I what seems a wonderful trend and a great way to bring a little money into their town councils are jumping onto the day festival and showcasing the local talent. Its a great day for fans and bands a like. For a low fee fans get to see great bands they love and discover new bands and help support their local scene. Hartlepool had their first one Jun 15th. Four venues Town hall, contemporary, chilli and cake and The Studio with some fine acts like Mt Misery, James Leonard Hewitson, Mouses, Para Alta, Venus and Paul Smith.
The day started for me at The Town Hall theatre for the opening band Balcony. A perfect opener they were. Couple of songs in and they looked and sounded comfortable.
Elaine Palmer next keeping it basic with just a cello for support. It was all she needed though with a fine selection of songs showing what master of the songwriting craft. An absolute joy to see.
Quick shuffle over to The contemporary. A recently vacated office building gutted and fitted with a fridge and table for a bar and a stage area easily filled by Be Quiet Shout Loud. These guys know how to entertain and the small stage didn’t hinder them, bringing their usual brilliance.
I find the true beauty of these days is the chance to catch a new act that can really grab you. One such for me was Meltwater. A wonderful mix of synth/electronic/guitar one man act building up songs with layers of haunting beauty and intricate melodies.
Hung around for another sparse act in the form of Madeleine Smyth. With an interesting twist Madeline’s main instrument of choice is a violin paired with her soft voice over a soundtrack of keys and percussion.
One of the main men behind today was James Leonard Hewitson who with his band also had a slot today on the town hall stage. He brings a some catchy tunes to the noisy guitar band spectrum and had the crowd in the palm of his hands. It was a joyous gig and I cannot wait for more from this man.
The day went to the next band for me. Despite the singer recovering from laryngitis and a shortened set because of this they still put on a cracker of a show. Polished, professional and passionate.
Max Bianco a familiar name to many and a guarantee of just great songs and a strong performance. They looked comfortable on the bigger town hall stage and a pleasure to watch.
Next up was back to the Chilli cake for Onlooker. An angry and heavy band to change things up, they strangely suited the small intimate Chilli cake venue. They had me hooked and wanting more. A band I shall be checking more of.
Para Alta really had the crowd going with plenty of singing and dancing and a great atmosphere bringing a great atmosphere and joy to the wonderful venue of the Town Hall.
It was well organised festival and a cracking start to what may be a must see festival for the North East.