Lymelight Festival - Opening Night

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Bethan Shuff || 29th April

This Bank Holiday weekend, the streets of Newcastle-under-Lyme was the place to be, whatever the weather. Lymelight Festival 2017 kicked off on Friday evening with four of Staffordshire and Chesire’s finest acts.

Opening the main stage for the weekend was Captain Stingray’s Groove Machine. A nine-piece eclectic fusion of cultural influences, sounds and beats, sporting seven different types of percussion alongside bass, guitars, vocals, saxophone and keys. Their sound definitely reflects their ambition, sounding massive in their bouncy upbeat tracks which quite literally rocked the stage; the floors bouncing as they played. Their new track ‘Stand Up’ had everyone dancing in the streets; you can't not be happy whilst listening to Captain Stingray.

Electronic artist Vidorra, who won Best Young Act at the Music Awards of Staffordshire and Cheshire back in February, showed the crowd why he deserved his title, with his energetic set. A blend of new and old pop, hip hop and old skool tracks mixed with his own superbly written tracks, all put together with utmost precision; every second of the set was completed with such accuracy and skill, not a single beat missed, not single drop fluffed - it was seamless. One minor mistake could only be told by the look on Vidorra’s face, but it just added to the set as he laughed and continued like nothing had happened.

‘Good evening people. My name is Zedd. I am the sequence operator for the band you know as 10o'clock chemical.’ Frontman Rhys Oakes put on his Will.I.Am-esque glasses with flashing blue lights and we knew the show had begun. 10o'clock chemical have rapidlly developed a mind blowing technique that drives you into a parallel universe, submerged in reverb and delay, where an army of synths awaits to attack. A stellar show of insane musicians proving that they’re Jacks of all trades, with Rhys jumping between vocals, synth and floor tom, Jack Ellis swapping his guitar for Josh Barker’s bass and vice versa, with Josh even jumping on vocals whilst Rhys battered the floor tom and Patrick killed the kit. Rhys ensured the band wouldn’t be forgotten, jumping around the stage and expending every ounce of energy in his body into his performance. For the final songs he ran backstage and grabbed some incense and passed it around the audience before the band went out with a bang. Rhys then collapsed on the floor backstage in exhaustion - but if you’re going to do it, do it right. Do it like 10oclock chemical.

Headlining the Friday evening was Akahum. To some it may have looked like Capitain Stingray’s Groove Machine had done a quick change and swapped some of their instruments; however Akahum is a very different band. Seven out of nine of Captain Stingray’s Groove Machine's line-up this evening made up Akahum, with one of those being Dave Akahum himself, the mastermind behind the synths bobbing up and down to his beats. Alongside him were five percussionists and another set of keys. Akahum show just how diverse each member is, and how they adapt effortlessly to any instrument as they swap about. The band went from Captain Stingray’s Reggae vibes to electronic tribal Akahum. Despite the cold closing in and making everyone’s hands freezing, the band still banged their drums with smiles on their faces in sheer passion of what they do in their vibrant performances.

Four acts complete, and over 60 acts left to play over Bank Holiday weekend in Newcastle-under-Lyme, so head down for a pint from Lymestone Brewery, some food from the amazing street food stalls, and some class local music from 11am-11pm over the weekend, and until 5:30 on Bank Holiday Monday; there’s no better way to spend your weekend off.