LIVE: Boardmasters – Watergate Bay, Cornwall 08.08.15

Like Friday, Saturday at Watergate bay was action packed and sadly full of clashes. We managed to catch a whole bunch of sets. Some of the best we saw were the likes of YAK, The Strypes, Rudimental and Drenge.

One of the bands I was most excited to see was the much hyped London trio YAK, who took to Boardmasters’ ‘Mavericks’ stage in an early evening slot. YAK are known for crazy on stage antics. Having previously thrown their equipment off the stage, into the audience and multiple stage invasions, rightfully so there was a great sense of anticipation as the three piece took to the stage.

Surrounded in smoke, sipping on a can of Carlsberg, front man Oli Burslem burst into the set with great intensity and attitude. The highlight of the set came when YAK played their debut single ‘Hungry Heart’, which was released earlier this year on Fat Possum records. Blinded by strobe and smoke, the audience nodded in approval and looked like they were poised for a bit of movement which never quite came to fruition. Minus the band’s big fans at the barrier.

YAK then jumped into ‘Smile’ the second track on their current Plastic People EP, the song has so much movement in both tempo and dynamics that, like YAK, the unpredictability is unique. This also was received with a big nod of approval from the crowd. However, after this a lot was left to be desired as front man Oli Burslem, who could easily be mistaken as Mick Jagger’s love child, sat down on the drum stand chugging on his Carlsberg and the rest of the band ask “What are we going to play?”, Burslem replies “I don’t want to play that” – they then proceed to play one more song before Burslem says “See yah” and strolls off stage, beer in hand in fitting style. The rest of the band who looked as confused as the audience followed in suit, and the set was over 10 minutes early.

Fresh off the back of the release of their second album, Little Victories, straight up rock ‘n’ roll band The Strypes are still at the tender ages of 17 – 19 but during their late set in the Mavericks tent, they managed to exude a raw power that many bands struggle to produce after being together for 17 years. Ripping through a set filled with ballsy blues riffs, they had the crowd bouncing from front to back, especially during their most popular tune and debut single from 2013 ‘Blue Collar Jane’. Although I didn’t manage to see their whole set, the songs that I did manage to catch really impressed me.

Saturdays headliner at Watergate Bay was Hackney four-piece Rudimental. It was a given that Rudimental would fit in perfectly with Boardmasters crowd. Offering them drum and bass to bounce, sing and chant along too. Playing through their vast catalog of hits, all singles were sang word for word by the rabid audience. The air was filled with that familiar festival smell and the vibe in the audience felt like everyone had known each other for years. It was clear from the off that Rudimental had the main stage audience eating out of their hands.

It was also exciting to see Rudimental showcase some new material ahead of their new album release, We the Generation. The highlight of the set was when they played 2013 chart topping single ‘Waiting All Night’ which had the brass ringing out so loud it could be heard all throughout Newquay. After speaking to some people in the audience after many others agreed.

They then shut up shop with ‘Feel The Love’ and their headlining set left the thousands in the audience in awe. Rudimental brought drum and bass to the stunning Watergate Bay where it really seems at home.

Last but certainly not least for our Saturday/early Sunday morning at Boardmasters were Drenge, a band that have gone from strength to strength recently following the release of their critically acclaimed second album, Undertow, and the addition of a new member, bassist Rob Graham. So naturally, their headline set in the Mavericks tent was something that couldn’t be missed.

Setting the atmosphere with the eerie but brutal ‘Running Wild’, Drenge were the catalyst for a few hundred teenagers completely losing their shit. Straight from the off, there were circle pits and flailing limbs everywhere. Blasting through tracks from their 2013 self titled debut and their debut, the boys looked like they were having the time of their lives – Eoin Loveless even stopping to proclaim Boardmasters as the “best show we’ve ever played” (although this definitely wouldn’t be the first time that Eoin may have been sarcastic!).

‘Fuckabout’ is still a highlight of Drenge’s setlists, with the anthemic quality becoming even more prominent with the addition of bass, this one had people singing back every word on shoulders and plenty of arms aloft. ‘Let’s Pretend’, the usual closer, sounded as blisteringly intense as ever and ended with a circle pit as wide as my front room. All in all, Drenge definitely did not disappoint with this headline set – the main stage is calling.

Junior Cobbinah & Harry Beaton.