Archive for the ‘Festivals’ Category

The Fringe Festival – Maidstone 2013

A bank holiday weekend in May saw 5, yes 5 days of amazing local music in Maidstone.  My one gripe is not towards the Fringe Festival itself but towards promoters and competing.  A weekend with 3 festivals running against each other just leaves everyone torn on which one to go to.  Rochester saw the Sweeps Festival and Canterbury, the City Sound Project.  So 3 Festivals and where do you go?  There is one audience for live music and by putting on 3 festivals fairly close to each other, all you are really doing is diluting the audience down for each one.  Why not work together and spread them across the month and weekends?  There are two bank holiday weekends in May for a  start.  Anyway I shall now stop procrastinating and move on to what I did manage to get out and see myself, which wasn’t as much as I’d have liked, due to having been to so many gigs that week.

Bank holiday Monday and I took a drive over to Maidstone with the intention of going to the Style and Winch for an afternoon of lots of bands.  I did actually make it there and the attendance was very large, so much so I couldn’t actually get anywhere close to the bands to review.  Meeting up with a friend we looked at the Fringe Festival line up and discovered the amazing Tank Trap and Audiowhores were playing down the road at The Source Bar, so after a drink decided to take a wander.  Yes I’ve seen Tank Trap a fair few times and the idea was to get out and see some new bands, but Audiowhores have been on my wanted to see list for some time so the opportunity for a mere £3 was not to be missed.

The turnout was extremely disappointing and also incomprehensible to me.  Top quality acts, with Tank Trap opening the main stage at The Isle of Wight Festival this year on the Saturday and I thought it would be a squeeze, but no.  People have no idea what they missed out on.  As it turned out each band is one I feel will not be on the local scene for too much longer, all destined for greater things.

First band on unfortunately have no idea who they were as they did not introduce themselves at all and there were no flyers around to say who they were.  Therefore its rather pointless for me to review them.

Tin Soldiers – a band I’d not even heard of before but I certainly have now and will not be forgetting their name.  Judging by the amount of likes they have on Facebook I probably should have heard of them but this is now rectified and will firmly stick in my head.  A Kent/London based 4 piece rock band although, at times I would actually say pop-rock, but they are loud, proud, frenetic and rather awesome in my opinion.  An extremely tight band and although they had some issues with the sound techs getting their levels right at the start they ploughed on through.  Luckily this was rectified and we got to hear them in all their rock glory, belting out songs that stuck in the head, riffs, chugging, hooks, frenetic fast paced drumming hammering into your brain, with an extremely tuneful and unique voice over the top.  I have a feeling these guys are going places so I suggest you check them out pretty soon and be one of those proud to say you followed them from the start of their journey!

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Tank Trap – a 4 piece blues, grunge rock band from Gravesend and if you haven’t heard of them already, stop now, check them out and come back and read!  I’ve been lucky enough to have reviewed and photographed them a few times now, the last time with a much smaller amount of photo’s than usual, due to ending up rocking out to most of the set.  A really down to earth bunch of guys who always have time to stand and chat to their fans and watch the other bands playing.  They have a really distinct and unique sound to them with catchy songs that you can’t help but sing along too.  The bassist pulls the most amazing faces while playing and the energy from the band never fails to blow me away.  It’s very obvious that the guys have been playing together a very long time, so tight is their set with all working together better than tea and biscuits!  Ian’s voice could never be mistaken and adds a real bluesy, gritty and soulful edge to the music.  Skilful electric riffs, explosive drumbeats, the occasional overlay of the harmonic adding a deep south vibe and some heavy bass lines.  It really is no wonder they are opening the Isle of Wight main stage and I’m very sure they are on the journey of onwards and upwards.

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Audiowhores – a 5 piece Rock band with progressive funk elements hailing from Tonbridge are pretty much what they say on the tin!  Give a man a mega phone and he’ll be sure to make some noise and that is exactly what happens at times.  This is good noise though, great noise in fact giving a real gritty edge to the vocals while not distorting the lyrics at all.  A mega phone is not used at all times and it therefore enhances and brings depth and edginess when it is used.  Now the rock part, oh this is done so very well and is in abundant evidence with growling, chugging riffs, frenetic and energetic drums layered together with deep bass lines.  What more do you want or need from the rock bit?  However the band drops this down with more complex and haunting songs but most of the time the adult content lyrics are present.  These guys are not playing with you, they want you to pay attention and you simply can do nothing than that.  Hypnotic in their performance, the energy draws you in and you find your eyes not knowing where to look at any given moment.  Another must see on my band list!

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So I didn’t get out to see as much as I hoped on this weekend of festival madness and only having one day over the bank holiday I could dedicate, I did feel somewhat cheated.   So many choices to make as to where to go, who to see… in the end though, I’m very pleased with the choices I made!  Put it this way I awoke the next day with neck ache, this is always a good sign.

Sarah Quinn – GIGgle Pics & Kent Sessions

Tin Soldiers – Find them on Facebook 

Tank Trap – Find them on Facebook 

Audiowhores – Find them on Facebook 

City Sound Project – Canterbury – 05.05.13

Bringing the vibrant and excitement of a festival into the heart of a city, City Sound Project was a hugely successful day for Canterbury. A multitude of venues, the Penny Theatre, The Lounge, The Picturehouse, Bramleys, the Jolly Sailor and The Cuban hosted a day of music from bands, solo artists and DJs, as well as after parties at Club Chemistry, and small secret intimate gigs at Browns Coffee House. Running from venue to venue being trapped in streets by armies of Morris Dancers formed the basis of a memorable and eventful day. Highlights for me were definitely Coco and the Butterfields, Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Syd Arthur and Broken Hands.

Setting off the Jolly Sailor’s stage, were the always crowd pleasing Coco and the Butterfields, with their lively and humorous performance in preparation for their sold out gig at the Marlowe that evening. They performed a delicious mix of their originals and some well known covers such as Flo-Rida’s “Low”, having the audience scream along and get low (some people were already drunk by 3pm and fell flat on the floor). The set was closed by a comedic beatboxing sketch, in which Jamie the beatboxer, imitated pulling the hearts out of the band members, then putting them back in, cascading the band into short bursts of song.

This was my eighth time seeing Syd Arthur, and they never cease to impress. Being revivalists of the Canterbury prog-rock music scene, the band blends poetic lyrics, funky psychedelic beats and grooves forming a creative fusion underpinned by accomplished musicianship. Their music is completely fixating, submersing the listener on a musical journey. Sadly their set was cut short due to other acts running late, I’m sure everyone in the audience wanted a longer set.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich created an incredibly peaceful, chilled atmosphere with his stripped back performance at The Lounge. His humbleness gleamed and captivated the whole audience, his talent allows him to create such beautiful melodies with simply his voice, his guitar, and some added reverb. Broken Hands in contrast created a much more pounding, indie, rocky grungy atmosphere, their acidic energy fuelling the crowd. With the promise of further venues being added next year, I will definitely return next time, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen so much energy right on the streets of Canterbury.

Annie Mackinnon

Reviewer on behalf of GIGgle Pics

Photo’s by Annie Mackinnon on behalf of GIGgle Pics