Festival review: Tristan Da Cunha and James Holroyd at Houghton Festival

Houghton Festival. Picture: Jake Davis (fb.com/hungryvisuals)
Houghton Festival. Picture: Jake Davis (fb.com/hungryvisuals)
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Leeds has had a touch of nostalgia coursing through its veins as of late; with Back to Basics recently reviving Millennium Square’s orchestral taste with nearly 5,000 punters flocking to witness Dave Beer and his brigade of timeless residents all blending well with the sounds from Groove Armada, Basement Jaxx and Adamski.

This all tied all in perfectly with Houghton Festival in Kings Lynn. There was an array of Yorkshire talent on show, with the likes of Basics residents Tristan Da Cunha and James Holroyd hoisting that white rose with some of the elite within the world of house and techno. Adopted son Josh Tweek who, although not from Leeds originally, cut his teeth in our fair city way back in 2007 with the launch of his on point Louche brand; in turn he has curated a plethora of historic mixes that are now nearly 160 podcasts to the good. Currently based in Berlin Josh runs The Ghost, a pop up record store, that provides the city with a mobile selection of vinyls. For those of you who have been living under a rock, Tristan is an ever present, using his moniker Dungeon Meat with Brawther and James provides a backdrop on The Chemicals Brothers tour as well, both residing with Basics through thick and thin.

Houghton itself allowed the performers the chance dig deep into their crates with four hour slots becoming something of the norm. An unusual outlay really as many festivals these days cram in as many acts as possible for that shoddy one hour slot just to get those extra ticket sales over the line. Craig Richards, and the team behind the prodigious Gottwood Festival, loosened the crammed schedules and offered the acts a chance to express their feelings amongst the sell out audience. My favourites of the stages being Terminus and the Pavilion, the latter donating a profusion of elegant lighting panels that shimmered through the overlooking forest.

The acts, well, there were plenty to choose from; my picks being Nicholas Lutz, who has been an ever present for me as of late with his back to back set withs Craig Richards. Nicholas Jaar tripped us out with his saga that cemented his place within the annals of the live electronic music, and lastly Margaret Dygas, who regularly performs at our beloved Wire, was also on hand to lift us into the early morning of Sunday.

However I really struggled to turn my attention away from the acts that originally resided in Leeds. Tristan allowed an ebb and flow of jacking house into breaks, then more punchy slabs, before rounding off his set that lead us into the the evening. I caught James’ early slot on the Sunday which married well with the blistering sunshine. His dubby reggae effort allowed us to ease into what was becoming a long stint for the folk four and five days in to the festival. Not like any of his usual house cuts that we have seen him regularly apply to his trademark performances over the past 25 years; this was my inaugural time witnessing such a blissful blend of slowdown sounds.

If you want to do a favour for our adopted son, then please continue to follow Josh’s journey, with The Ghost, as he drives his way through Berlin oozing out those ambient and enthused sounds, I know I will! Tristan and James will be on hand to take you into the after hours in Leeds as well as performing various festival slots for years to come. Furthermore, a shout out must go out to Bobby Connelly, the London born DJ and label manager of one of Leeds most beloved imprint, 20/20 Vision. He performed an exquisite couple of sets marrying that disco and house ethos he does so well, effortlessly and with an ease only he can manage. He has recently announced his own label, Needs, a non-profit label in which each release will further benefit a charity of his own choice. He’s definitely one to watch.

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