Kendal Calling festival 2017 review – Saturday
It was a mud-tastic Kendal Calling 2017 with festival goers enduring a deluge of of rain over the Thursday and Friday prior to our arrival on the Saturday. Luckily the weather held for the Saturday much to relief of myself and the thousands of other people at the site.
So it was with boots on and back pack filled, we trudged up to the woodland stage at a very slow pace, to see Liverpool’s own The Jackobins.
The Jackobins have been doing a lot of festivals this year yet it seems the constant touring hasn’t abated any of their energy levels. With a blisteringly, highly energetic set, the band played to a great crowd most of whom were wearing animal outfits due to this year’s wildlife theme.
Lead singer Dominic Bassnett, at full pelt with the material and leaping down from the stage to sing amongst the crowd who embraced the singer whole heartedly whilst attempting to take selfies with him in mid song.
Up on stage, guitarist Veso, was in full flow with his trademark erratic and intricate guitar riffs. Leaping onto the stage speakers to elevate himself over the crowd for which he was pulled down from as a stage hand obviously enforced the health and safety regime. One which Veso didn’t seem too happy with but continued on relentlessly.
And as Dominic ran off following the final song there was no doubt that they had made quite and impact on the transfixed crowd.
Over on the main stage, Brian Wilson had bought his Pet Sounds album to Kendal Calling. Having just completed a very successful night at the Liverpool Echo Arena the night before, Brian and the band came on stage to a full capacity crowd awaiting them. Pet Sounds is seen as one of the great albums of the 60s and he and his brilliant band does justice to it. With woodwinds and saxophone galore the huge sound emitting from the main stage truly brings the album to life in a way that vinyl or CD could never do and which appeals to those who may never have heard the album before. With hit after hit including Dance Dance Dance, Shut Down, Little Deuce Coupe and Little Honda the set never seemed to let up on the tempo and by the time they got to the well-known tracks such as Rhonda, Surfin USA, Barbara Ann and Fun Fun Fun the crowd were leaping and surfing around from the front to the back. A tremendous, once in a lifetime experience for many.
Over in the Glow Tent, Star.One was ripping it up. Siblings Blackz and Phaze have built quite a reputation in the underground music scene and with the reception they received they may not be as underground as they think. The tent was bouncing as they led the crowd through their influence led set. With and expletive laden performance it was quite humorous to see a couple of 3 year olds (future festival regulars by the look of it), who were obviously enjoying the set just as much if not more than most, having their ears covered by their mothers every time a swear word flew. A highly ferocious and energetic set from the duo and a must see live.
The headliners, The Manic Street Preachers need no real introduction (even though I just did introduce them). The album Everything must go was one of the most celebrated of the mid 90s and spawned such hits as the album titled track along with Kevin Carter and Australia and those tracks amongst others formed part of their set.
Kicking off with the 1992 classic Motorcycle Emptiness, the band hit the stage with full force with lead singer James Dean Bradfield’s voice in fine fettle. Following this with Everything must go had the crowd in full voice and what commenced from here on in was hit after hit including Tsunami, You Stole the sun from my heart and if you tolerate this which never let up through the full 90 minute. Unfortunately at one point a pint of something that James Bradfield described as a “snakebite with a hint of piss” launched at the stage which he took in good spirits and went on to say that it was “the only drink he had that day so thank you.”
A couple of acoustic songs from James was the only let up to this immense headline set with him singing Raindrops keep falling on my head, an apt song for the weather the site had endured over the last couple of days.
Ending on the rip roaring A Design for life, this was a band that don’t seem to have abated over the years and sound and act like they did back in the height of their popularity and still manage to attract a huge, vast crowd of various ages and still manage to elevate a crowd to huge heights.