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28 July 2014

Wickerman Festival Day One!

Another Wickerman Festival is over and goNorth and Solus stages have proved with their line-ups once again that there is an unbelievable amount of talent in Scotland

Friday was probably the hottest day in any festival memory and whilst mildly uncomfortable at times, the music delivered.

Fat Suit were the first band of the day and with a cast of just under a dozen they started our Wickerman off in style. Their eclecticism and unique compositions mean that they have an audience that crosses many divides.  The maturity and skill they displayed was inspiring. With a brass section, violins, guitars, percussion and keyboard they took what they have on record and proved why people have been raving about them. ‘No Regrets’ was everything I hoped it would be.

Next up Halfrican hit next door in the goNorth tent and even though it mimicked a large oven, they still managed to power through an exhilarating set. The notable thing about Halfrican’s live performance is that the tracks don’t require repeated listens to electrify an appreciation, they are relentless and immediate.

Call To Mind took to the stage in their usual understated and humble way. ‘Breathe’ was probably my highlight and they really managed to bring an ethereal element to proceedings. There is a wonderful calmness about their stage presence that is completely contradicted by the emotionally powerful music they deliver. Their set was rounded off with one of the loudest audience cheers of the day.

It is so beneficial to have the two tents running in tandem so you are able to dive from one to the other for each performance. The Moon Kids were one of the surprises of the weekend. Their memorable melodies were complimented with gorgeous chord structures and guitar parts peppered with simplicity, yet so beautiful.

I am mortified to admit that this was my first time seeing Algernon Doll live, and they did not disappoint. The hard work of frontman Ewan Grant has been complimented by the additions of a full band. Essentially, their performance was an abrasive modernisation of what I loved as a teenager. Their confidence was enough to put the crowd in the palm of their hands and the added treat of Ewan handing his guitar to one of the audience to shred at was the bonus cherry.

There were a handful of stand out bands over the weekend and Vladimir was one of them. On record I have not really been captivated, but after their live performance I am now a true fan. My festival companions were equally blown away. Frontman Ross Murray was beguiling, Their cover of ‘Born Slippy’ took things to an advanced level with its reverb-drenched, electrifying delivery – it was paralysing.

Next door Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 had packed the tent out as they took the stage and were clearly one of the buzz bands of the weekend. With a number of audience members dressed in the striking Baywatch colours of their uniform, it was clear that something memorable was about to happen. Audience participation is a must and with disco balls and glitter bike helmets in tow, Colonel Mustard and the gang turned the Solus Tent into the Notting Hill Carnival. A truly uplifting performance and one that really highlighted the eclecticism of the day.

It was my 5th time seeing LAW live on Friday. I still question why she has not been picked up by a major label.  As with previous performances, she showcased the sophistication of her music effortlessly. The fusion of rock, R ‘n’ B, Soul, Hip Hop and more is what makes her stand out from the masses. She showed she is the true definition of an artist.

I won’t even begin to advise how many times I have seen United Fruit live. Since 2009 I have lost count, but they are one of the bands in my Podcart career that give me a huge feeling of elation. Their progression is mind-blowing and Friday evening added to the feeling that they are ready to move to bigger stages. The command over their audience now is the strongest I have witnessed and tracks such as recent big hit ‘How Long’ were being sung back at them word for word. From their performance, their punk roots are still very much apparent, but the pop clarity and punchier dynamics propel each track in a way that make them a killer band for any audience they play to.

Young Fathers finished off the evening confirming they are in a different league. Before they left for tour I didn’t think they had any areas to improve with their live performance and this was proved again on Friday. Playing a headline slot to a packed Solus Tent, the quartet were joined not only by their sister LAW, but also their manager Tim London. When ‘Get Up’ kicked off the audience went wild, a mass pit of dancing ensued and not only was it a song to lose yourself in, but also one to admire the performance of. Young Fathers intensity is confounding, their stationary stares right into the pit of your soul and then their sudden dance jerks and grinds are hypnotising. A worthy headliner and everyone is still talking about it now.

Special thanks must go to Ricky Henderson for our photos over the weekend.

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