Festivals, eh? The pinnacle of the youth ‘letting it go’ in a field somewhere, drinking cheap cider, digesting God knows what from a rickety burger van and waking up in a puddle in your not-so-waterproof tent. But there are some valuable gems of knowledge to be learnt. For one, having a campfire is a complete baller move and is guaranteed to attract all kinds of weird and wonderful people, like a moth to a flame. And that, no, you cannot live off beer and chips like all the other sixteen year olds, because they’re running on a strategic magical power called puberty.
Festivals are a weird place, especially when you’re not old enough to sit down on a picnic blanket far from the main stage drinking flat Prosecco out of plastic flute, but you’re far too old to drink Aldi vodka from a beer-bong and wake up in your own vomit at two in the afternoon, without feeling like a complete dickhead. Saying that, nowhere else can beat festivals as a place to experience music. They have this unique atmosphere that make it the best place to see some old favourites, but also see how the new talent fare up. Here are five ‘new’ acts, which personally stood out on the bill at Reading 2014:
It wasn’t long ago that London’s most mysterious collective Jungle, were shrouded in anonymity. Despite this, these recent XL records signees have been selling out with gig goers and bloggers alike clambering for a glimpse of their soulful hip-hop funk charged tunes. Their future-esque soul jam songs had the crowd dancing in the NME/Radio 1 stage to singles like ‘Busy Earnin’’ and ‘Time’. They are like a reminiscent hybrid of Bee Gees and Scissor Sisters, but with random sound bites of a rare tropical bird (that you’ve probably never heard of). Favourites from the set list were ‘Julia’ and ‘The Heat’, all of which can be found off their self-titled debut album.
Championed by the likes of Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr and after releasing their Top 10 debut album ‘Sun Structures’, this is one band you have to see if you can catch them. NME described them as “one of the brightest new lights of the current psyche scene” and they really do come off as the real deal. They’re like a hotbed of old time freak scene psychedelic madness and on the NME/Radio 1 stage, the band come on like a sort of hippie enigmatic version of Horrors. They look like they’ve walked straight out of a time machine directly from the 1970s, with their frontman James Bagshaw wearing a lot of eye glitter and a suede fringe shirt that simply says ‘I don’t give a fuck’. Their debut album of solid pop and mind-altering synths was met with a crowd who were obviously fans. Favourites from the set included the boogie jam of ‘Keep In The Dark’ and the mind-bending dreamy ‘A Question Isn’t Answered’ – this is a band that is here for the long run.
Liverpool quartet Circa Waves are simply made for a festival audience. Their garage and melodic indie-rock sounds were received well in the Festival Republic stage. With singles like ‘Get Away’ hailed as Zane Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record in the World’ in October, it isn’t a surprise that they were loved in the tent. Other songs that fared well were ‘Good For Me’ and ‘Young Chasers’ that got everyone dancing, even ‘Stuck In My Teeth’ got a loud singalong much to their frontman Kieran Shudall’s disbelief. This band has created quite a buzz around the indie scene and if you can catch them, they are definitely worth the watch.
Ireland has been producing some great talent in the industry at the moment. But in just over a year, Hozier has become the country’s hottest musical property. Versed in old blues, bathed in classic soul with a manner of pop, Hozier is an individual with voice sweeter than summer. His debut self-titled album is out this month, and with singles like ‘Take Me To Church’ being Radio 1’s track of the day as and being featured as Lowe’s ‘Hottest Record in the World’ – this Irish lad is going to be huge. The set at Reading was a beautiful mixture of catchy pop and deep country blues with a smidgen of gospel. Hozier’s raw soulful vocals are something that cannot be ignored. The calculated but gorgeous use of religious metaphors and sentimental lines to a lover are enough to captivate any crowd. Favourites from the set were ‘From Eden’ and Sedated’.
Another new talent from Ireland, Hudson Taylor (two brothers Harry and Alfie) brought their charming folk-pop songs to the Festival Republic stage. The pair has previously been on the road supporting the likes of Jake Bugg and Kodaline, not forgetting being asked to support The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park. Although typically labelled as ‘girlfriend music’, the crowd reaction was more than great. Singles like the hammering ‘Battles’ and emotional ‘Care’ were met with a huge singalong and cheering. Other favourites included ‘Chasing Rubies’ and ‘Drop of Smoke’, all feel-good music. Their debut album is set for release in 2015.