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News had slowly begun to filter through about the untimely death of soul-singer Amy Winehouse as Kid British warmed up to take to the stage. An evening breeze blew deftly over the audience who were gathered on a grassy embankment as the murmurs began to work their way through the festival. It cast a strange and solemn atmosphere over the whole event, with most people left slack-jawed at the news they had just received. Some, at first, thought it was the beginning of a distasteful joke. But unfortunately, it wasn’t.

After a lengthy delay, the Mancunian Ska group Kid British eventually swaggered onstage looking extremely dapper in buttoned up trench coats, Ray Ban’s and the obligatory Doc Martens. It was evident the group are well in touch with the musical roots of Ska. They paid homage to their predecessors in songs such as ‘Our House Is Dadless’, which had heavily sampled sections from the hit Madness track, ‘Our House’. The group managed to maintain a vintage Ska sound, yet coupled it with more relevant lyrical content featuring social and cultural references towards modern day issues. Songs like ‘Bay-lift Man’ & ‘Piccadilly Gardens’ went down particularly well and provided a much-needed upbeat vibe to the proceedings. The group urged the crowd to “join in as much as you can” on the last track, ‘Lets Have A Party’. As they launched into an extremely ruckus version of the song, everyone had taken the invitation far too literally and surged forward to invade the stage. However, as the crowd did this, there was a complete power failure onstage. Undeterred, the band soldiered on with an impromptu version of the track as the drunken horde crammed onto the stage and took the reigns for the remainder of the track. The invaders then decided to disperse like rats from a sinking ship as the set drew to a chaotic finale. The band had given a great performance despite the unexpected power failure, and the set was filled with everything a fan could want on a Saturday night – mayhem, melodic pop-tracks and skanking.

Prior to the hectic Kid British performance, I had found myself upstairs in a half empty room that was sterile and completely devoid of any atmosphere. But in the corner, cast in the shadow of a tall, metal column sat singer-songwriter ‘ David Liversidge’. He was incredibly striking to look at in a room that was otherwise characterless, and became the immediate focal point for everyone that entered. His thickly penciled on eyeliner, wild blonde locks and skintight clothing left people scratching their heads as to what exactly this wild-haired man huddled over on a stool fashioned from the body of a Fender Stratocaster was doing. A few people seemed to stay out of pure intrigue and in need of satisfying their growing curiosity. I had perched myself high upon the balcony overlooking the stage, the anticipation slowly building in the hope I was about to see an acoustic artist who could grab everyone by the balls and hold the room. Liversidge’s material was somber, melodic and had an extremely rich sound considering it was one man and his guitar. The underlying thickness of the sound came from intricate chord progressions, and also in no small part to his technical work on the array of pedals providing the spacey effects that lay at his feet.

After a couple of self-penned tracks, Liversidge decided to finish his set with a cover of Fleetwood Macs ‘Go Your Own Way’. I admit, I gave a slight wince on hearing that someone was attempting an all time classic equipped only with an acoustic guitar and some delay pedals. The “Peroxide Jesus” (dubbed this by two drunken friends I’d overheard in the car park) bellowed out an extraordinarily good version of the track and made mincemeat of Lindsey Buckinghams difficultly high vocal. The sheer gall to even attempt the track was impressive, and it fully deserved the appreciation it was received with. The only fault of the entire set would be that Liversidge was slightly let down by the engineer who had grossly misjudged the levels, but aside from that minor fault, it was a thoroughly good performance.

The whole day was filled with great performances from a variety of acts, most of who had provided their services completely free of charge, which is a commendable thing to do. We decided to call it a day on what had been a great afternoon at Find Your Feet Festival and, on leaving, I saw a toddler tentatively taking his first steps that had obviously been clad in the Mod/Ska attire by his father. It was quite a poignant moment in light of the day’s news – that as one persons’ love affair with music had abruptly ended, another’s was only just beginning. All the while, the toddler was blissfully unaware of the loss music had just endured, and how the subtle influences in his fathers’ excellent choice of fashion & music will later influence him - the torch being thrust upon this youngster and urged to carry it into another generation.

Review by Daniel Rydings
Photo by Haydn Rydings

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