Aug 30th (Friday): As we made our way through the Park entrance and collect our passes we sense a buzz in the air and hear the sounds of the acts in the distance. Lots of smiles were seen on a mixture of young and mature faces, some obviously enjoying their first experience of a festival. I spotted a few efforts at fancy dress, face paints and random attire. The festival vibe was very much alive. Frank and the Heartstrings, the indie-rock band from Sunderland are just winding up their set as we head over to the main stage. Festival goers already prepared with camp chairs ready for the days action, and the younger crowd eagerly waiting at the front of the barrier. Eighteen year old Nina Nesbitt, is the first artist we encounter, a very pretty singer/songwriter from Scotland. Stylishly dressed with her circular sunglasses she came on with her guitar and sang ‘The Apple Tree’, a soft song of love with a very catchy chorus line. Her music created a feelgood atmosphere and had the audience tapping their toes. Nina shares ‘Way in the World’ written about her time working in retail. The lyrics speak of knowing that there was something more for her. ‘Do you ever, do you ever, do you ever wonder where your dreams go?’ Nina sure is one to watch and is also known for her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Don’t Stop’ used on the John Lewis advertisement.
The Katmen were stuck on the M1 in traffic so The Dirty Rivers jumped into their time slot. Rather elated the rock band from Liverpool stood up to the task at hand, playing their latest EP ‘The Kid’ which went down well with the crowd. Clad in sporty clothing and embracing the scruffy chic look, with an air of Oasis on a contemporary twist. Making my way over to the Acorn Midi Stage I walked past a young man giving out ‘Free Hugs’ and a rather large smile. I managed to catch some of Dave McPherson’s set. Playing his acoustic guitar his songs are modern folk with tones of rock from his vocals. Dave was previously frontman with the rock band InMe but has now turned solo.
Eventually the rockabilly band Katmen, arrive on stage. Fronted by Imelda May’s husband and guitarist Darrel Higham, alongside former Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom. Playing ‘Over Under Sideways Down’ there is a riff from ‘Barnacle Bill’, better known as the theme tune for Blue Peter. Some of the audience were jiving around and the younger element in the crowd were also enjoying the rock n’ roll sounds. Slim Jim looked rather cool as he stands to play the drums, however the set had to be cut short due to being late. Mel caught up with them back stage for a photo call and lil’ chat, Read the interview we previous had with Katmen here:
The Neville Staple Band were up next. Neville, formerly with The Specials, and Fun Boy Three, began to whip the crowd up straight away with his ska classics ‘ska ska ska’, he has a cheeky air about him and was a pleasure to watch. Then came the Specials song ‘A Message to you Rudy’ and the crowd piled in. Neville states ‘you guys are better than I thought you would be’, surprised by a fully engaged audience with the older ones showing the younger end how its done. Even those seated on the embankment were joining in for the legend before them. Neville finished the set with the Specials classic ‘Ghost Town’, which had the audience singing along in unison. And finally closing the first night was the chart topping 80’s electro band The Human League, complete with their futuristic visuals and sounds. All the hits poured out including ‘Mirror Man’, Fascination and Don’t You Want Me and the music played on despite the light rain.
Aug 31st (Saturday): With an earlier start to the day we made our way over to see The Temperance Movement on the main stage, a blues rock band formed by the very energetic Glaswegian front man Phil Campbell, with husky vocal tones, he was quite enchanting, always dancing and appearing to have a brilliant time. The band also consists of the former member of various bands with the most known being the bass player of Jamiroquai, Nick Fyffe. ‘Pride’ a song about friendship is their most recent EP and the audience loved it, they were definite crowd pleasers. All five members looking rather swarve, and they very much got my attention too. Their upcoming album ‘The Temperence Movement’ is released 16th September and is on my shopping list.
The Loveable Rouges hailing from London Town then took over the main stage. Their appearance on Britain’s Got Talent last year helped to build up their fan base, therefore some of the audience were very happy to see them on stage singing along to ‘Love Sick’ which they performed on BGT. They also performed a cover of Aloe Blac and Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’. The lads throw out some great harmonies and vocals in their performance with just two guitars backing them up. One shouted ‘Are you having fun?’ the crowd cheers, and they most certainly looked like they were having fun too. Whilst over to the Acorn Midi Stage I caught the last of the By Toutatis set, looking very dapper in suit pants and pencil ties describing themselves on their fan page as; ‘possibly Saltburn's first Baroque 'n' roll quartet’. They sang a song about divorce and stated they have an album out on Monday ‘The Songs We Sang To Death’. They were somewhat more melancholy than the previous act but incredibly talented musicians nonetheless. As they move from organ, guitar, violin, a blend of sounds is created and breaks the set up nicely.
Back on the Main Stage the fabulous band The Virginmarys were firing up some serious rock attitude. Head-banging and guitar thrashing the lads from Macclesfield were giving the younger kids at the front a lesson in rock n’ roll. ‘Just a Ride’ from their debut album is a very energetic, catchy song and got some well deserved cheers. Prior to the set Mel managed to catch drummer Danny Dolan backstage for a quick photo. Check out a previous Mudkiss interview with the singer Ally here:
Next up on the Midi Stage were Blackbeard’s Tea Party playing their ‘funky folk rock’ songs. On a mixture of squeezeboxes, guitars, fiddles and bass the 6 piece had the more relaxed audience at stage two up dancing and jigging about. Children and adults alike were joining in to ‘The Valiant Turpin’ that has a rather sea shanty feel with a modern electronic guitar twist. Although I was disappointed as there was not an eye patch in sight I did see a bumble bee, a banana and Fred Flintstone tapping their feet in the crowd. The set created a great vibe in this area which is beautifully enclosed by large trees, the second stage had a much more intimate feel than the huge 7ft Main Stage. Summer Camp were next to take the main stage dressed in rather funky suits. The male and female duo of Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey have a retro electronic pop sound, which matches the band name well as the songs have a great ‘summer’ feel about them. Their second album is due to be released Sept 9th. Natasha Haws is currently playing on the 2nd stage, her last song ‘Stranger’ has a Bjork feel about it. Natasha is tipped as an up and coming artist and is definitely one to watch. Following on were The Lake Poets, ‘A man called Martin and his mates’. Martin came out first and sang a song called ‘Window Sill’ and then invited ‘his mates’ out to play with him. Unfortunately I had to cut my viewing short to ensure I caught the legend who was about to appear on the main stage.
Wilko Johnson, formally of Dr. Feelgood, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and so he took off on a final farewell tour. Billed as Wilko’s last gig ever, he gave a brilliant performance, singing and playing his guitar in his trademark way. Singing ‘Roxette’ and other classics from his back catalogue he gave it his all. The air was full of emotion during his set, with some artists watching from the side-stage. Good on him and lots of love sent his way from all at Mudkiss.
Now in a dash back to the 2nd Stage for hotly tipped The Struts giving what was one of our favourite performances of the day. Front man Luke Spiller has a Noel Fielding/ Freddy Mercury mix about him, a breath of fresh air to watch, and a real showman. Dressed in stylish red jacket, with glitter eyes, he adds some glamour back to rock. Totally encapsulating the audience he literally ‘struts’ with his subtle moves and asks the crowd … “are you ready for one in a million?”. Quite a bold statement …but they had the evidence to back it up. Playing ‘Kiss This’ got the crowd fired up even more and singing along. Then Luke informs us the next track ‘She makes me feel alive’ will be the anthem for next year in a joking tone. With its very catchy chorus line and upbeat feel I can see the possibilities. Watch this space! Finishing off with a high kick the crowd let our massive cheers and its safe to say The Struts rocked the Midi Acorn Stage into a frenzy.
The reformed Fratellis over at the Main Stage walked on to a raft of cheers and screams. An eager audience waiting for the infamous ‘Chelsea Dager’ to be played no doubt and when they heard it many sang along. With ‘Nae Danger’ sprayed over the amps there is no denying their Glaswegian roots. A new album is due for release Oct 7th ‘We Need Medicine’ followed by the obligatory tour dates. Headlining the Midi Acorn stage was Chris Helme, former frontman of The Seahorses with the Stone Roses John Squires. Playing his acoustic guitar he sang a Seahorses classic ‘Blinded by the Sun’. Singing with passion his soft vocal sounds are something you could never tire of. Chris also has an album out with his own material ‘The Rookery’, interviewed by Mudkiss previously here:. Sadly I couldn’t stay around as it was time to watch the headliners on the main stage, Primal Scream. Walking on in a rather eye catching, sparkling silver shirt Bobby Gillespe, who hasn’t aged much, sang ‘2013’ from their new album ‘More Light’. The Bingley crowd of 15,000 strong was now pilling in, then ‘Moving on up’ came on everyone sang along to the well-known classic. A fitting headliner for a line up filled with various known rock artists. Primal Scream closed what had been a great day of music at Bingley Music Live. Playing most of their greatest hits Bobby dedicated ‘Shoot Speed, Kill Light’ to Wilko Johnson.
Sept 1st (Sunday): Sadly its the last day of Bingley Music Live, just as we’d become familiar with the site, the staff and made some new friends along the way. Sad to know this was the last run, although I think I’ve had my fill of young bottoms in denim shorts for 2013. Sunday is ‘Pirate Day’ at Bingley and there were plenty of the scallywags to be seen. Starting off with China Rats there was no room for snoozing as they kicked off with an energetic bang. ‘At Least Those Kids (Are Getting Fed)’ woke the more subdued audience up a little. Also playing a Bingley exclusive of ‘Take The Bar’, an upbeat rock number. Those Bradford boys Born Thief were down at the Midi Acorn Stage. Managing to catch the end of their set with a track called ‘In My Head’. The lyric ‘summers gone away’, repeating with the soft tones of lead singer Jake McGrath. The sound of Born Thief were more fitting for the time of day, creating a unique blend of grooves, flows and haunting melodies.
Next up was Dolomite Minor, a duo consisting of a drummer and lead guitar/ vocals. Slightly channeling Kurt Cobain front man Joe Grimshaw played his beautiful cream guitar that let out an almighty rock sound, also managing to manoeuvre some initial technical problems. The song ‘Rambler’ from a recent EP was cut short during the guitar solo, which drummer Max Palmier managed to cover up well. I look forward to seeing more from these two as I really enjoyed the set.
Holy Moly & the Crackers took the stage in style. A four piece band tackling a variety of instruments - accordion, violin and guitar, that had the audience jigging around to their folksy sound. Singing ‘Bluebell Wood’ from their debut album of the same name, there were smiles all ‘around, around, around, around, ahh round’. Another race to the main stage for The Wonder Stuff, who were playing some of their classics, plus new material. Mark McCarthy looked suitability cool and Miles Hunt provided a high spirited performance, but all eyes were on the sultry Erica Nockalls on violin, dressed in a beautiful red ensemble, with matching top hat and vintage style dress.
Katy B came on next, probably more well known with the younger crowd than the previous act. With her DJ supporting they came up all the way from London. ‘Arms up Bingley’ Katy shouts, and with hands in the air she sings her hits ‘On a Mission’ and ‘Easy Please Me’, featuring deep bass lines and electronic beats. Bradford band Man Can’t Fly are now playing their last song over at the Midi Acorn stage. They are an alternative/ acoustic rock band, but with an additional string section for this set. ‘Thank you Bingley! I’ve always wanted to say those words!’ says one of the singers and receives lots of cheers from fans in the audience. The band have been tipped by BBC introducing as ones to watch.
Back stage we got chatting to members from Issimo whose set earlier we had sadly missed. They were really lovely and they told me they are an eclectic band playing a mixture of ska, reggae, funk and swing. Catch them playing the Salford Music Festival at the end of the month and I’ll certainly be going along to see them.
Next on were Crybabycry, formerly Rose and the Howling North, a trio fronted by Rose and Johnny, with Nici on drums. With Rose’s soulful vocals the blend of rock rhythms and Johnny’s males vocals make an original sounding formula. Another great set at Bingley.
The Cribs were the penultimate act to take the Main Stage. Another northern band to make the line up at Bingley over the weekend, they really have supported the North of the UK. No longer with Johnny Marr the band walk on stage raring to go, as one of the band members threw his drink out into the crowd ‘come on Bingley!’ With some aggressive moves even kicking over the mic stand The Cribs were pumping out the rock and roll vibe with ‘Chi Town’ and ‘Come On Be A No One’.
Back over to the 2nd stage to catch another Northerner JJ Rosa - tipped as one to watch by many over the weekend (but we knew that anyway). With her iconic red hair JJ took the stage with the rest of the band. Starting off with an audio sample of someone changing over radio channels a funk beat then starting from the bass and JJ showed us what she’s made of. Describing their sound as a blend of sumptuous soul, psychedelic funk and pop orientated hip-hop, JJ definitely stands out from the crowd. It’s refreshing to see a female artist with her own style, a great voice and who can rock out on an electric guitar better than any other. She told the audience the reason she learnt guitar was because of her icon Jimmi Hendrix . JJ Rosa then sang a cover of ‘Last Night a DJ Saved My Life’, a well known song that has been remixed by many a house DJ, however JJ’s cover was a modern twist on the original and I loved it. JJ Rosa has an album coming out this autumn, another one to my shopping list. This girl has got serious talent! Check out an interview with Mudkiss here:
Whilst Chic were headlining the main stage, the Singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan was over at the 2nd stage and awaiting her was her dedicated fan base. Lucy was propelled into the public domain from her appearance on last year’s X Factor, but didn’t finish the show due to illness. However her independently released album was already making waves, ‘Join The Club’ is due out in October. Lucy has also been gathering a large fan base within the gay community.
Finally its time Chic and Nile Rogers to close the festival, having been tipped as the highlight of this year’s festival season, it’s very fitting that they close what has been a great weekend of prestigious and lesser-known music alike. Nile gained press this year for featuring on Daft Punks summer anthem ‘Get Lucky’ which has given him a younger fan base. As the band walk on all dressed in white the crowd went crazy. Nile strode on stage taking photos on his DSLR and with beaming smiles all round they start into the medley of classic hits that Nile has written, produced and collaborated on. ‘We Are Family’ by Sister Sledge, ‘I’m Coming Out’ Diana Ross, ‘Like a Virgin’ Madonna, ‘Notorious’ Duran Duran, are just a few examples. To my left a crowd of a few hundred people at the side of the crowd were two stepping in unison to ‘Forbidden Lover’ by Chic. The drummer asked if he could play his all time favourite song, ‘your about to lose your mind’ he says and then you hear the intro of ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowe. It’s amazing to see just how many songs Nile has been a part of over the years, he really is a legendary artist. In 2010 Nile was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and is pretty open about the experience; however you wouldn’t know any difference as he gives his all on stage. At the end he says “we’re going to have a big old fashioned song” and played what he claims is his personal favourite Chic song ‘Good Times’. He invited on to the stage, all the crew, staff, backstage crew, and children who had come down for the weekend via The Teenage Cancer Trust. The whole crowd started dancing and it was a real high to end the festival on. With a raft of cheers and applause people didn’t want it to end. I couldn’t think of a better way to end what has been a brilliant weekend at Bingley. We leave as the record ‘Get Lucky’ is played, and echoing around the park. Nile is still walking up and down the stage waving to fans.
So thanks to all the lovely Bingley staff that worked very hard at the event and thank you for letting us be a part of the magic. I look forward to watching Bingley grow from strength to strength, and some brilliant acts have now got a new fan member.
Cheers Bingley! See you next year.
You can get early bird tickets for 2013 here: http://www.bingleymusiclive.com/tickets.php
Review by Laura Everett
Photos by Melanie Smith – Full set on Flickr here: www.mudkissphotography.co.uk