Now in it’s fifth year, Handmade has boasted acts such as Deaf Havana, Slaves and We Are Scientists on their stages and has provided the opportunity for cult-level bands to headline festivals, as well as paving the way for local acts to grace bigger stages. All for the small fee of £40 for the weekend – and personally, I’d pay that for Frightened Rabbit alone.
For a two piece, Honeyblood have a sound which bounces off of the walls of Leicester’s O2 Academy main room and permeates the crowd of hundreds in attendance. A mix between the ferocity of Sleater-Kinney and the aggression of Japandroids, the duo’s latest album Babes Never Die has helped pushed the band to becoming this year’s festival season highlight. Tonight is no exception as the band blast through a balanced set of their two records, culminating with ‘Killer Bangs’ where they host a dance competition midway through the song.
Kent’s Get Inuit take the penultimate slot on the Big Scary Monsters/Alcopop stage and perhaps are the highlight of the weekend. Opening up with ‘Mean Heart’, the band wear their perfect blend of bratty punk with the indie-pop sensibilities of Vampire Weekend and The Strokes. Frontman Jamie Glass’ voice is so distinct and adds a unique flavour to their sound, this is apparent on highlight of the set ‘Barbiturates’ which starts off as a delicate pop song before a thunderous crash of screaming and distortion plummet towards the end.
As Frightened Rabbit start to wind down the touring cycle of the Painting of a Panic Attack tour, it’s apparent that the band have figured out what works for these kinds of crowds. This is clear from the get-go as the band take to the stage with ‘Get Out’, the first chorus of which gathers a rousing singalong throughout the packed room and sets the tone for tonight’s headline slot.
Mostly showcasing material from their most recent record, it’s the tracks from Midnight Organ Fight that, unsurprisingly, receive the biggest reactions of the night. ‘Old, Old Fashioned’, for example, drums up a barn stomping singalong whilst ‘Head Rolls Off’ sees some eager fans singing the lyrics at the original tempo before finding out the band have slowed down the introduction.
Although it does feel as if the band need to refine their setlist more for the festival crowd, the omission of cult favourites such as ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ and ‘Good Arms vs Bad Arms’ in exchange for deep cuts from the latest record aren’t perhaps the best choice and the audience often switches off at occasion. That being said, the band leave the crowd wanting more and this is apparent with the final moments of ‘The Loneliness and The Scream’ where the crowd continues to chant the final melody of the song, screaming for the band to come back on for one more.