Friday promised to be a busy day at Watergate Bay with a jam-packed schedule with some brutal clashes, including the one between masters of filth rock Fat White Family and dance legends Faithless.
After becoming the first band to be played on Apple Music’s Beats1 Radio, Spring King have sky rocketed onto the British music scene over the summer. Spring King brought their summery vibes to their 4:30pm slot on Boardmasters’ Mavericks stage and a big (mostly teenage) audience flocked to see them.
Their setlist comprised of new songs, old songs at the request of fans and reached its climax when they played the Zane Lowe endorsed single ‘The City’, which had the teenage crowd bouncing and singing along. Spring King’s performance is somewhat different to most as a result of being fronted from behind a drum kit. The band still create excitement and their innocent indie sound makes it hard for anyone to take a disliking to them. They have the audience in the palm of their hand.
After Spring King’s set, we waltzed over to the large crowd gathered around the main stage where indie band Circa Waves were getting into gear. The band had the crowd wrapped around their little finger, even getting a large section to sit down during a build up. Their bouncy summery tunes are tailor made for drunken sing alongs and people swaying on shoulders at festivals, which was proven especially during set closer and highlight ‘T-Shirt Weather’.
Next up for us were art-rock band Everything Everything, who got promoted to the sub headliner spot on the main stage that was previously taken by Catfish and The Bottlemen, before they pulled out due to recording commitments. I was interested to see how Everything Everything would up their game to cater for a slot that big but ended up slightly disappointed. This in most part was due to the less than active crowd who remained dormant for most of their set, but the band themselves sounded tight and played with a real groove that isn’t normally found in guitar bands.
They played tracks from all three of their albums, with ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Cough Cough’ being the highlights of their set, waking up an otherwise boring/bored crowd. The closer ‘Distant Past’ from their latest offering, Get To Heaven, was another highlight, the house-inspired track really stood out well on a big stage but you couldn’t help but feel that altogether, the band would’ve done a lot better in a tent.
Doom and gloom was the order of the day for psych-grunge band The Wytches, who played the Mavericks tent. Playing a mixture of B-sides, songs from their upcoming EP, Thunder Lizards Reprieve, and their debut album, Annabel Dream Reader, The Wytches had the fairly young and energetic crowd aggressively bouncing around from the off with their sludgy tunes. ‘Gravedweller’ in particular got the relatively small crowd really going. A special appearance was made halfway through the set by Libertines’ legend Carl Barât!
After a 40 minute assault of grungey darkness, The Wytches ended with a track that seemed to be a jam that turned good – should be interesting to see how that one sounds on the yet-to-be-titled second album.
Carl Barât And The Jackals were the headliners of the Mavericks stage, anticipation was in the air as the tent filled up with Libertines lovers and general Carl enthusiasts close to midnight. ‘Victory Gin’ was an explosive and defiant opener from the Jackals, with the set continuing as it started with mostly heavy material from the debut album, and the occasional Dirty Pretty Things cover being played. A particular highlight for myself and the entire crowd was when the band decided to delve into the vaults of Carl’s discography and dropped ‘I Get Along’, the classic Libertines track from Up The Bracket.
The highlight of Friday at Boardmasters were Fat White Family who were due on the Mavericks stage at 22:15. After leaving the crowd waiting for a further 15 minutes, the anticipation boiled over as they burst into their set in traditional style with their opener ‘Auto-Neutron’, which distinctly resembles an early Simple Minds track. Within the first couple of notes of the Hammond organ the half filled tent bouncing from back to front.
Looking relatively sober, the band slurred a few words and then went straight into fan favourite ‘Is It Raining In Your Mouth?’, resulting in the audience holding up “five sweaty fingers”, reaching out to frontman Lias – who proceeded to undress down to just his black skinny jeans: a given in a Fat White Family show. Fat White Family then proceeded through their set in typical style. Giving some new songs an outing, which were also received positively, and playing fans favourites from their debut album, Champagne Holocaust.
Then guitarist Saul informs the audience before the last song they were told they had 5 minutes, which results in a ‘Bomb Disneyland’ chant, which they then replied: “We have two more songs, we just won’t stop”.
To the stage managements disgust and the audience’s delight they played angst filled renditions of ‘Bomb Disneyland’ and ‘Touch The Leather’. In a frenzy of noise and strobe lights, Saul calmly laughs at the management telling him they need to leave the stage and tear the house down with a wall of noise before throwing their guitars onto the floor, relighting half smoked cigarettes and leaving the stage.
Friday lived up to expectation and we were blown away by some of the acts we managed to catch throughout the day. Saturday also promises the same expectation with the like of Rudimental, Drenge, Yak and The Strypes taking to the stages at Watergate Bay.
Harry Beaton & Junior Cobbinah