A Bank Holidays not a Bank Holiday without a festival right ? We think so, that’s why we thought it would be a good idea to check out Galtres Festival, albeit that we did arrive a bit late.
(Click on the pictures to see them in gallery view )
Thankfully we weren’t too late catch Morcheeba who delivered a set that took a few down memory lane and included a decent rendition of Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance‘.
Fancying a trip down my own memory lane. I’d bought Martin Stephenson and the Daintees debut album ‘Boat to Bolivia‘ on a whim when it was first released in 1986. Must confess to not paying much attention to him since, but I’d taken his advice and had a trip to Bolivia, so I reckoned should at least pay him a visit…
Galtres, now in it’s 10th year, has a reputation for been one of the more family friendly festivals. It also has a reputation for promoting some of the best new and lesser known (outside of their own circles) acts around. Act’s such as…
Alice and James escorted the Galtres crowd into a slightly darker realm, with a set that displayed their great talent for mixing guitar, Poe inspired lyrics and other worldly soundscape’s. A bit much for some to comprehend, but for me they were one of the acts of the weekend. Dark, somewhat ethereal. If you let yourself, and I did, this bands live set takes you in. It kind of envelopes you,you become absorbed. Paris XY is an experience as much as it is a live gig. I had a chat with Alice after the set and she’s agreed to tell me more about the world of Paris XY. Watch this space for a feature soon.
What can you say? Tricky. In a field, in Yorkshire – BOOM! What more could you want, especially as it had stopped raining. It was trippy it was cool, and by the time they played trip-hop classic ‘Black Steel’ it was harder to stand still than dance. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, and much to everyone’s enjoyment – apart from security – Tricky Kid invited everyone up on stage to party. (– I’ll apologise for the lack of pics from said stage invasion, but it’s difficult to hold the lens still when you’re clambering over and been clambered over by so many people. Good times!)
Galtres has also built up a decent rep for providing a wide variety some of the best beers and ciders Yorkshire had to offer. Not one to take things at face value I of course had to make sure that this reputation was well deserved, and by the time people had stopped using me as a ladder it was time for a final pint and some good old drinking music…
THE HILLBILLY TROUPE
A ramshackle bunch of various musicians from the Hull music scene The Hillbilly Troupe combine many genres, folk, punk, ska, blues – whatever takes their fancy really. They have a mission to make you dance, drink and enjoy yourselves. At Galtres on Saturday night, that mission was and truly accomplished.
The reputation for good beer was well and truly founded and it had started to take effect. Ears ringing, speech slurring, eyesight blurring all in a good way, I was buzzing but it was time for bed.
The sun was shining, hardly a cloud in the sky, there was a craft fair on at the big house. It looked like a peaceful start to a relaxing Sunday …. F##k that! I’d got a slight hangover, I needed intense coffee and strong music. And a bacon sandwich.
BLACK DELTA MOVEMENT
Two out of three essential requirements had been achieved and the third was soon to be exceeded. Hull’s Black Delta Movement have played some pretty good support slots over the past few years, (Drenge, Temples, Moons etc.) I’d heard good things, and for damn good reason. Black Delta Movement play blissfully intoxicating, psyched out blues. Very impressive. Great band and one that will no doubt be getting the full Backseat Mafia:Psych Insight treatment before too long. By the time they’d finished I was suitably tripped out and tuned in for more…
We’d seen the Franceens a few months back and had them at the top of our list of bands to catch at the weekend. Why? ‘Cos they are simply one of the most fun bands around at the moment. No pretentious posing, no bullshit, The Franceens just ‘turn up, plugin and f##king rock!’ True to form, regardless of topic (nuclear bombs, etc.) they deliver their, no more than three minutes, 50’s garage inspired punk songs like a round of bullets from a gatling gun. The crowd are well behind them and The Franceens are having a ball. Enigmatic, or should that be slightly deranged, front man Dan try’s hard to remain within the confines of the stage – but it’s no good. He’s addicted to interacting with the crowd and within minutes he’s off the platform, climbing on the amps and generally worrying the locals, not to mention the security. It’s all over too soon. But it’s definitely over, Dan gives his guitar to a photographer grabs his case and leaves via the front of stage – coolly setting up shop in the middle of the festival field to sell band merch. Top set.
Appearing on stage all togged out in throw away overalls you could have been forgiven for thinking the forensic team had arrived. On closer inspection we found it was York band Bull. It’s an enjoyable and very varied set. Not without mishap – the bass players extremely loose ‘E’ string was a source of some amusement for the band and then right out of the blue they attempted to close the set with a blistering rendition of ‘Ziggy Stardust’. They thought they’d messed it up, I thought it was great, so they played another song and looked like they could have gone for a few more.
One of the good things aboout a well organised festival is the variety of acts you can get to see. With this in mind it was time for a change of scene, so we popped down to the Black Howl tent for some folk music…
I don’t usually go for folk/blues type music, but after watching Gilded Thieves I might have been turned. They’re obviously quite talented musicians that live for the music, and it shows. The vocals are a luxury, both individually and working in harmony. Lovely.
We’d got comfy on a hay bale and Gilded Thieves had convinced us to hang around to see what was next. Up step solo artist Kezia, all the way from Cornwall. You could sum her performance up in one word – beautiful. Pure and simple – beautiful. The entire tent appeared to be holding it’s breath, you could have literally heard a pin drop. She closed her set with a graceful re-working of Joy Divisions ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ , which I must confess left a slight lump in my throat.
I couldn’t take much more. I’d started to use words like lovely and had been seen swaying along to the music. It was time to return back to the Oxman stage…
WE COULD BE ASTRONAUTS
Time to get some good old fashioned rock. We Could Be Astronauts don’t offer anything new genre wise, this is straight up Zeppelin inspired rock. But they do it ever so well. It’s familiar and all the better for it. They might look dapper in their matching shirts and waisties but it’s the boots that are the true inspiration. Lead singer Robert has a damn fine pair of boots on. Cut with a fine Cuban heel, he’s very attached and very proud of them – if I’m not mistaken I think they have inspired at least one of their tunes. Good stuff. A bit like an enjoyable afternoon with your older brother in law.
Quick flip over to the Duke stage gave us chance to witness York’s answer to [early] Arctic Monkeys, Littlemores. To quote singer Conor, who apparently likes to chat as much as sing, but had to keep it down due to time constraints, they were ‘champion!’
Without further ado it was time to rock some more – we’d bumped into The Franceens for a quick chat and on their recommendation we made our way back to the Oxman stage …
I have never had long hair – and at my age there is no chance of me ever having any. Pantheon on the other hand have got hair. Lots and lots of hair, really long proper heavy metal hair. Their metal is very heavy. Leather pants, studs and wrist bands. They rock. Proper old school head banging brought right up to date. York band Pantheon don’t play guitars, they wield them like axes.
I cannot believe I had not heard let alone seen this band prior to this weekend. RSJ are from York. I work in York. They play metal that touches on the fringes of powerviolence . This is music I like and by the end of the set I really liked RSJ, so much so I was tempted to sling the camera and join the guy at the front desperately trying to get a circle pit going. RSJ were another band that found the confines of the stage too much. It’s quite apparent they are used to mixing it up with the crowd – lead singer Dan had two forays beyond the barrier and guitarist Guff could quite easily be accused of almost steeling the weekend when he went AWOL mid set to play in and with the onlookers. RSJ were brutal – I shall track them down and find out more. You should too.
We were having such a good time it would have been churlish to move. Not only that, but people in facepaint had started to appear – not your usual weekend facepaint – this lot looked like followers of Batman’s arch nemesis and curiosity had got the better of me.
A JOKERS RAGE
Complete with a mini display of pyrotechnics and to a very rapturous applause from their supporters, A Jokers Rage appear before us like a gang of slightly demonic clowns. Advertised as ‘rock music with experimental twists and turns’ they are certainly a feast for the eye’s as well as ears. Of all the bands we saw at the weekend, this lot were the only ones that seemed to have arrived with ready made fan club. They’d come to see their band, knew every word and were almost as entertaining to watch as the band. Mid set they were joined on stage by RSJ front man Dan, a great show of support and mutual respect for his fellow Yorkies.
After all the head banging, moshing and pyrotechnics I needed a breather. So rather than leather, hair and makeup we made for ties, polished shoes and a well cut tweed jacket.
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING
As well as attempting to educate the future with messages from the past, PSB amused the festival goers by playing a series of greetings with speech software. Getting the laptop say ‘hello’ to Galtres was no mean feat – Is it pronounced Galtres as in ‘trees’ or Galtres as in ‘trays’ or Galtres as in ‘dress’ ? No one seems to be able to provide a defining answer. Highlight of the set for me was when Alice from Paris XY triggered a drawn out “Maaayyyybeee!” from the computer.
I like a good drummer and believe the best drummers are also the most animated. I’d been tipped off about Virgin Marys and even the festival guide told you about their allegedly wild drummer. I don’t want to take anything away from Ally (vocals) or Matt (bass) as they were both superb, but drummer Danny is surely one of the wonders of world drumming. Absolutely out of this world. He’s stood up, he’s sat down, he’s playing like a possessed soul. I kid you not when I say he is one of the best I’ve seen live – ever! Fully animated, dramatic, sharp – ticks ever box with a big fat permanent marker.
Apparently there was something going off on the main stage – loads of folk had started congregating to see some band from Sheffield. We followed The Sound of the Crowd to see what all the Fascination was about (sorry – I’ll take the rubbish out as I leave)
OMG! The Human League – is it cool to like the Human League ? It was when I was a lad. Many were here to relive their youth and they were not to be disappointed. Mr Oakey, Ms. Sulley and Ms. Catherall took to the stage and went through the lot, including some of the latest material as well as the classics. For that is what they are a classic British new-wave band that did more than enough to pave the way and influence many of today’s acts. Susan and Joanne danced and sang,Phil prowled and sang, the crowd cheered and sang. Great finish to a great weekend.
(The Human League brought their own photographers so we are unsure if we will get done if I post mine up – if we find out we can, we will so please pop back and check. But if we can’t we won’t – Have you seen how big Phil Oakey is?)
We had to pass the Black Howl tent to get back to the car and it would be rude to leave without saying goodbye, especially when we’d enjoyed their company earlier and when a legend was up front – John Otway, still going strong, still laughing at himself and I’m still not quite sure if he is genuinely mad, eccentric or both.
Galtres festival, good music, good beer, good cider, good atmosphere. Good, and a whole lot better than any craft fair has ever been.