Flying Vinyl Festival in its second volume took place on Saturday 8 April, which luckily for both the organisers and fans alike was one of the hottest days we have seen so far this year. Put on by the vinyl subscription service of the same name, Flying Vinyl was already setting up to be bigger and better than last year’s edition from the very moment that festival goers filed in to the bright and airy Oval Space in Bethnal Green, London. Craft beer and incredible food was available for sale throughout the day; a cherry on top of an already brilliant event thanks to its stellar lineup of bands.
As expected, smaller bands kicked things off but succeeded to draw a considerable crowd regardless of how unknown they might be. Palm Honey have toured with the likes of Sundara Karma and have tons of festivals lined up this summer, which is no surprise since they are hotly tipped by BBC Introducing as one of Reading’s best up-and-coming artists. Palm Honey knew exactly how to warm up the eager crowd for the long day ahead, with a particularly strong reaction coming from the crowd for the track ‘Stick The Knife In’.
Singer-songwriter Willie J Healey followed shortly after, who describes his style as ‘rock ’n’ stroll’. It’s fairly apparent from his live performances that he is influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams, his scratchy vocals somehow tying in beautifully with his guitar riffs and the backing band that supports him. He might not be the most accomplished of artists, but Healey’s performance at Flying Vinyl certainly proved he’s a bright spark ready to explode on to the scene. Trudy and the Romance on the other hand are very determinedly the soundtrack to a summer holiday, and are very obvious in the way they pay homage to their dreamy forefathers in bands like The Beatles. Their fast-paced, beachy tunes were perfect as the day reached its hottest point, going hand-in-hand with the pints of cider that most of the crowd were sipping from. ‘He Sings’ stood out in particular, painting the band as a sugar-sweet, modern version of The Beach Boys.
Anteros have only just come off the road from supporting Blaenavon and are very similar to Flying Vinyl veterans Black Honey. Their alternative pop offerings had their audience chomping at the bit, and the hype only seemed to rise as the set soared on and vocalist Lauren Hayden hit notes you might not have thought existed before her range graced your ears. The indie scene has been dominated by men for far too long and people have only just begun to realise, so it’s no surprise that bands with a female presence are doing so well these days. With that in mind, Anteros are most definitely one to watch.
Dream Wife have drummed up an incredible amount of buzz since the end of last year, and again it may be something to do with females dominating the scene. The all-girl band have been taking the country by storm since lead singer Rakel Mjöll performed alongside members of Wolf Alice, Swim Deep and Peace among others at the Bands 4 Refugees charity events in December. They’ve had the support of magazines such as DIY and Clash, so its no surprise that they drew a whopping crowd for their set at Flying Vinyl. Tracks such as ‘Lolita’ and new single ‘Somebody’ went down a treat, leaving fans in an absolute daze as the three women performed so spectacularly.
Traams are just back from an extensive European tour but clearly were still inspired with love for the country where it all began. Their set was a dazzling whirlwind, inciting one hell of a pit in the centre while others danced unfazed at all sides of the room. ‘Silver Lining’ stood out for all the right reasons, while the 8-minute long ‘A House On Fire’ just seemed to drag as it wasn’t the kind of track built for a festival setting when you’re playing midway through.
The sun was beginning to set by the time Hidden Charms came on to the stage, delivering a no-frills set— something that isn’t unexpected from a band that is just so averagely ‘indie’. There’s no denying that with the influx of bands in a genre that was once the underdog, it takes something special to really succeed. Regardless, they put on a good show for what it was worth and managed to instil energy in to the crowd before them that were beginning to look a little restless. Spring King followed, and it was no surprise that they were well-watched since they have cultivated quite the fanbase in the last year or so thanks to support slots for bands like Kaiser Chiefs and Cage The Elephant. They seem to be the definition of a ‘buzz band’ at the moment, and their performance was a very clear indication as to why. For the first time that day, fans were pushing to get even the slightest bit closer to the stage as lead singer Tarek Musa belted out each tune. ‘City’ was a notable performance, since the track was debuted by Zane Lowe at Beats 1— quite an achievement for a relatively small band.
It was The Wytches who were set to close the festival, yet Spring King’s use of confetti did cause some level of confusion. As if to prove they were very much the pièce de résistance however, The Wytches performed with a cool, slick precision that had almost every person in the room moving in some way— even if it was just a slight jiggle to avoid spilling their pint. They may not be the biggest band in their scene but the four-piece have been working diligently since they began in 2011 to prove their worth. Hits such as ‘Gravedweller’ and ‘C-Side’ were unsurprising in their appearance, since a festival set is obviously tailored to commercial consumption rather than a crowd solely made up of their fans alone. The Wytches know every trick, however, and they really did do justice to the headline slot before the evening drew to a close.