Hit The North Festival – 5th May 2019 – Review and Photo highlights
Review by Lee Hammond. Photos by Victoria Wai (Victoria Wai)
It’s an early start but The Noise and The Naive successfully blow away any early cobwebs, this powerful duo tearing through an early set to an appreciative crowd. It’s difficult to fault their enthusiasm and fervour, they are indefinitely deserved of a much higher place up this packed lineup. That being said they undoubtedly won over a fresh set of fans this afternoon.
Such is the norm at this time of year Pip Blom opens the Think Tank stage this afternoon, another artist playing much lower down the bill than expected but she is also playing in Glasgow later today. Her set of grungy power pop is wonderfully executed, she and her band groove their way through these urgent and heartfelt tracks. Think Tank is packed to the rafters this early on, but it is certainly worth it. Her set is far too short but leaves everyone craving much more.
Los Angeles native Pearl Charles is next to grace the Town Wall stage, her dreamy Americana the perfect antithesis after two rowdy sets. Her supremely sweet voice emanating through this small room, casting her wonderful spell across everyone who quickly becomes mesmerised by her. With the likes of All The Boys and Sleepless Dreamer featuring in her set it’s hard not to be enamoured by her. This is definitely the perfect mid-afternoon festival set.
The Ninth Wave have continued to win over fans up and down the country, their sound has changed somewhat in the time they’ve been around as well as the band members. However, today their set is firmly routed in a dark groove as they thrill an enthused crowd who are all willingly and eagerly singing along to every word of songs old and new. They are certainly a band who are finally finding their footing and are quickly ascending the ladder to bigger things.
Next up are New York family band Bailen, the twin brothers and their sister. Are yet another breath of fresh air, settled somewhere between Fleetwood Mac and Vampire Weekend it’s a definite winning combination. The way the three of them harmonise together is exceptional, you quite quickly get lost in their wonderful songs as they have a wonderful sound. Without doubt they are by far one of the bands of the day even with so many other great things to come, we find ourselves completely blown away by them.
A band at the opposite end of the spectrum are next to take to the Think Tank stage, Lady Bird are one of the most talked about bands around right now. Today they make themselves known in spectacular fashion, with Think Tank one in one out there is barely any room to breathe. They take to the stage in typically upbeat fashion goading the crowd and whipping them up into an early frenzy. It’s quite clear that they’re proponents of a similar sound to IDLES, with a little Jamie T in there for good measure. It’s an intense and exciting set, they have an unrivalled power and passion alongside a spectacular stage presence. They are soon to be the band on everyone’s lips.
Sorry provide a completely different experience, their atmospheric tracks at times feel lost in the Boiler Shop. They struggle to gain the deserved gravitas from their intense sound, it doesn’t help that the sun is beaming in through the large windows. This feels like a set which would be much more at home in a small dark room, where the bands real passion has the ability to successfully permeate through the crowd. That aside, as Sorry warmed to their surroundings their set gathered pace, but it still lacked the urgency it needed.
The Blinders have consistently been one of the most talked about bands around, yet on tonight’s showing I’m still yet to understand it. Prior to taking to the stage they play out a call to arms but that’s where their political stance appears to end. Instead blustery fervour is backed by mediocre lyrics coated in reverb driven guitars. That said this is personal opinion, the rest of the crowd were head over heels for the Doncaster band.
Liverpool’s Zuzu was full of excitement as she bounced on to the stage, her enthusiastic stance has the crowd jumping and singing along from the off. Her excitement is truly infectious tonight as we get caught up in her glee as she bounds through her set with wild abandon. The same unfortunately cannot be said for Berlins’ Giant Rooks who really fail to deliver today, not through any fault of their own. You often see this through multi-venue events, they failed to pull any sort of crowd today. Despite putting on a show worthy of a sold-out crowd anywhere as they have the boiler shop quite literally shaking with the force of their sound.
The Mysterines are next in the Digital stage, it’s another fervent fuzz filled set. Lia is a true force to be reckoned with as she relentlessly grooves her way through the entire set, they’re a band who improve exponentially every time we see them. Their power and ferocity is incredible tonight they truly step up to the plate and wow this enthralled crowd. However, this is also where the evening takes a turn for the worse. Heading down to Riverside their programme is suffering from significant delays, Easy Life appear to have only just taken to the stage and are greeted by many bemused SOAK fans.
After waiting a significant amount of time we head up to see Lice, who prove to be one of the bands of the day. Jeering at people from the window of the Bridge Hotel, beckoning them in they quickly create a crowd. Their passionate own brand of punk rock is something to truly behold. Delivered with an angst and snarl, they prove why they deserve to be treated with a significantly higher regard. This enthusiasm, their madness and unbridled excitement is a real breath of fresh air. Without doubt one of the best bands of the day!
Heading back down to Riverside we find out that they are now running an hour and fifteen minutes behind, as SOAK finally takes to the stage Shame fans are beginning to fill the room. There is obviously a hefty disparity in styles and this unfortunately does not translate to the best crowd for the quiet Irish singer. She tries her best and gets through five tracks in twenty minutes before leaving the stage, it puts something of a dampener on what is otherwise an excellent day. The breadth of talent and style is incredible Hit The North have truly nailed it this year. In spite of any issues with timings as these things happen we really cannot wait for next year.
PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS by Victoria Wai
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Images Copyright Victoria Wai. For permission to use these images please contact victoriawai.co.uk