Early risers on the Friday were treated to the wonderful gravelly tones of singer-songwriter Grumble Bee on the Forest Sessions stage, which was surprisingly busy for 10.30am in the morning. For those getting up a bit later; there was still plenty to see around lunchtime, including up-and-coming British alt-rock band Chapter and Verse, who gave a scintillating show on the Main Stage.
Canadians Courage My Love became one of my favourite bands that I hadn’t seen before the festival, following their set in the Axiom. The three-piece from Kitchener are already huge over in Canada and the US and I can see them becoming even bigger over here with their explosive yet endearing shows. However; I did have to cut out of their performance a little early in order to catch the can’t-be-missed craziness of a certain voodoo-inspired metal band, Vodun.
Throughout the day I was treated to some magnificent fem-rock from three great bands; Soeur, Slotface and Dream Wife. Souer were a welcome last-minute addition, replacing The Kenneths’ cancelled set on the Neu Stage; while Slotface finally made their powerful and dazzling 2000 Trees debut, following their last-minute cancellation last year. Brighton artists Dream Wife also appeared in The Axiom later in the day and packed out the tent during their weird and wonderful set.
US experimental punk hip-hop group Ho99o9 are not my usual taste in music; but I decided to give their set in The Cave a go, as I’d heard that their shows were something to not miss. While chaotic front men TheOGM and Eaddy frantically rapped and sang about political and world issues, the audience was whipped up into a frenzy, resulting in what looked like a very painful yet fun moshpit.
Dublin rockers Fangclub made an appearance on The Neu Stage later in the day with a high-octane show so exceptional that they definitely deserve a Main Stage slot at next year’s festival. The band’s sound echoed many of the great grunge bands of the 90s throughout; but with a very distinctive modern twist.
One of the busiest sets on Friday came from punk-rock band Creeper, who gave an adrenaline-fuelled performance headlining The Cave stage which had the audience jumping around and moshing throughout. However; it was Main Stage headliners Twin Atlantic who really blew the night away, as they played so hard that it caused a power cut. Following several minutes of silence and darkness in which some wondered if the show would go on, the band returned to the now-fixed stage to play their final song Heart and Soul; which had front man Sam McTrusty laughing as he sang the strangely appropriate opening lyrics “I flick the switch on the generator”.