Review by Elspeth Mary Moore, Benn Kafanke & Kane Fulton
Kendal Calling, held at Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District, has been hailed as one of the most fun and friendly festivals in the UK for a few years running now — and it’s not hard to see why.
The wholly independent festival consistently puts out an impressively eclectic line-up featuring a decent mix of legendary and emerging acts alike, all wrapped up in a quaint yet rock n’ roll setting that appeals to festival goers of all ages. Here’s an account of some of the bands we were sober enough to remember along with some photgraphy courtesy of SKRBBLR snapper Elspeth Mary Moore.
Band of the festival: Spring Offensive
Unfortunately we forgot our camera in a hungover stupor, which is just as well because we found it impossible to stop dancing to the Oxford five piece’s well-honed brand of intelligent, harmony-led guitar pop on Saturday afternoon. Combining the best bits of Foals, Dog Is Dead and Bloc Party, Spring Offensive ripped through the tightest of sets, putting on a hit parade of songs including ‘Worry Fill My Heart’ and ‘A Stutter And A Start’. They won our ‘best band whose bassist rocked out a checkered shirt’ award too. Here’s one of their videos to make up for our lack of photographic documentation.
Bradford/Halifax-based indie rockers The Mexanines began the proceedings on the main stage on Sunday, lighting the fuse with their melodic track ‘A Love Obscene’. The band had big boots to fill after being called in to replace the time slot’s original occupants, The Lightening Seeds, and they stepped up the challenge in order to win over the crowd.
They were followed by ladrock trio Twisted Wheel who treated the crowd to some new tracks from their forthcoming album.
Possibly the most characteristically northern band to ever grace a stage, The Lancashire Hotpots’ regional brand of humour went down a storm with the local attendees. Starting with ‘Let’s Get Leathered’, crowd participation and alcohol were two main themes throughout the set, with the band proceeding to make a toast before launching into ‘Bitter, Larger, Cider, Ale, Stout’. The comedy (and beer) was in full flow as they played ‘Keys Wallet Phone’, ‘ebay’eck’ and ‘Cinema Smugglers’, which had the crowd shouting “argh!” like pirates in unison. Ending the set with ‘Chav’, their apt tune ‘The Beer Olympics’ and fan favourite ‘Chippy Tea’, the Hotpots delivered a flawless set to the perfect audience.
We Are Scientists‘ melodic rock was greeted with the emergence of the sun, which itself lifted moods and gave way to first-pumping en masse. Starting with ‘Nice Guys’, the band chose select hits from their four albums to date, including ‘Impatience’, ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurts’ and ‘Chick Lit’. Enigmatic frontman Keith Murray was on form as ever, ripping the fun out of ex-Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows for sweltering at the kit in in too many layers of clothing before launching into set closer ‘The Great Escape’.
Perennial festival veterans Feeder came onstage to The Good, The Bad and the Ugly theme tune before delivering a well-honed set balanced with songs new and old. From the lofty power chords of ‘Renegades’ to the solemn, reflective ‘Feeling The Moment’, Feeder reminded the sun drenched crowd that their longevity has been no fluke, and the introduction of ‘Buck Rodgers’ even energised them into flailing their arms to new single ‘Idaho’ too. Their most-loved track, the emotive ‘Just A Day’ was reserved til last and was dedicated to We Are Scientists.
A chorus of moos erupted from a tipsy crowd in the run up to Inspiral Carpets’ set. Like a moth to a flame, revelers began piling toward the stage halfway through the second song ‘This Is How It Feels’. “Perfect, perfect,” said one festival-goer, and for the Carpets, it was — an eclectic mix of young and old, reflecting the appeal of the festival itself — descended upon the main stage to catch one of Madchester’s finest.
As soon as the shadowy figure of James frontman Tim Booth loomed onto the stage, you knew it was going to be a fitting end to a great festival. ‘Born Of Frustration’ was followed by ‘Waterfall’, with its drum beat almost lifted from Blur’s ‘Song 2′. Booth gave a shout out to Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain before launching into sultry track ‘Sound’ from the band’s 1991 effort ‘Seven’. The lighters came out for ‘Out To Get You’ followed by ‘Song’, rounding off an electric set from the legendary Manchester outfit.
All in all, it was a brilliant festival with some great performances. We’ll leave you with some general shots from the festival.