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BINGLEY WEEKENDER

BINGLEY WEEKENDER 2023 – WHAT HAPPENED?

Bingley Weekender 4th- 6th August 

It has been a bit of a turbulent time in Bingley Weekender’s fortunes, born from the collapse of the Bradford council run Bingley Music Live, the 1st year was hastily organised and to say it didn’t go smoothly was something of an understatement  and then lockdown kicked in. When it finally ran again it was a much smoother affair but there were underlying issues with the organisers, payments missing and a matter of deep issues within the group so for this year it’s another change and it’s now Tokyo Industries’ live department running the show so let’s see how this latest incarnation goes.

Friday

Just as soon as the gates are open Bingley Weekender announced on the socials that Friday has sold out so good omens for the weekend ahead.

First up is Andrew Cushin to open the festival fully for the weekend, fresh from his tour with Louis Tomlinson across America, tho slightly jetlagged.  Things are really happening for this hardworking lovable lad who we’ve been supporting for quite some time here at RGM. Andrew opens with You Don’t Belong but there aren’t many on site yet despite him coming on stage 15 mins later than advertised, however a few of his fan club have made the effort to get in early and head straight down the front. 

By the time he’s mid set and onto his latest single Found My Home the potty mouth we know and love is out in force and the numbers in the arena is becoming a respectable amount and when he’s finishing on Where’s My Family Gone, a track produced by tonight’s headliner Noel Gallagher there’s plenty there enjoying this lad and his band in action.

DUDE, MY DUDE.

1st time catching these young lads having heard good things about them when they played here last year, shame that the New Music stage is well hidden and the ground around it has been properly chewed up by the heavy machinery needed to get the vendors on site and the beer to the bars as I’m sure that will put some people off, especially as the rain hasn’t affected the main stage area too badly and is pretty much mud free.

They instantly remind me of mid nineties American indie like Better Than Ezra/Weezer etc. and it’s easy listening, quite catchy stuff, a sort of lighter early Sea Power (when they were still British) and  tho it got a bit more rowdy later in the set, it’s all pretty good catchy stuff.

Pale Blue Eyes

Having been on the billing for so many festivals and always clashed with at least 2 bands on at the same time I’ve finally broken my duck and get to see them. Everyone I have spoken to about them has raved about them so it’s great to finally see what the fuss is all about. There’s an 80’s vibe to many songs and I recognise several from 6Music’s playlist.

Special mention to smashing a tambourine next to your head while playing keys, def a novel approach.

Kay Greyson + DJ Streets 

Not my usual listening sort of genre but this chilled mellowed MC from Newcastle got my attention with her vibe and displayed a good repour with the crowd.

Liam Fender.

Not going there with this guy! At least get the actual rock star status before acting like one, see below….

Somebody’s Child

Off to a strong start and continued to not hold back, brilliant throughout. This Dublin based singer is along similar lines to the above’s Liams’ more talented brother Sam but with a slightly harder edge, definitely now on my radar and will be checking him out further after this festival set which was unfortunately cut short by 2 songs because Liam Fender overan due to fucking about setting up previously. The Stage Manager for some reason didn’t tell him to cut his set short but did Somebody’s Child, why?

BTW Thanks Karen for the heads-up on him, probably my next new obsession.

Noel Gallagher.

No Comment! 

Saturday

It’s a slow start this morning not many waiting to get in early doors, no doubt due to the Monsoon weather forecasted the previous day but instead it’s actually barely drizzling. Shame really because a lot of folk are missing a gem opening up on the Discovery stage.

Alex Spy

Great voice,  one of the winners from Bingleys Battle of the Bands competition and rightly so with a sound and vocal not dissimilar to Muse and Matt Bellamy. 

Just one tip fella if you are reading this, for the love of god get the videographer off the stage and certainly not stood directly in front of you going forward, the audience are there to see you not a camera guys arse! 

Little Quirks

An Australian band mostly made up of family members, only the guitarist isn’t related. Great harmonies from the 2 cousin singers, gypsy vibe going on at times, a female version of Crowded House on others. Their set drew a fairly decent crowd by the end of their performance, shame they were tucked away on the small New Music stage and it was only a short set, they deserved a bigger audience and a longer set.

The Clause

Seen these a few times as support, great to see them on the main stage finally, opening up with Times Of Their Lives,  and what times indeed! Absolutely smashed this opportunity and talking to a few people who they were new to, it would seem they gained quite a few more followers.

The less said about bumping into 3 of them again later in the day the better, but lets just say we had an intimate moment between ourselves…    

Trampoline 

Been liking these over the past few months since I came across them and this is the 1st time live and they’re not disappointing from the off, great crowd from the start to see them so guessing I’m not the only one making the effort to get here early to see them and not only that but they were drawing them in from those just entering.

Jack Jones is like a whirlwind on stage and his enthusiasm is lapped up by the crowd even more so that although the band are from Swansea band his grandad is from Bradford so today is sort of a hometown gig of sorts.

Girlband

Couldn’t help but get a She Drew The Gun vibe from this female 3 piece, faster rockier side of indie tho.
They’re Playing Oporto in September  so I’ll be checking them out further then. 

Sleeper.

It’s Sleeper, Louise still looks gorgeous, the songs still sound timeless and great, what’s more to add?  

Dea Matrona.

Well the industry was crying out for for more female fronted bands and this ones delivering quality. Irish band from Belfast who can rock it or strip it back with amazing harmonies that Faust would be proud of, without doubt my pick of the weekends new finds. If you get chance to see them then grab it!

Dirty Blonde

Bit raw but got potential, unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch their full set as I had to head to another stage to catch  

Jealous Nostril

The name alone was enough to peak interest and it was well rewarded, turns out it is Razorlights Johnny Borrell’s new band and what an enjoyable dirty, raw and quite funky experience they are too.  

The Cribs

The large crowds are finally rolling up now as the heavy hitters enter the main stage and Wakefield’s The Cribs fresh from touring the US just like Andrew Cushin who was on the main stage yesterday deliver. No strangers to this festival in its various states the brothers are taking no prisoners tonight,as they go through the heavy hitters in their back catalogue .

Looking at the crowd it would appear they have a whole new generation who have become fans too, clearly The Cribs have been around long enough for their parents to have probably brain washed their children with belters like Be Safe and Men’s Needs (both present today) but either way they have the numbers watching and singing along to them.

Queen Cult

Macc’ers and proud, like a female fronted White Stripes, it’s powerful tho the orange Sainsbury’s sliders are a little off putting…

Razorlight

Didn’t spend much time here as I was flitting between the smaller stages but it would seem from what I caught during this and his Jealous Nostril performance Johnny Borrell’s ego is back firmly in check and he and the band were on good form performing everything that you would expect.

King No-One

Kids are really down with this band, despite or possibly because of Razorlight being on the main stage the front of the Discovery Stage is teeming with teens and for good reason, Zach for all his lack in years is a fantastic frontman who not only reminds me of Tim Booth of James in his connection with the crowd it’s clear to see their crowd have a similar connection to him as the James crowd have with Tim. It is an incredible performance from them and another that should have been on a larger stage.

Ian Brown 

Right let’s explain something here, the majority of Togs and Gig Reviewers do their work for very little or no pay, for the majority it’s a part time hobby we try to fit in between our day jobs – pretty much like the majority of the grassroot bands we love to support here at RGM,  there simply isn’t really the money there at this level.

Often the best perk is we get in for free, possibly the odd free snack or beer and have some form of better access around the gig or site just to help do the job but other than that we’re paying for food, drink and transport exactly the same as everyone else visiting the site, we do it simply for the love of music and the delight of finding new bands, help nurture them and watching them grow.

So….

When a pathetic sad old bastard who doesn’t even turn up with a band starts demanding that the deaf signer leaves, nobody can photograph him from the pit or even get anywhere near the stage as they have insisted that it is locked down in some desperate measure at having some control in order to hang onto their pathetic little ego then in their own words they can “Do one!”

If you want to make it difficult for us to do our jobs and bear in mind we’re told where possible to try and be as constructive as we possibly can, here’s my “review”.

After Razorlight finished on the main stage a considerably large proportion of the crowd headed straight for the exits, not a good sign. When Ian finally decides to rock up on stage to do his Karaoke show his voice is that wank I followed them after just 1/2 a song, obviously not via the backstage access as we weren’t allowed that way through…

Following conversations with those that tried to see him out in the hope things would improve, apparently, he can’t even remember how his own songs go via karaoke either and had to restart them three times due to “technical issues”. Technical issues? You’re singing along to a single computer, you deluded twat!

Fuck You Ian Brown!

Rant Over.

Sunday

Hi Senna.

Well it’s a very upbeat start to day 3, not sure my head’s ready for it yet and I can barely see through the bleary-eyed fog of my brain but a great start to the day on the main stage, not necessarily my cup of tea but Poppy Jo is doing her best to wake up the small crowd already here for the day, not quite sure how they can manage to be that joyful at this time on a Sunday lunchtime.

Berries

One from Frank Turners label, lively indie punk threesome, of the sort of vein you might expect to be under his wing. Sounding like a throwback to garage punk bands of the 90’s they’re something worth catching if you are into that scene.

The Lottery Winners

Having caught them earlier in the day backstage for a quick photoshoot before they prepared for their performance, the foursome were clearly looking as dazed and tired as I was but it didn’t show once they hit the stage. The crowds that had so far failed to appear prior to their set, probably down to the forecasted thunderstorms the day before were now stood behind me – as alway the sun shines on the righteous ones and as soon as they  kick off with Worry, said crowd are bouncing!

What happened in the next half hour is a complete whirlwind blur as Thom worked the crowd and the poor deaf signer who was on stage with them last year is back and is the butt of most his attention yet again this year and it feels that it all ended in seconds.

“Should have been on longer!”

“Should have headlined last night!”

“Why did they only get half hour?”

All words I heard walking through the crowd as they finished, yet again they triumphed in their mission of achieving world domination gig by gig, set by set. 

Tom A Smith

Busy lad these days now he’s grown up and he’s got some strong management behind him now and it shows, by the time I caught the very back end of his set after the Lottery Winners a sizable crowd were already there and they were lapping him up, unsurprising really as Tom and the band are nothing shy of superb.

New Model Army

“Feels like 42 years and we have finally made it back to Bingley” proclaims Justin Sullivan, their lead singer – amazing considering they’re only from Bradford just a few miles down the road. The Goth/punk/folk band may have been through various lineups over the decades but they’re still a force on stage with a large and faithful following. Slightly odd choice to follow up TLW on the main stage but despite this they kept the crowd there as they powered through classics like Green And Grey. 

Freddie and the Scenarios 

Chilled out vibes on the new stage after the angst of NMA. Freddie Cowen of The Vaccines provided a chilled out experience with his new project on today, his birthday. It’s a completely different experience to a Vaccines gig but it’s as good just in a different direction.

Nieve Ella 

Didn’t know what I was going to hear here, was expecting some pop princess aiming herself at the Swifties market but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes that might actually be what she’s after but the sound is decent, far harder and rockier than I expected.

The Everly Pregnant Brothers

Brought a laugh and a smile to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend on the Discovery Stage as they went through their covers such as Stuck In The Lidl With You and the Reggie classic No Oven No Pie. If you’re of an age to remember Mark & Lards Shirehorses or even older, The Grumbleweeds then you’re on the same line as to what’s happening here

James Bay

Zzzzzzzz Thankfully it was only a short stop, I know he’s popular and all that but so is Covid still so moving on…

The Sheratons .

That’s more like it, angry indie guitar a’la early Arctics, The Reytons etc. Annoyingly can’t stick around because I need to get up to the Discovery Stage to check out…

Tribes

Now to be brutally honest I know they’ve been around for quite some time and up to now I’ve never caught them playing anywhere till today. Reminded me of Bingley’s closing band last year, The Pixies. didn’t mind them but I wasn’t totally blown away, nothing against Tribes but my excitement was already building for the final band to see Bingley Weekender out…  

Travis

Probably my least watched fav’s, usually they don’t disappoint live, in fact, the last time they played Bingley they even brought the rain with them almost right on cue at the correct time for you know what. However today the rain has now gone, the air is warm and there’s a spectacular sky full of blues and reds above them as they walk on stage to Ian Brown playing, surely a trolling after his performance the previous night. Now I’m not saying that Travis have completely nailed playing live but my Pixel phone has song detection on 24/7 and the following day it song matched not 1 or 2 songs from them playing them live but 3, something no other band actually achieved all weekend.

What is even more impressive is that this was happening in a crowd that was probably the loudest throughout the entire set all weekend, yes NG might have had a bigger audience but you could hear people eating crisps through most of it until he started singing the Oasis stuff, indeed there was a whole lot of love towards Travis, so much so that people didn’t care that the bars had run out of beer on tap and we were reduced to Bud in cans at £6 a pop.

We just kept on singing along right until the last bounce during Why Does It Always Rain On Me – no rain this time, hell even the puddles had shrunk to almost nothing by this point – much to the annoyance of the few kids in wellies who were still awake.

So Bingley 2023, success or failure?

Well the queues for the bars and food were well documented as a nightmare on the Friday night but that really wasn’t the festival’s fault as most people rocked up between 6 and 7pm and immediately wanted feeding and watering. 

The Headliners? Without a doubt NG’s High Flying Birds drew a massive crowd but it wasn’t the liveliest, Ian Brown without a doubt played to the lowest, the main arena wasn’t even half full before he finally turned up. The real stars were Travis, I didn’t hear one single moan after they walked off the stage.

I would also like to congratulate Bingley Weekender for not just giving us a good male/female mix across the 2 lower stages but for the quality of some of those bands, Little Quirks and Dea Matrona are immediately on my must see again list along with Girlband and Queen Cult for the ladies, Somebody’s Child and King No-one for the boys, grassroots music is a healthy as it’s been in years!

The quality of the mix for the main stage going forward is only getting bigger and better, any one of those bands could be the next Lottery Winners, Andrew Cushin or The Clause breaking from the smaller stages to entertain the masses who won’t venture away from the “safety” of the Arena.

Qualms, 

Take a Risk Bingley, bring bands like The Reytons, The Lottery Winners or The Sherlocks to the fore and let them top the bill. I’m pretty certain they’ll have a better attitude to the people around them than the dinosaurs who think they actually still matter.

Work on your timings, there’s no need to have 3 bands all starting at the same time, it’s crazy to have the smaller stages silent while the main stage is too.

Heard about some over zealous security at the campsite arena entrance that has put a lot of people off returning.

And that’s about all I can say bad about the weekend, not much is it and it tells you that despite the challenge weatherwise to get the site set up very little was wrong.

See you all in Bingers next year again folks!

Photos by Hels Millington

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