Whether you schmoozed down memory lane with The Pigeon Detectives and Beth Ditto or preferred to be found flying the flag for the newest, coolest cats in the industry, Jerry Williams and TOUTS; Neighbourhood Weekender (NBHD) 2018 had you covered on all bases.
The fully-fledged field affair, boasting a strict crowd with a ‘no pyro, no party’ mentality, seen North-West heavyweights, Courteeners, and the sublime Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, topping the bill of its debut outing at Victoria Park, Warrington on May 27 and 28, 2018.
A plethora of artists, such as severe atmosphere setters, The Pale White, the Liverpudlian answer to polite punk, Queen Zee, Stereo Honey, indie rock’s golden trio, Hey Charlie, and disorder-inducers, The Blinders, produced stunning sets on The Viola Beach Stage across the weekend. These bands allowed the stage to be successfully marked as the go-to hub for new and emerging artists – the future headliners of our festivals could be seen up-close and personal.
The poignant tribute to the late Warrington quartet (the stage was adorned with a series of vivid umbrellas in their honour) hosted bands of blistering energy (King No One) and refreshing charm (Anteros), as well as showcasing the ‘next big things’ in music. Rising stars, BlackWaters , young four-piece RedFaces (who drew a phenomenal-sized crowd despite Jake Bugg performing on the main stage) and Newcastle’s Sam Fender all firmly provided evidence of why you should be keeping a firm eye upon their future movements
Outside the bubble of The Viola Beach Stage, NBHD’s resident tent was the life and soul of all things exciting. YONAKA kicked things off in sheer style on Saturday, with snake-hipped frontwoman, Theresa Jarvis, making her mark on the hearts of live music enthusiasts. Hertford lad, Ten Tonnes eclipsed his stage competitors with his mature and melodic voice, while Sunday evening stage headliners, Editors converted the masses with their dark rock artillery.
Gerry Cinnamon brought a streak of the infamous T in The Park’s ‘King Tut’s Wah Wah Tent’ to Warrington and when Sundara Karma are headlining on a Saturday evening? You just know their dreamy indie sing-a-long songs are bound to enchant and awaken the spirit of dad dancing. Between each band’s set on The Second Stage, DJ Katie Owen could be seen living it large, whipping out the Madchester anthems and joyfully sending waiting crowds into a fevered frenzy. For all your indie soundtrack needs, you need only shout for Owen.
Over in the main arena, Miles Kane brought stellar professionalism and sporadic moments of madness to the stage while The Big Moon, Black Honey and Tom Grennan all firmly slotted themselves amongst the big dogs, proving they deserved their main stage place. The big attraction, Courteeners and Gallagher, who followed in the wake of the four main stage superstars mentioned formerly, successfully cemented themselves as being more than comfortable with their surroundings.
Saturday night headliners, Courteeners, successfully fashioned a nostalgic odyssey by dipping into their extensive discography and coming up with the likes of ‘Smiths Disco’ and ‘Fallowfield Hillbilly’. The ease, familiarity and likability factor of Courteeners left no room for surprises – you get what you expect, but that reliability is seemingly good enough for fans. Flares sparked, chants started and jeers and cheers flew from the crowd; you just cannot fault the North West’s devotion to the Courteeners.
Following night’s big booking, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, came fresh-faced from BBC Music’s Biggest Weekend in Perth, armed with a slick, punctual performance and setlist. Omitting an official encore, and slipping in a cover of The Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’ and a tear-jerking rendition of ‘Wonderwall’ The Chief stunned with both grace and sophistication.
Neighbourhood Weekender 2018 was stunning. Faultless performances across the board, and a lineup equally championing the new starters and the elder giants, one thing is for certain, this weekender is about to become your new summer staple. NBHD is here to stay.
Early-bird tickets for the 2019 edition of Neighbourhood Weekender are available here from Thursday 31 May 2018, at 9 am.