, headband, oversized t-shirt, boat shoes and faded skinnies, he was a picture of the Brooklyn scene at the moment and didn’t disappoint playing the debut album which was out May 10th and getting the crowd involved by urging a stage invasion and the choreographed dancing which the band are prone to breaking out into during their set.
Later on amid a few smaller bands, The Cribs played and this is where things started to get a bit weird. Before, you could tell whether someone was part of a certain social group if they wore skinny jeans but now, it seems to have become a uniform for lads too as the atmosphere felt overtly masculine and chants and WHEYY’S ensued over a sea of spilt drinks and testosterone. Not my scene really so retreating to the pavilion gardens and getting drunk in the style of 16 year olds brought up some nostalgia and definitely saved the night.

Waking up to a dry mouth and throbbing headache, even though in the comfort of my own bed was in true festival spirit and I managed to drag myself up in time to see Bright Light Bright Light perform tracks from the upcoming album which was brilliant and the sunny synth pop complete with Rod Thomas’ powerful vocals made for a great set and a good opener to the day.

Kelis – Acapella (Bright Light Bright Light Remix) available as a free download here.

The festival unfortunately has a huge gap from 5 until 7.30 so the beach became a hotspot and their were Quadraphenia style scenes when a fight broke out and 200 (I’m not even exaggerating) ran from all corners to witness what I heard down the grapevine (I wasn’t one who ran over so I watched from a distance) was two sixteen years scuffling and was sure to be the talk of the town in the playground on Monday.
Expecting to get in and see Darwin Deez a second time, unfortunately the queue was ridiculously long so I only got in to see the last minute of the last song, yet was not too upset, because half an hour later I witnessed the best set of the entire festival. Chew Lips are incredible. The record ‘Unicorn’ is incredible, but it’s nothing compared to seeing them live. Making my way to the railings I couldn’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else as they entered the stage. Tigs, the frontwoman has an unbelievable voice, complete with unbelievable stage presence and I, along with I think every other person, man or woman definitely fell in love. Well that was the consensus between me and my friends. Still reeling from the brilliant songs such as ‘Slick’ and ‘Play Together’, I felt my night was complete and aside from the a Moshi Moshi afterparty at New Hero, home to the infamous 80′s night on Saturday, nothing came close.
Saturday lacked the spark of Friday which was strange because the queues were way longer than on Friday and there were 100′s of people queuing for Chase and Status which was the act I least wanted to see, so I walked past the queue smugly and encountered someone working for Topman who wanted a picture for the Topman festival report. I can’t work out if I should take that as a complement or not, but who knows, might make a good profile picture when its up. In short Saturday didnt live up to the previous days, with exception to The Joy Formidable who are a Welsh band who have gathered quite a following recently and they brought the house down with a stunning 7 minute long version of whirring to top off what was a great festival with stunning venues and stunning bands.

In terms of a style report, it was relatively uninspiring because Brighton is ALWAYS dressed to a tee and there were way more winkle-pickers and checks from 2007 around than usual, but in short, for any festivals pick up some Tom’s and roll up some carrot chino’s. Everyone who had that look looked effortless and I’m not saying that because I was wearing that, I still need to pop to Office and buy some.

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