June 11 @ Various venues, Wakefield
The multi-venue, all-day music festival – like our own Live At Leeds – has really taken off in recent years, with most UK cities hosting at least one a year.
Now, thanks to the vision and tenacity of Dean Freeman, the man behind Wakefield’s Rhubarb Bomb music fanzine, Wakefield was able to enjoy its very own all-dayer celebrating the best local bands and some special guests from further afield.
Our variety-packed day began with Gallic singer-songwriter Freschard at a busy Henry Boons, before we were thrilled by the seductive Phil-Spector-meets-cosmic-scouse-meets-jingle-jangle-indie-meets-surf-pop of local band Spectrals and the inspired, quirky electro-rock of Hull’s Fonda 500, all within the wood-panelled splendour of the town hall.
Former The Delgados singer Emma Pollock was packing them in at The Hop so we headed to Mustangs to get in early for New York indie-popper Darwin Deez.
It was a good move as we caught China Shop Bull, a 7-piece based in Leeds, who deliver a scintillating mash-up of hip-hop, rap, drum and bass, ska and dubstep. With a refreshingly unguarded stage presence, the band’s devil-may-care collision of sounds made for some truly brilliant moments.
For me, US indie-popper Darwin Deez was the big scoop of the day and he did Wakefield proud. Mustangs, which judging by the spectrum of garish WKD in its fridge is more used to a lairy weekend crowd, proved a great live music venue.
The main headliners for the festival were local heroes The Wedding Present but we chose to avoid that logjam to check out the beguiling Emmy The Great as she performed under some imposing religious iconography in the cathedral.
It proved a mellow end to an event which is a welcome addition to the gig calendar, and well worth a day out for live music fans from Leeds.