Guilfest ’12.


T’was an eventful weekend to say the least, I spent most of it alone due to stupid people but I saw much great music. I’m not reviewing everyone here, just the best ones.

* means I didn’t see the full set m’kay.

Note; i have left Rock Choir out of this because they play every year and do my head in. this year there were 2 of them playing at the same time on different stages. NO ESCAPE. (I also left off a few disgusting people I didnt mean to see but ended up seeing some of like Cher Lloyd and Stooshe)

Also I missed a band called Paper Boats, they sounded good from the programme and after listening, they are. Think 80s indie/dreampop, like The Smiths & The Cure vibes with the chill of Bombay Bicycle Club from Guildford. GO LISTEN.


Nell Bryden, Redwood*, The Mandrills*, Charley Farley Sunday Four*,The Approval, Polar, Jay James Picton*, The South*(no longer beautiful) ,Subscape, Benga ft Youngman.

The Approval were the first highlight of the weekend, they’re an unsigned pop duo that sold me the tickets despite my awful blagging that i’d listened to them when I hadn’t so I had to go see them, they turned out to be pretty brilliant too.

It was a mix of indie & pop influences mixed up with synths & lush vocals that just created a generally nice sound, they’re essentially very pop, but good pop. I heard Pulp in the synths a lot, which is never a bad thing.

Polar were next. They’re going to be massive. They’re a hardcore punk/rock collective that burst out of Guildford at the end of 2009 and have been going strong ever since.

Guilfest was a hometown gig for them so after the hype and screams of  “we’re gonna make history tonight” the madness began, Hands down one of the best acts i’ve seen live, constant walls of death, mosh pits & lots of guitar fueled noise is all you need to have a good time with Polar. Their album Iron Lungs dropped on 7th May and I suggest you check it out, even if it’s not you kinda music, you might be surprised…

The last highlight of Friday was headliner of the funky end, Benga featuring Youngman to keep the buzz going, prior to this Subscape had built up the tension with their dubstep dominated set so by the time Benga arrived, the crowd were up for it alright.

Benga did his usual lets mash amazing beats together and throw down an incredible drop that will make everyone dance like they have no limb control thing while Youngman gave the whole thing some structural hype with some rapping & general soulsy vocals that fitted perfectly. The whole thing was compared to an “illegal 90s rave” by many I saw the day after and it was one of the best live music experiences I’ve had. Top night.


Kid Capola, Fate Will Follow*, Mocara*, The Goldtones*, The After Affect*,Subsource, Dismantle*, Bastille, TRC*, Tim Minchin*, Feed The Rhino, Olly Murs*, Gary Numan*, Andy C*, Skindred*

Kid Capola were the first act on and have to be mentioned due to being good friends of my cousins, however I would’ve mentioned them anyway because they were awesome. They’re a noisy bunch from Brighton creating hardcore rock/alternative pop punk that live is full of energy & makes for a great live show, they deservedly seem to be gaining a decent sized fanbase recently so you should definetely have a listen.

Their latest single, Wolf & Cub, is featured on Rocked Up’s latest mixtape, check that out too.

In the gap before Subsource I wandered aimlessly alone, trying to find someone and happened to stumble accross 2 standout bands, The Goldtones & MoCara, the latter were friends of friends and were a brilliant punk-reggae outfit sporting the coolest mohicans I’ve seen in awhile and the first were discovered due to me hearing someone singing Read My Mind, my devoted victim heart causing me to run into the tent to discover the brilliantly indie band covering it who also had some pretty catchy songs of their own…

Then of course came Subsource, they’re another Guildford outfit blending pounding dubstep bass, hardcore punk & dance beats to create a whole new unclassified genre of insane noise. So called “the cyberpunk prodigy riot” they graced the stage complete with endless guitars & an electric slap bass that was thrown around manically to create the best kind of live music. Just a taste of their previous work….

Again it had the homecoming, everyone going absolutely mental vibe, much like Polar the day before, so was incredible. AT onepoint Benji from Skindred joined them to add to Stu Henshall’s power vocals sending everyone crazy, banging.

The act i’d been waiting for all day though was Bastille, a project created by vocalist & multi-instrumentalist Dan Smith that has since grown into a full band of mellow indie pop with lush harmonies & a good beat, and they didn’t disappoint.

They played a set full of the singles, newer songs and even some covers (featured on their free mixtape Other People’s Heartache) that all sounded just that bit more incredible live complete with the dancing and all and despite starting with a very small amount, drew in a rather massive crowd by the end of the set. They’re being tipped to be huge by everyone including me at the moment and their album should be out by the end of the year, check ’em out.

In the gap between this and Olly Murs, I saw 2 immense sets in the rock cave from TRC & Feed The Rhino, both just brilliant energy fueled sets of madness, I would’ve happily watched them all day. Olly Murs then, I assume by now you’ve all seen his comedy fall down the steps, but i’m a sucker for a bit of his music so there were other highlights too, the set was all you’d expect, the usual cheeky chappie act to all the hits but he also played some blinding covers of the likes of Madness, Stevie Wonder etc. which was cool.

I then decided that i’d had my fill of pop and headed to the rock cave for Skindred, via of course a few minutes of Gary Numan (still just as good as he was last year). When i got there, things were already in full flow, I was immediately dragged into one of the craziest mosh pits in awhile and that summed up the set really, Benji is an incredible frontman and the encore even featured some Subsource from earlier that day, which was nice.


Uke Jam, Paul Carella*, Habit, The Salts*, Nova Scotia*, Candi Staton, Fearless Vampire Killers*, Alistair Griffin*, Chancers*,Sharks, Bryan Ferry feat. Johnny Marr, Sub Focus (DJ Set)*

Sunday began and after regaining contact with my slightly worse for wear friends, the first thing we did was find somewhere to sit, luckily for us this place happened to be The Acoustic Stage where Uke Jam were kicking off proceedings, if you thought Grouplove were a happy band, they got nothing on this lot. 20-30 people of all ages from about 3 to 70 graced the stage armed with ukelele’s led by a frontman with a guitar who insisted “we are not a cult” and burst into covers of Johnny Cash & the likes aswell as their take on some modern stuff like Jessie J, a huge improvement. I dont think there’s any better way to start a Sunday than to see lots of happy people singing & playing their hearts out.

Then, another band i’d been eagerly awaiting, Habit, having previously blogged about them I was awaiting to see if they lived up to my high expectations…and they did so effortlessly. Despite the tent containing about 10 people, they seemed unphased by it all and crashed into tracks off both EPs filling those lucky enough to see it with the kind of indie joy that TDCC would envy. If ya wanna know more, and you should because they should be massive already, read my blog here. I was given a free EP which i might review at somepoint here but between you and me, it’s flawless.

Following being dragged in and out of various tents to catch weirdly innovative & brilliant pirate folkers The Salts & the acousticly wonderful Paul Carella, I once again lost said friends and decided disco was now a good choice, in the form of a woman I admire greatly of course. Candi Staton in a  word is just fab, She is in her seventies yet you wouldn’t know that , her voice is still perfect, the young happy spirit is still there & she was dancing around effortlessly in some incredibly high heels. That was hands down the best crowd i’d been in all weekend, everyone was sort of rejoicing & dancing along with her and it was brilliant. She did the best renditions of Young Hearts Run Free, You Got The Love and Stand By Your Man before leaving us (after a sadly short set idk what happened there Guilfest organisers) and by the end of it, THE SUN HAD APPEARED! (in case you hadnt got the gist already we were up to our knees in mud all weekend except for that evening)

(this is long but worth it for the music man)

Penultimately, yet another band I was desperate to see, were Sharks a punky rock outfit that released their debut album in March, have supported Tribes and should be absolutely huge already. Their set felt unstoppable, fueled with endless innovative guitar riffs and brilliant lyrics. I also got some rather good pictures of them (they’re not a bad looking bunch are Sharks too which was nice, they shall be up at some point on my flickr but i’m digressing.The point is you should go out and buy No Gods now because fuck whoever else released an album, it is the debut of the year….They also do nice t shirts.

For those who have stayed with me for this whole blog, THE BEST BIT IS NEXT.

Oh and here’s a video of sharks just before that.

After some well earned chips & sit down,  the moment i’d been waiting for for practically my entire life began all thanks to an unlikely man by the name of Bryan Ferry, dont get me wrong i’m a fan of Stick Together, a few more and of course Roxy Music (drummer still with him fyi) but he’s not my favourite…well that was until he brought Johnny Marr with him. The day I read it I was basically crying tears of joy because he’s my hero. Throughout the set, despite being the youngest person in the crowd (honestly there was about a 20 year age gap at least) i wormed my way to being two rows back and didn’t blink or even notice Bryan Ferry for the next hour & a half.

For the first hour of the set he played Avalon and that, but it was all obscure to me and weird album tracks with incredible sax solos & guitar solos that really just caused me to phase out and not really know what was happening, maybe it was just me but it was all a bit odd. Then out of nowhere burst all the hits, both his & Roxy Music’s and suddenly everyone was dancing & going mad. I couldnt help but notice that throughout the set Johnny was stood watching the younger guitarist during every solo and judging him, then grinning everytime he did something right which was rather funny to watch, (the fact he didn’t dare do this to the older guitarist was too) but it did bug me that the only solo he got was in the final song(and his guitar wasnt turned up loud enough so only the first few rows could hear it). I mean, yes you have your own guitarists but come on, JOHNNY MARR MAN.

Other than that the set was pretty damn good. Weird, but musically good, and I definetly appreciate Bryan Ferry more…Oh and the second i got home i just wanted to play guitar and not stop til I could play like Marr. It was the same moment when I first heard The Smiths, just awesome.

and that concludes my monster blog on Guilfest. If ya read i salute you…

(fyi johnny replied to my tweet today. ENDLESS LOVE.)