When the industry is always looking for the next big thing, The Snuts have certainly thrown their name in that hat over the past couple of years. A huge debut album has now been followed up with a brave, adventurous and importantly well received sophomore record.
To really breakthrough though artists need to back up what they do on record when taking to the stage. Tonight we head to the UEA LCR in Norwich to see what progress the band have made on this front.
Up first however are local favourites Youth Killed It who command the stage as if they were the headliners. Full of genre-bending rifftastic sing-a-long anthems, the band control the stage with utter ease. Whilst just the opening act tonight, there would be worse bets to place than one predicting that Youth Killed It will return to headline this stage.
Next, the audience are serenaded by young singer-songwriter Heidi Curtis who is able to charm the baying crowd with her uplifting performance. Curtis is most definitely one to watch in the coming years.
Finally the venue get the group that they’ve been waiting for as The Snuts arrive onstage to a powerful politically charged video. Yes, video… the band instantly showcase their intentions to raise their live credentials with a elegant stage set up.
It’s not all style and no substance however, as The Snuts are able to back it up with a stunning performance full of effortless cool swagger. The audience are held in the palm of their hand as they mix material from their two albums.
As May draws to a close, the traditional UK Festival season commences. Of course 2022 is the first full season in three long years following the pandemic-related disruption to the 2020 and 2021 summers.
It must be fate then that as we journey towards Earlham Park in Norwich, the skies are grey and the rain begins to fall. It wouldn’t be the UK summer without some of the wet stuff now would it?
Our destination on this chilly spring Sunday is a new venture called Neck of the Woods. The one day festival sees organisers take over a venue vacated by yesterdays Let’s Rock Retro Festival.
I’ve long championed the notion that Norwich needs an indie/rock festival and if tagging along to this existing event makes one viable then I’m all for it. Line-up wise Neck of the Woods is certainly going for the growing younger indie crowd with only headliners The Kooks of a certain vintage.
Access is quick and easy and the atmosphere once inside is nice and relaxed. The usual overpriced festival food and bars are present as are four stages of music.
Given the ongoing cost of living crisis it’s somewhat disappointing yet fully expected post-pandemic that food and drink prices have increased since last year. A hot dog, fries and a can of pop coming to a staggering £14.50! As I say, expected given the past couple of years, but a little frustrating.
The site is setup well for a one day event with the stages spread out between two different areas, each with one outdoor and one tented stage. As expected there is some sound bleed at times, but nothing too invading.
There are a handful of stalls and other activities scattered around the site, with ample facilities such as toilets plus a separate VIP area. Thankfully there are no major queuing issues all day with the amount and distribution of everything on site seemingly well measured.
That’s the amenities taken care of then, now onto the music! That is after all why we are all in this field, with a little sunshine now poking through.
Opening the main stage are local favourites Youth Killed It who do a fantastic job in getting the early attendees engaged. Their unique brand of indie punk captures the imagination of the young audience and shows great promise for a band coming into their own.
The main stage and the tented second stage, sponsored by local venue The Waterfront, alternate meaning eager music aficionados can catch an endless stream of musical pleasures if their legs can hold them. We are able to hold this pace for the first half of the event, allowing us to take in some great young acts including a fair few to have featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist!
One such act is Liverpudlian indie upstarts Rats who open the second stage with a blistering set which wins over every single person present. A glimpse into the future of indie music, and the future is once again looking bright.
Next on the main stage are The Lottery Winners who, with their great onstage banter and even better musical output, may be the perfect festival band. The group have the audience in the palm of their hands throughout their short set and leave the crowd wanting more, which is all you can really hope to do.
Another enthralling act grace the second stage next with their superb 80’s tinged Synth-Pop are Deco. This is a name that is popping up on many a festival line-up this summer and is certainly one to watch out for.
Also on the one to watch list is the fabulous Lauran Hibberd who has been making waves for a couple of years now. Hibberd is preparing to release her debut album later this year, and on the evidence of today it is set to be a big one. Fully expect to see this name playing higher up festival bills next summer!
The Royston Club continue the hot streak of great young bands at Neck of the Woods next with another top showing in the tent. With many fans seemingly already in the know, the band are able to create a fun atmosphere as our legs begin to tire.
No time for rest just yet as we return to the main stage for a band that feel on the cusp of something really big. The Snuts hit the number one spot with their debut album and recently played some huge shows across the country including Brixton Academy.
Songs such as ‘All Your Friends’, ‘Always’ and ‘Glasgow’ from that album feel like they were made with days like today in mind. With the sun now making regularly scheduled appearances from behind the cloud and the crowd fully in the festival spirit, the band go down as expected. A hero’s reception for a group surely destined to headline this sort of event.
Now after that relentless run of superb music, we must stop and retreat to check out the VIP offerings. With a private bar and toilets along with ample seating including a good view of the main stage, the VIP area is basically what you’d expect at a festival; nothing too fancy but a nice place to chill out.
But whilst we rest, the music doesn’t. The organisers have done well to secure a line-up featuring some of the best new bands on the scene with a splattering of larger acts to draw the crowds.
Whilst we relax we get to enjoy dodie who offers something slightly different to the indie lad rock predominantly featured. An enjoyable set from dodie allows us time to recuperate before another onslaught of music.
We pick things back up towards the top of the bill now with Sea Girls on the main stage. Sea Girls are a band that I’ve heard of but never actually listened to. Not really knowing what to expect, the band are able to quickly get my attention. They also have the attention of the majority of the attendees with a clear connection existing between band and fans.
Their time on stage sails by very quickly which is usually a good sign, and with their name featuring on many festivals this summer, I feel they’ve earned a little more attention from me before I hopefully see them again.
In fact, one of my favourite things about festivals is discovering new music. I’d like to say NOISY on the third stage are a new discovery but they’ve actually featured on our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist already. That said catching them live here gives new emphasis to their music as the band play one of the most energetic and passionate sets of the day.
Perhaps this energy and passion is what make our sub-headliners DMA’s fall a little flat having to follow them. Another band that I’ve not personally delved too deeply in before, I can’t say that are able to grab me as much as many others have today. A slower paced set perhaps wasn’t what the doctor ordered following NOISY in a small tent and prior to Yonaka in the big tent.
DMA’s are pleasant enough and perhaps do deserve deeper inspection, but as the weather gets colder and the feet start to ache, they struggle to capture my imagination today.
That was never going to be a problem for our second stage headliners Yonaka however! This after all is a band built on energy and passion, a band whose bond with the audience is synergetic.
Arriving slightly late on stage, the band power through their set which just adds even further impedance and immediacy to their performance. A sublime mixture of the stunning and the powerful encapsulates Yonaka as they deliver the likes of ‘Ordinary’, ‘Call Me a Saint’ and the incredible ‘Rockstar’.
Fans in attendance have probably just witnessed the performance of the day, but having slightly overrun it’s time to leg it back to the main stage where The Kooks have just arrived for their headline performance.
Their setlist tonight features debut album ‘Inside In/Inside Out’ predominantly to celebrate its 15th anniversary. Adding in a few hits from that albums successors makes for a pretty great festival setlist.
Opening with ‘Seaside’ and ‘See the World’, the band instantly have the crowd in hand. They are able to maintain this connection throughout their performance which is more than worthy of the headline slot.
By the time ‘Naïve’ closes their set and sends the fans off into the night, it is very much job achieved both for The Kooks and for Neck of the Woods. Norwich does need an event like this, and whilst far from sold out, the event is well enough attended to be deemed a successful debut.
Hopefully Neck of the Woods can build on this solid start, build their brand and bring some of the biggest indie acts to Norwich in the coming years. Most importantly though I hope that they maintain the focus on new bands!
Today has been a day of discovery, finding great new acts before enjoying a handful of the best indie acts around at the moment; the perfect mix. I’d imagine we will be hearing a lot more from a number of these acts over the coming years, and hopefully we will be back at Earlham Park next year.
Welcome to another edition of our weekly music News Report. This week we are starting off with the latest festival news, and first up is All Points East in London.
The Victoria Park event this week added new acts to the Gorillaz headlined day on Friday 19th August. Heading up the latest additions are Turnstile who join the likes of IDLES and Self Esteem and a packed bill.
On to the latest tour announcements now in our News Report and it was a big news week for The Subways. The band will be hitting the road later this year including a date at the Electric Ballroom in Camden.
Not only that, the band also debuted new single, ‘You Kill My Cool’, which will feature on their upcoming new album. Listen to the track below.
Australian pop punk duo 3REE have released their brand new single ‘Set This Place On Fire’, featuring guest vocals from Sleeping With Sirens frontman Kellin Quinn.
“We’re living our childhood dream!”, 3REE say about their collaboration with Kellin. “It was amazing to collaborate with such an idol of ours.”
Continuing about how the collaboration came about 3REE drummer Sean Tighe explains, “When we were writing the song, we could hear Kellin’s voice as a perfect fit with Mitch’s. I simply messaged Kellin the song and asked if he’d be interested and how wonderful it would be. Kellin’s response was fantastic, saying “WOW! This song is a banger” and “I can track my vocals by the end of the week”. We had to pinch ourselves.”
About the meaning of the song 3REE vocalist and guitarist Mitch Volcan says, “We built the song around the lyric ‘When the fire burns out we all come alive’; writing with the aim of connecting with the listener with the sense of rawness, energy and togetherness that you face during dark times.”
‘PARIS WILL BE PAID FOR’ – ANORAK PATCH
With debut EP ‘By Cousin Sam’ out at the end of this month, teenagers Anorak Patch have shared new single ‘Paris Will Be Paid For’.
On the new single, guitarist Oscar said, “Paris will be paid for is a song of ours which combines pop hooks and more off kilter music. It’s at a constant tempo however it changes time signatures multiple times throughout the song. It makes it wonky and the more melodic parts can sort of too because of that.”
He adds, “The lyrics, like the music itself, are absurd and silly. Nothing is taken too seriously and is all very tongue in cheek and a joke. We find lyrics don’t often have to be about much, as long as the syllables fit and there’s a nice melody.”
‘TENNIS’ – COURTING
Liverpool four-piece Courting have returned with a new single titled ‘Tennis’.
Speaking about the single, the band says, “Tennis is a paypig’s personal redemption narrative, set in “the city”, and told in two parts. A twisted tale of two lovers’ back and forth, bound by cricket, bodybuilding, and money. A story as old as time.
We named the song Tennis as a logical (but unrelated) sequel to our two previously released sports-related songs. To us, this felt like a natural ending to that idea. Dynamically, the second part of the song is supposed to represent a shift in tone for the character in which they realise their own worth and leave the situation that is set within the first part of the song.”
The legendary Nine Inch Nails this week added 3 additional shows to their UK stopover in June. The band will now play Glasgow, Manchester and London in addition to their already announced dates at The Eden Project.
Maximo Park announce the Sïngular Tour and new single ‘Great Art’
This week saw Maximo Park announce the ‘Sïngular Tour’ featuring only singles that will take place this coming Autumn.
Coinciding with the announcement, the band debuted new single, ‘Great Art’, which you can check out below.
Singer Paul Smith comments on the new single:
“The song is about the insidious nature of Conservative ideology, and a response to people who say, “at least we’ll get some great art out of it!” We’re excited to have new material to play alongside our other singles on the Sïngular tour – we’ve always written songs crammed full of hooks, so that’s our ideal medium in some ways.”
Nothing More also had new music on offer this week with their latest single, ‘Turn It Up Like’. You can listen to the track above, which will feature on their upcoming new album.
Frontman Jonny Hawkins spoke about the inspiration behind the song in a statement, saying, “This song is a reflection of how we all felt for the last two years, online. Fear and hate have become our god.”
Reef debuted their new single, ‘Best of Me’ this week, and you can listen above. The track will feature on their new album, ‘Shoot Me Your Ace’, which is released April 29th.
“We want this album to make people just feel good about living, to appreciate life, to give them inspiration to play guitar or drums or sing or whatever they’ve got going on right now,” comments bassist Jack Bessant. “We’ve made a killer rock’n’roll record. And we want to go out and rock.”
Splendour Festival will return to Wollaton Park in Nottingham this July, and this week the event finalised its line-up with new additions including We Are Scientists, Coach Party, The Skinner Brothers and Deco.
They join the likes of Richard Ashcroft, Supergrass, Razorlight, Ocean Colour Scene, and The Magic Numbers.
First up is ‘This Is For You’ the new single from young rockers Classless Act. The single guest features The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins.
Classless Act’s lead singer Derek Day expressed his excitement over the band’s latest single, saying, “It’s a dream come true for Classless Act to be a part of the Better Noise family. And the boys and I have been working really hard to give you something to shake your ass to. Now, summer’s here and the time is right for a couple of guitars, some bass and drums and a whole buncha me. Let’s get to it!!”
Collaborator Justin Hawkins shared his thoughts about hopping on the track, “One Tuesday night in February I gazed up onto the Swiss night sky. There, to my surprise I witnessed the beaming of The Hawk signal onto a passing cloud. After months of inactivity, I was called into action. My mission? To provide a face melting guitar solo to Classless Act’s ‘This is For You.’ I grasped my Gibson 335, headed into the hawk cave and within 24 hours the solo was born.”
‘JENNY’ – RATS
Next we have ‘Jenny’ the latest single from young indie starlets RATS.
Frontman Joe Maddocks says, “‘Jenny’ is a story about a student who is forced to go to uni by her parents, but she has bigger dreams that soon turn sour.”
‘STARTING OVER’ – THE LAZY EYES
Finally is ‘Starting Over’ from Aussie psych-rock four-piece The Lazy Eyes.
In their own words, the band explain, “This song was written back in our high school days like the other songs are on the album. I remember having an inkling for the verse on acoustic guitar and thinking “meh” so I just left it be. After a while though, the song came back to me after jamming on the piano. I fleshed it out (admittedly with some pretty cringey lyrics back then) and whipped up a GarageBand demo for the boys. After that, we put it on Soundcloud and it was building some traction… soon after we wiped everything in the search for a new start, you could say we were ‘Starting Over’.”
Welcome to another edition of our weekly music News Report, where we roundup the best music news from the past week. We start this week with the latest festival announcements including the above from Reading & Leeds Festivals.
The dual event this week added a load of new acts for August including Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Black Honey, DMA’s, All Time Low, cleopatrick, Tigercub, Kid Kapichi, Witch Fever, The Blinders and Crawlers!
They join the likes of already announced Arctic Monkeys, Bring Me The Horizon, Rage Against The Machine, Wolf Alice, Fontaines D.C., Enter Shikari and Pale Waves.
Firestorm Rock Festival will take place in Manchester this August, and this week saw the event reveal a packed line-up.
Performing over the weekend will be Wayward Sons, Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, Those Damn Crows, Stone Broken, King King, The Treatment, Inglorious, Mason Hill, Florence Black, Bad Touch, Revival Black, The Hot Damn and many more!
The Struts announced this week that they’ll be heading back to the UK for ‘The Homecoming Tour’ this July.
Lead singer Luke Spiller comments, “We are bursting with excitement to be coming back to our home country to see you all once more. It’s been far too long and we are more than ready to make up for lost time. Can’t wait to make some more amazing memories with you all!”
The latest music releases now in our News Report. Rock behemoths Muse this week announced details of their new album, ‘Will Of The People’.
The album will be released on August 26th, and is preceded by new single, ‘Compliance’, which you can check out above.
Speaking of the album the band explain, “Will Of The People was created in Los Angeles and London and is influenced by the increasing uncertainty and instability in the world. A pandemic, new wars in Europe, massive protests & riots, an attempted insurrection, Western democracy wavering, rising authoritarianism, wildfires and natural disasters and the destabilization of the global order all informed Will Of The People. It has been a worrying and scary time for all of us as the Western empire and the natural world, which have cradled us for so long are genuinely threatened. This album is a personal navigation through those fears and preparation for what comes next.”
There was also new music this week from British rock icons Skunk Anansie who debuted new track, ‘Can’t Take You Anywhere’.
Discussing the song Skin explains, “This track is a double-edged sword. We all have that one friend that we love but is a total embarrassment to us, a mate that has no off button and no filter. So if they aren’t losing their phone/keys/coat, they’re saying some stuff that will defo get you cancelled by all your other mates. This song is about how polarised the world is now, and how careful you need to be. It’s about dealing with the new world order of friendship, as never before have I had great long term friends develop completely opposing views to mine. It’s about having to navigate and understand people, keeping the love and respect but also standing firm in your opinions.”