The Bingley Music Live Festival has been shortlisted many times for the Best New Festival category of the UK Festival Awards and it is easy to see why – it is one of the best boutique festivals on the calendar.
Martha Reeves on Friday night had a tough time winning the audience over – with sweets being thrown at her she encouraged the dismissive punters to “put the sweets in their mouths and stop throwing them at her and stop being cowards”. A brilliant rendition of Dancing in the Street turned things around and proved that she still has a great voice.
The Charlatans would probably be a lot bigger act than they are now if they had split up and reformed. With his new blonde haircut – Tim Burgess is still a brilliant front man. From opening track, North Country Boy to closing track, Sproston Green the set never dropped a gear. It is easy to forget how many hits they have had. Unfortunately there was no new material played but then it was a festival crowd they were playing to and time was short. How High and Tellin Stories were the set highlights and still sound as good now as back in the day.
The sun came out on Saturday just as the Pigeon Detectives took to the stage. With Bingley just being up the road from their hometown of Leeds, they were nearly playing to a home crowd. They have a superb front man in Matt Bowman – often looking like a young Roger Daltry, he leaps about the stage like he had overdosed on Red Bull! Throwing bottles of water into the audience to cool everyone down their performance was as hot as ever. The best moments were when they concentrated on Songs off the second album, Emergency. Everybody Wants Me and This Is an Emergency showed that the band should not be regarded as a poor relation to the Kaiser Chiefs.
Playing on one of the smaller stages, King Charles gave one of the best performances of the weekend. If he had appeared on the scene 20 years ago he would have been on the front cover of Smash Hits and have had a Number One album but the music scene has moved on in the digital age.
He has a charismatic stage presence and took to the stage like he was playing to an arena. With influences ranging from Prince to Lady GaGa he is an undiscovered gem. Recent single Bam Bam sounds like Darts meets Jilted John. He could be compared to Mika with a more leftfield touch. Closing with a cover of the Billy Joel classic We Didn’t Start the Fire, this is a future pop star whose fire may be smouldering now but given time will be a major UK artist.
Razorlight closed the festival on Saturday night. These days the band is Johnny Borrell and a set of hired hands. Unusually he didn’t wear his regular white trousers!
They did not let the faithful down and drew the biggest crowd of the weekend. The set dragged a bit midway but with songs like In the Morning, Golden Touch and set closer America there were more highs than lows.
London born, Irish raised singer songwriter Maverick Sabre has his name ringing round the world right now and rightly so. His performance on Sunday showcased his soulful voice. Giving a performance like his life depended upon it. Recent hit, No One was transformed into a dub step version whilst I Need sent a shiver down everyone’s spine.
Since springing onto the music scene in 2008 to universal acclaim White Lies have gone on to surpass all expectations. With hints of Depeche Mode and New Order in their music they also sounded like a harder version of Keane. The theme of death seems to run through their lyrics – the second song they performed, To Lose My Life has a chorus that uses the line “lets grow old together and die at the same time” whilst their second single is entitled Death it was also a highlight of their set. Their music is strangely uplifting against this backdrop of negative lyrics. They seemed to reach out to everyone from those down the front to everyone at the back. Unfinished Business may have been their last song they performed but let’s hope that this under rated band will be back soon.
Photo by Man Alive