The night was kicked off by Southern Welsh band The People The Poet, playing a lengthy half-hour opening slot that was very chilled in nature. Although the band is mellow, they definitely kept the energy in the room and on the stage at a high; these performers are definitely very skilled. The combination of the powerful folk-infused vocals of Leon Stanford, supported by the angelic vocals of Greta Issac, really anchored the melodies put forward by the band.
The People The Poet
They genuinely had a very upbeat set, and there were quite a number of fans in the audience that passionately sang and clapped along to the length of their set. Most of the songs performed were from their debut album, The Narrator, that had creative input from their fanbase as the songs were spun from life stories not only of their own, but ones sent in by their fans.
Next up was The Maine from Phoenix, Arizona. Although being unsigned, they have taken on a daunting mission to concentrate on their own creative interests, as seen in latest album Forever Halloween, which was recorded live to tape with minimal editing in order for the album to sound exactly like they did live. This was definitely seen in their set, as they sounded absolutely as they did recorded on that album and therefore did not disappoint with their live sound.
They started the night off with their song ‘Run’ off Forever Halloween. Although not everyone in the crowd seemed to know who they were, they did have a number of dedicated fans in the crowd screaming along to the first few songs. Frontman John O’Callaghan definitely showed off his tremendous vocal abilities throughout the set that left a lot of the crowd in awe. He kept the crowd engaged throughout by picking out random members of the audience and talking to them from the stage. It only took a few songs for the rest of the crowd, who did not know The Maine, to pick up and join the rest in moving along, especially with their performance of ‘My Heroine’ and ‘We All Roll Along’ off Pioneer and Can’t Stop Won’t Stop respectively.
Towards the end of their set, O’Callaghan picked a random member of the audience to ‘conduct’ the crowd in moshing to their closing song ‘Like We Did (Windows Down)’, during which everyone got off their feet. Throughout the set, the energy only built up and did not seem to die down, a truly great band to build the energy for the headliners.
Finally, alternative rockers from Norfolk Deaf Havana took to the stage with their song ‘Lights’, appropriately accompanied by the gigantic display of the band’s name in lights, which flashed throughout the chorus of the song. Everyone in the crowd erupted in a round of applause as the band energetically started off the night. They managed to keep their energy up for the first half of the set and the audience gladly sang along to such tracks as ‘Everybody’s Dancing And I Want To Die’. The band seemed to pick up even more energy for their performance of ‘22’.
Frontman James Veck-Gilodi seems to have no problem belting out the lyrics to their songs with utmost precision throughout their set, making for a splendid performance. The rest of the band were very concentrated on their musicianship, and during the first half did not seem to lack energy. It was, however, quite disappointing to feel that after a while, the band’s set does seem to get slightly repetitive in sound. The energy on stage and within the audience does also seem to fade considerably.
The set did pick up with their performance of ‘Hunstanton Pier’ in which everyone sings along to the line “These aging bones of mine” at the top of their lungs. The crowd also begun to whip out their cameras and phones to record the performance of this song – obviously a fan-favorite.
Despite the dip in energy after the first half of the set, the band ended the night with an outstanding performance of ‘Caro Padre’ that was well received by the crowd and got everyone off their feet and raised the energy within the venue once again.
Photos by Bethan Miller.