REVIEW: Stockton Weekender (Part 1)
By Adam Millard on August 15, 2012 in Music
If there’s one thing that Teesside does well it’s gloom, and today we had two of the very gloomiest local acts gracing the main stage. First up were By Toutatis and the sun shone gloriously in almost ironic contrast to the marvellously downcast sounds which were emanating from the stage. The band have a rich understated charm and dry wit, mixing sea-shanty folk with songs about everyday northern life with High Gallows Tree being a particular highlight.
The second of the local gloom merchants had no such luck with the weather gods and it poured down for pretty much the entire Chapman Family set. The band have gone through something of a reinvention in recent years (with nice added touches of piano piercing the searing guitar) and their new material sits up nicely alongside Kingsley’s anti-royalist tirades and “oldies” like Kids.
At the Georgian Theatre J.B.B.S played easily the most energetic set of the whole weekend. This is punk rock at its meanest and the four piece didn’t stop for breath except for a synchronised t-shirt removal (I’m not sure how many tattoo-hours this band have clocked up, but it’s a lot). By the end of their set the singer had a bleeding head and there seemed to be a toddler moshing away at the front. The classic signs of a good show.
Raptastic played hip-hop-comedy songs about Lego Star Wars and wishing they could talk like Sean Bean which were genuinely funny and the backing band (an iPod) wasn’t bad either. What started off as a sceptical audience ended in a conga line and people arm in arm singing the theme from Cheers.
After nipping over to the high-street to watch an excellent shopping trolley ballet (part of the SIRF arts festival) which moved and bemused spectators in equal measure, it was back to the Georgian for local legends Shrug who were in glorious full throttle. Raw and ramshackle and so loud that you can almost feel the plastic beer glasses vibrating free from the grasps of their owners. It was also just as theatrical as anything you’ll see on the high-street.
Over to Sunday and on the main stage (two of) Ocean Colour Scene (Simon and Oscar) lapped up the fantastic Sunday atmosphere, performing fan favourites like Robin Hood and One For The Road alongside an obligatory sing-along Day We Caught The Train, the mods were out of the woodwork and it was like 1996 again.
The feel-good factor continued with Weird Shapes stepping in on the Vela stage last minute to replace the absent Toy. Their home-grown, epic and anthemic performance was a cool soundtrack as the sun started to go down and the festival drew to a close.
Finally James played in front of an army of loyal fans who sang and danced through their entire set. Singer Tim Booth has still got the moves (but not the hair), the baggy trousers, and at times when the strobe lighting is in full flow it’s like being transported to the Hacienda in its heyday. At the end they democratically snub Sit Down in favour of a rousing Laid. A pleasantly surprising end to another great Weekender.
Images courtesy of Dean Coyle & Hannah D’Arcy-Johnson
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