The finale of UK festival season as far as H2N is concerned, is always Bingley Music Live. Taking place the weekend after the manic Leeds Festival, BML offers a relaxed but vibrant end to the summer and this year’s festival was without doubt the best we’ve attended so far. With bigger headliners than ever and an undercard with international acts playing alongside Britain’s finest talent, BML 2018 had something to offer for everyone (even if there were no camping chairs allowed!).
FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST – THE NORTH OF ENGLAND DOMINATES HUGE OPENING DAY
Festivals like Bingley almost always struggle to bring in huge crowds on the Friday. With work commitments and travel issues – many people tend to save themselves for the Saturday, especially when the cost of the whole weekend ticket is such good value. The Friday at this year’s BML though, was different and the busiest we have seen it for some time – and there is no reason for this other than a quality first day lineup.
Jordan Allen (HHHH), Bolton’s finest, kicked things off for the adoring crowd. With a new sound more representative of an indie-U2 rather than Courteeners – Jordan kicked things off with his band exactly how a festival should be kicked off, with humility and energy. Synchronised is my song of the summer and it won’t be long before Jordan is playing much higher at festivals like BML. The set reminded me of the first time I saw another Northern band, The Sherlocks (HHHH) play the discovery stage in 2015; huge energy but a cheekiness that will without doubt get them to exactly where the Sherlocks were – on the main stage playing to a huge crowd.
We were lucky enough to interview the Sheffield lads after their set and having followed them for nearly five years now, it was amazing to see such a crowd singing back the lyrics to their top 10 UK album Live for the Moment at a festival where we saw them play to about 30 people only three years previously. This should be a real lesson to all playing BML that dreams do come true as a result of the platform it provides and The Sherlocks are a perfect example of this.
The Night Cafe (HHH) and Gomez (HHH) didn’t quite hit the heights we’d have perhaps expected – maybe due to the lack of exuberance from the crowds but we’ve seen them better and they struggled to stand out. It was all eyes and voices though, on Shed Seven (HHHH) who were a perfect Friday night headliner. Great background for those just wanting a few beers and a chat, but for the fans it was an eclectic, well put together set bringing in the best of their new album whilst banging out the classics. Excellent end to a great first night.
SATURDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER – DISCOVERY STAGE BLOWS MAIN STAGE TO PIECES
The most wonderful part about BML, aside from the family atmosphere, is without doubt the Discovery Stage which year on year produces/”discovers” the next biggest things in music. In recent years, No Hot Ashes, Tom Grennan and so many more have come through this stage and the Saturday this year, for us, saw three bands step up to prove they’re the next main stage performers.
No Hot Ashes (HHH) kicked things off on the main stage though and I honestly cannot believe these lads are still standing with the summer they’ve had. Gig after gig, festival after festival, there is no stopping this band right now, they have so much momentum and deservedly so. Their music is so infectious it’s hard not to love them as soon as you first hear them live and it was no different for those hearing them for the first time this weekend.
After that, it was time to set up camp at stage two to see those three bands previously alluded to. Brand New Friend (HHHH), The Brummies (HHHH) and The Snuts (HHHHH) were some of the stand out acts of the weekend setting the Discovery Stage alight. Brand New Friend sum up their music as “energetic sad songs about love and stuff” and I honestly couldn’t put it better myself. A great set with tonnes of vibrancy but when you listened to the lyrics it was heartfelt and honest – a wonderful combination.
The Brummies changed things completely – all the way from Nashville to Bingley the rockers were a fantastic outfit delivering everything you’d expect from a 60’s US Rock Band mixed with everything you’d expect from a British 90s britpop artist. Huge riffs, catchy choruses and a real fun set all combined to be a real memorable half hour of the weekend.
Every festival review we’ve compiled this summer has seen one artist take the only HHHHH+ rating and the crown at BML 2018 without doubt went to Scottish band The Snuts who provided the best music, the best vocals and the best personality of the entire weekend, all in one set. The band have captured all that it means to be an outgoing, talented rock band at such a young age; with genuine humour throughout and a real honest performance, The Snuts wowed with already released tracks Seasons, Glasgow and Sing for Your Supper and impressed with a host of new tracks. Superb.
SUNDAY – BINGLEY’S OWN SHINE ON FINAL DAY
Festival Sundays always have the potential to be horrible due to the hangover, or memorable because it tops the weekend off in style; with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Bird’s (HHHH) topping the bill, it was always likely to be the latter at this year’s BML.
Coming through the hotly contested Emerging Talent Competition, Bingley’s Kilnsey Green (HHHH), who even had a cocktail named after them at neighbouring bar The Potting Shed, opened things on The Discovery Stage. Their alternative blues sound was infectious and we couldn’t miss the chance to interview them on site (coming soon!). They had a great amount of talent and a cool personality which we’re sure will lead to success down the line.
Later in the day RedFaces (HHH) delivered a polished set, despite sound issues and Sea Girls (HHH) proved exactly why they’re on track to success with their huge song Too Much Fun leading to a great singalong. Two acts though stole the day for us, Marmozets (HHHH) were playing in their back garden, the first time playing the main stage at BML and they owned it to another level. Again, despite some sound issues, they blew the main stage to bits with their heavy sound and although focussing largely on their new album, the crowd were in adoration for their home town heroes who regularly put Bingley on the map across the country. Major System Error was the song of the weekend and we cannot wait to see Marmozets headline this festival one day.
Earlier in the summer, we gave one of our most favourable reviews, possibly ever, when we first saw Rosborough (HHHHH) at Y Not Festival. Once again, the man from Ireland did not disappoint and for me, is genuinely one of the most talented vocalists and lyricists in the United Kingdom right now. Having only released three tracks so far, his set is so accomplished and clean for a new artist; Fall To Earth and Another Lesson would be standout in most bands live sets and was no different at BML 2018. It’s only September, but we will be tipping Rosborough to be the breakout star of 2019, you heard it here first!
And with that, BML was over; ended with a stunning Noel Gallagher set, we kissed goodbye to another amazing weekend. See you next year Bingley, we’re already counting down the days!
Photo Credit: Mark Ellis