Festival review: Bingley Music Live, Myrtle Park, Bingley
FridayA sudden downpour accompanies our arrival at Bingley Music Live, forcing us to seek shelter in the nearest tent. Fortunately Bradford duo Issimo are there to greet us; their warm tropical pop is a welcome ray of sunshine amid the early autumn rain soaking the rest of the site.
On the main stage seasoned campaigners Maximo Park are doing their best to cheer up spirits with an extensive set that draws heavily on their latest album, Risk To Exist, but leaves room for older crowd pleasers such as The National Health and Our Velocity.
Behatted frontman Paul Smith proves a talkative presence. “We are having aggressive rock and roll/pop fun,” he declares during his introduction to Going Missing.
“Get funky, Dunc,” he urges guitarist Duncan Lloyd in the middle of an ‘extended remix’ of What Equals Love.
By the end Smith is extolling the virtues of the “very reliable” local bus service that had taken him to Salts Mill earlier in the day and a dampened audience is well and truly won over.
Up on the Discovery Stage Bedford native Tom Grennan, clad in an oversize Burberry raincoat, and his four-piece band are pulling (musical) rabbits out of hats. Make ’Em Like You and Lucky Ones are soulful pop gems, powered along by Grennan’s gruff rasp of a voice.
“Grab your partners, have a little cuddle. We’re in Bingley, innit?” he says by way of introduction to a slower number.
Barbed Wire, the recent Chase & Status collaboration All Goes Wrong, and Something in the Water show Grennan already has a decent songbook with which to work. One to watch.
Back on the main stage, the Manic Street Preachers announce themselves with the magnificent guitar riff of Motorcycle Emptiness. In the hour and a half-long career overview of a set that follows there’s something from almost every album they’ve made in the last 25 years – except for their most spiky work from The Holy Bible and Journal For Plague Lovers.
There’s a generous helping from their pivotal record Everything Must Go, with the title track, No Surface All Feeling and Kevin Carter all given an airing, the latter bolstered by the trumpet playing of Gavin Fitzjohn, who later joins singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield for a three-song acoustic interlude that includes the chart topper The Masses Against The Classes and by way of apology for the earlier shower, a cover of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David number Raindrops Keeping Falling On My Head.
Other highlights include singalong renditions of You Stole The Sun From My Heart and If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next, and the title track from their album Send Away The Tigers, whose 10th anniversary the band celebrated this year.
Bradfield dedicates Ocean Spray to the NHS, to a loud cheer, tells us how much he loves the Yorkshire countryside (“I was up here at Easter, being one of those annoying tourists asking where’s the Yorkshire Sculpture Park”) and bigs up the region’s Olympians (“What are they feeding you on?”).
The perky and undeniably romantic Show Me The Wonder is introduced as “our wedding reception number” then it’s time to bow out with the classic A Design For Life.
As a reminder of exactly who has been the best British guitar band of the last two and a half decades, this set pressed all the buttons.
A fitting start, then, to a great festival.