Reviewers : Leah Hamer, Bethan Shuff, Emily Jones. Photographers : Bethan Shuff, Chris Hollingworth, Mark Vyse
Emily Jones opened the main stage on the sunny Saturday morning with her collection of angry rants about boys and bitching sung in such an empowering way that it makes you feel like a strong, independent woman just listening to her. Emily recently wrote a review, describing an artist as hard-not-to-adore, and I can’t help but label Emily with the same phrase. Emily’s lyrics are down-to-earth, not sugar-coated, and completely honest, making her relatable and lovable.
Signal 1’s Star Search winner Callum Mountford followed singing a variety of soulful covers including The Beatles – Blackbird and Maren Morris – My Church, which had a real gospel feel to it, like there should have been a choir stood behind him. Callum’s diverse vocals have the ability to take on almost anything and turn it into his own.
Next up was four-piece rock outfit Don’t Call Me Ishmael, with their set of supercharged originals taken from both their debut album and their brand new second album ‘I’m broken, but I’m fine’. They pulled in a crowd to be proud of, entertaining passersby with songs ‘King and Queen of America’, ‘The Provincial Athlete Throws A Race’ and ‘Sum Of My Parts’, with one young member of the audience promptly bursting into an improvised breakdance mid-set. DCMI were exactly what was needed for the lunch time bustle in the town, kicking the festival up a gear and causing quite the stir.
Emily Kate had a jam packed set of over 10 tracks, covering pop classics like Billie Jean by Michael Jackson and Jolene by Dolly Parton. A few original tracks from her EP ‘Bag of Dreams’, including Bag of Dreams and I Love You, were slotted into the set list and sung with a dainty voice in such a delicate way that it may break if you were to touch it.
At 2pm Jay Johnson took to the stage and his songs created an atmosphere that was felt the entire length of the High Street, by anyone who could hear the powerful vocals in tracks like Under The Sun and Jigsaw Piece. Jigsaw Piece always mesmerises every individual lucky enough to hear it live as they watch Jay construct the track using his Looper before their very eyes, watching it develop from one layer to the next.
Staffordshire & Cheshire's Best Young Act of 2016 Callum Jackson continued a dazzling run of form with a great performance on the main stage, beneath the wonderful sun and in front a receptive crowd. Jackson, who played self penned hits such as Home, also gave the audience a few covers to sing along to, least not Mark Crawford, this years Best Electronic Act, who was in awe of Callum's set, being sure to introduce himself after the set. Perhaps a electronic-pop fusion collaboration glistens on the horizon for local music lovers
The King’s Pistol were next up to the stage, bellowing their twisted folk-rock across the centre of town. Despite the folk origins, there is an edginess to their melodies and a dirtiness to their rhythms which has made them so popular amongst a diverse range of fans. Meaty and hearty- their set satisfied the afternoon crowd, leaving them begging for more.
In a complete contrast to the previous act, electronic maestro, Macious set up his decks and laptop in place of the guitars that had just graced the stage. At four o’clock in the afternoon, in the middle of Newcastle town centre, may not be the most conventional setting for an artist of this nature- but that is the joy of Lymelight. Translucent, popping beats spread across the stage as Macious enchanted his synths with his magical fingers, turning heads with every button pressed. #bestdayever
Stepping up to fill the Macious shaped hole were Divenire, an alternative/indie four piece fronted by former acoustic soloist Dom Morgan. The band really seem to have developed their own original sound, which can be heard in their recent singles ‘Arcade’ and ‘Caravan’. Divenire kept the Lymelight momentum flowing, making those around want to hear more.
One of John MacLeod’s aspirations after his performance on the acoustic stage at last year’s festival, was to bring Attack Of The Vapours to the main stage – with a full band. On Saturday evening, that is exactly what he got to do. With an interchangeable list of members and a popular debut EP under their belts, Attack Of The Vapours are very much an interesting and unique outfit. With John MacLeod fronting the entire thing and a successful, albeit hilarious, performance on the acoustic stage earlier in the day, AOTV main stage set was by all means a success. MacLeod’s confidence was noticeable, as was his enjoyment, as he performed a strong set of originals including newer tracks ‘Sierra Bravo’ and ‘Forty Eight’. In his final number, MacLeod even managed to gain audience participation from the crowd, ensuring that the band left the stage with smiles all round.
Pop-punkers, The Overcast, claimed the stage next, with their striking vocals and charming attitudes. As well as rocking out to their weighty, powerful tracks like Misery Loves Company (and it’s better under lock and key), the guys even had time to sneak in a little-known and vastly underplayed cover…I said maybe…performed in a way utterly unrecognisable to the side-burned Gallagher worshipers of the world.
Two-piece, Indigo, alighted the stage with their inferno of sparking indie bangers. Radiating riffs and silky, smooth vocals came from frontman Elliot Wilcox, whilst Jim Windsor caused a storm on the drums. With a bubbling set-list ranging from the dark and catchy, Devil’s Treasure, to the strong and sturdy, Power of the Sea, Indigo’s maturity and growth throughout the past year, is clearly visible.
With a sinister sincerity, King Kula stepped up and wormed their riffs into the minds of every innocent audience member. With gruff vocals and dark lyrics at hand, Jordan Gifford twists you around his little finger, until you hypnotically sway and swing to their latest single, Strange Love. A dangerously cool performance, from an even more dangerous and cool band. As almighty as always.
Taking the main support was Thieves Asylum, opening with their latest release Reflections, a classic indie tune not too dissimilar to Kasabian’s old stuff. You could see the energy flowing through Joe Tomasso as he sung down the mic the choruses of their anthemic tunes. IKYKIK steals the heart of anyone who hears it and recruits more members to the ever-growing Thieves Fanclub with its punchy chorus and James Perry’s brainwashing bass line. Alex’s grooving guitar riffs and Dan’s raucous drums, combined with Tomasso’s casual vocals and Perry, well, being Perry and playing up to the cameras, make Thieves Asylum difficult not to love.
Wrapping up the Saturday night of Lymelight Festival 2017 were Moscow, a band who are rarely seen out of hibernation. Vocalist and local music figurehead Nic Andrews, was (as he always is) on full frontal frontman form. He’s a real showman with the entire package required to front a rock band, including underrated and, frankly, some of the best cow bell skills I’ve seen in a long time. Performing a set which included tracks from their ‘Pack Animals’ EP, Moscow had everyone’s eyes and ears firmly fixed on them, bringing the second night of the festival to an outstanding close.