By Desh Kapur
I was pretty excited to be covering Skeleton Coast Festival. I had heard it was very cool and… Miles Kane was headlining. Throw in, Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, The Snuts, The Red Rum Club and Dream Wife and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend an evening.
But with that, nothing prepared me for how cool the festival itself was. I have been to lots of gigs, large and small, lots of festivals, large and small, but I have never been to a festival like this. As I drove up to Leasowe Castle, which I’m not sure is really a castle as such, more a massive massive country manor house. I was expecting the stages to be in the grounds as is the norm; not the case with this bespoke festival. It was in the manor house itself. Three stages, one in one of the big rooms on the 2nd floor, a stage downstairs in the auditorium and the main stage in the grand hall with chandeliers overhead rocking and swaying with the music! Amazing indeed.
Arriving just in time to catch Scottish indie rockers, The Snuts, I’ve never seen this band before and I F%&king loved them and I can’t wait to see them again. They put on a show that made you stop, watch and listen. Slick, slow ballads, infectious indie party bangers, blistering indie energy matched to a surging, soaring chorus. Lead singer Jack Cochrane, armed with a bottle of Scottish drink of choice, Buck Fast, a guitar and the just right amount of Scottish gobbyness.
The fact is this band has the songs and potential to be the next big band out of Scotland. If you haven’t heard them, you so will, do yourself a favour get a head of the curve and check them out now.
Next cab off the rank were Cardiff ‘s Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard another band I had seen on Soccer Am (such a great TV show for playing music up and coming bands). So I had a little inclination of what was to come. And again, not that I like repeating myself, but these guys, just like the Snuts, were awesome. Electric, eclectic and eccentric is the only way to describe front man Tom Rees and he put on a hell of a show. A true front man; the bastard child of Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop delivered by David Bowie.
Buzzard x 3 who were playing 70’s inspired indie rock packed out the 2nd stage room and brought the house down - awesome stuff. And my personal fave song, not of just their set but of the whole night was the brilliantly titled “John Lennon Is My Jesus Christ”
So what a start! Skeleton Coast could not possibly keep up this level of brilliance, could it???
Oh yes it could…Next on the main stage were Dream Wife. They are made up of the Icelandic Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals), and Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals). They all met and formed the band for an art project whilst they were at art college in Brighton. Named after a 1953 romantic comedy, they create a very cool mix of garage rock, punk, and pop, stating their influences as the likes of David Bowie, Peaches, Talking Heads and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
They were exciting, full of energy and delivered their songs with joyful careless abandon. Lead singer Rakel Mjöll’s constant movement across the stage, connecting with the crowd in her very unique way, her vocals go from singing to snarling in the blink of an eye, and the crowd were loving it. Moshing bodies down the front, constant cheering and shouting were a testament to that. Dream Wife’s songs have a feminist message. Their posters and media carry support of anti-harassment movement ‘Girls Against’, and I respect the band for having the courage to back up their beliefs in their live show. Taking what could have been a normal indie punk/rock show and turning it into a positive feminist music party; they have the songs, they have the energy and they have a message we should all listen to.
As I wandered into the next room and the next stage, the beautiful The Sundowners were swaying the crowd with their beautiful wistfully romantic folk pop, very nice indeed.
On the main stage it was time for high energy, full octane live show that is The Red Rum Club and they went off, the crowd went off, and yet again I was blown away by a band I had never seen before…what a day!! Their own brand of Spaghetti Western, 90’s Indie, 80’s synth and Ska produces a hybrid that is uniquely their own and their live show is something to behold, I can’t wait to see these guys again.
Then it was time for the main man, the ex Rascal and Shadow Puppet, Liverpool’s own Miles Kane, by this time the main room was packed, literally to the chandeliers, people shouting and chanting for the man they had come to see and he didn’t disappoint, launching to a storming set of Mod tinged Indie blues/rock, delivered in the coolest way possible.
This man just oozes Mod cool; I hope he owns a Lambretta! Kane stomped through songs spanning across his three solo albums, including latest release ‘Coup De Grace’. If Miles Kane had come to show everyone that he can write great songs - mission accomplished. If he came to show that he can serve of up a set that makes the wall sweat and hold the crowd in his hand - mission accomplished.
So the night comes to an end and I’m left with one thought, I really want to do this again next year, bloody good stuff!!!