Frinds of Mine Festival // Capesthorne Hall // Cheshire

21-22 May 2011

Words By: James Murray
Photography: Oliver Stones

Friday offered a fantastic range of under the radar music over several stages, and despite the low number of attendees and the poor weather conditions Friends of Mine festival unveiled some fantastic new bands and artists.

The Saturday line-up boasted a diverse range bands and artists, new and old, kicking off with Manchester band Patterns. Powered by pulsating drums, Patterns deliver a sound somewhat similar to the likes of Joy Division with a little modernisation – synths and keyboards playing a large part. At the forefront of the band is the lead vocalist – who has a calming and idyllic affect – somewhat similar to the voice of Brian Briggs, lead vocalist of Oxford band Stornoway.

Patterns // Friends of Mine Festival

Patterns are a great band and each of their tracks was performed faultlessly, however, this is likely down to their lack of diversity. Considering the set-up, which consisted of an all-guitar band with a keyboard and various synthesisers, the set could’ve been more exciting. Maybe Patterns should try mixing things up a bit more when they’re next in the studio – it would certainly make for a more impressive live show. Patterns’ new song Blood did sound promising, however – perhaps a step in the right direction?

Patterns // Friends of Mine Festival

The Heartbreaks are a favourite of Sound-Revolution – in our opinion, they’re one of the best bands from Lancashire and a phenomenal live act. Just a few months after covering the lads at The Deaf Institute in Manchester we were ecstatic when we heard that we’d be covering them again at the first ever FOM Festival.

The Heartbreaks // Matthew Whitehouse

As always, the Morecambe four-piece delivered as expected – playing fan favourites including Jealous, Don’t You Know and I Didn’t Think It Would Hurt To Think of You. The Heartbreaks also played some less familiar songs, one of which had a very different style to their usual up-beat indie smiths-esque style. These guys need to release a full-length – everyone at Sound-Revolution is waiting in anticipation.

The Heartbreaks // Deaks

One of the more interesting acts of the weekend was Manchester based Airship. Powered by impressive lead vocals with keys having a large part in each songs’ structure, Airship produce a truly danceable and contagious sound. Making the most of both sides of the music spectrum, Airship combine keys, synths and guitars to create unique, brilliant music.

Airship // Elliott Williams

It was clear that Airship were disappointed by the size of the FOM crowd, but this was a trend that ran throughout the festival. Unfortunately the organisers simply booked too many bands and spread them oacross too many stages – a Leeds & Reading sized site for less than 10,000 people was never going to be ideal, but this took nothing away from the quality of the music.

Airship // Elliot Williams

Emmy The Great took to the main (Satellite) stage late afternoon Saturday – an artist that has received a lot of media coverage since she was booked to play FOM. As a result, her band drew in a large crowd by the festival’s standards. Emmy has an incredible voice and the transition between her recordings and live performances is absolutely seamless.

Emmy The Great // Friends of Mine Festival

It was unfortunate that the Lake Stage was positioned on the same field – and as it was an open stage the heavier band playing at the same time somewhat overshadowed the mellow, acoustic style of Emmy The Great. Despite the less than ideal conditions, Emmy The Great worked their way through a beautiful set including the impressive Exit Night which appears on forthcoming album Virtue (expect a review in the near future).

Emmy The Great // Friends of Mine Festival

Following Emmy The Great Sound-Revolution went over to the Big Top to check out Kong. Without a doubt Kong were the most interesting visual ensemble, walking on-stage wearing somewhat eerie translucent face masks overlying excessive amounts of make-up. You can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable when a band take to the stage dressed in outfits ranging from spandex leggings to nothing but orange boxer shorts.

Kong // Friends of Mine Festival

Asides from their appearance, Kong produced slow heavy rock music with an eccentric twist. There’s no doubt that Kong were the heaviest band on the line-up. As a result, it seemed that Kong perhaps weren’t suited to the majority of fans on-site, however, purely for their bizarre nature the small crowd remained enticed for the full duration of the set.

Kong // Friends of Mine Festival

Dutch Uncles have come out of nowhere with their new critically acclaimed album Cadenza. Their album sounds flawless on record, but to the crowd’s pleasure Dutch Uncles are just as incredible on-stage. The dancing of their lead singer was contagious, the Big Top unable to resist – almost as impressive as the dance moves of Friendly Fires’ lead singer Ed Mac.

Dutch Uncles // Friends of Mine Festival

Sub-headliners Buzzcocks were an absolutely huge booking for a festival in it’s first year – and with The Cribs set to follow Saturday arguably boasted the most impressive top two of the weekend. The Bolton punk-rock band have aged a little since their prime years of the 70s, but their live performance hasn’t been hindered as a result. They’ve certainly still got it.

Pete Shelley // Buzzcocks

Buzzcocks attracted one of the few crowds of the weekend that gave off a genuine festival vibe. The packed audience must’ve included the majority of festival-goers on-site, including a rather entranced Kate Nash – clearly enjoying the fantastic live performance. Buzzcocks played the majority of their hits, including Orgasm Addict and Boredom before finishing their encore with the predictable but crowd-pleasing Ever Fallen In Love.

Buzzcocks // Friends of Mine Festival

Headliners, The Cribs, brought the biggest crowd of the weekend. Lead by Ryan Jarman, The Cribs powered through fan favourites including Men’s Needs and I’m A Realist in true headliner fashion. Headlining a festival is an unusual scenario for the Wakefield lads, but they pulled it off sublimely – playing a variety of tracks from all their albums throughout their full time-slot.

Ryan Jarman // The Cribs

West London Lads IC1s formed in 2010, and over the past year they’ve proved that they’ve got the potential to make it big – touring with Tim Burgess of The Charlatans and getting the backing of Alan McGee. Essentially, IC1s create Britpop – it’s nothing out of the ordinary by any means – very similar to the early days of other Britpop bands, however, they’ve pretty much mastered the sound they create. Finishing with fan favourite Whack Jack IC1s played a fast-paced, no-nonsense set to their small but loyal following of fans in the Lake Bar Stage.

Daniel Coburn // IC1s

Financially, Friends of Mine Festival may not have been the biggest success, but despite the poor weather throughout the weekend, including the torrential wind and rain that struck on Sunday afternoon, musically Friends of Mine Festival was a great success. The hundreds of bands that graced the various stages across the grounds of Capesthorne Hall, as a generalisation, were brilliant.

Friends of Mine Festival demonstrated the upcoming talent that Manchester and beyond has to offer – and proved that it’s an exciting time for new music.