With Europe’s biggest free-ticketed music event taking place in Exeter this weekend, James Beeson tells you which artists you need to be seeing on the Saturday of the festival.
You’ve been lucky enough to nab yourself tickets to one of the South-West’s most coveted music events of the summer, Radio One’s Big Weekend. You successfully manage to navigate your way to Powderham castle, avoiding being trampled by gaggles of screaming teenage girls and/or physically violated by stern-looking security guards. Now what? With three different stages and a plethora of different artists on offer, you simply haven’t got a clue where to begin.
Fear not, however, for help is at hand. Here at Exeposé Music we’ve done the hard work for you and have come up with the definitive list of the five artists you simply can’t afford to miss on the Saturday of the festival. So sit back, enjoy the music, and don’t forget to check back tomorrow for our recommendations for Sunday’s line up.
1. Barns Courtney
Fresh from a tour supporting Ed Sheeran and an endorsement from none other than The Libertines, Barns Courtney is a folk-come-blues inspired singer-songwriter with exceptionally sexy baritone vocals and catchy vintage guitar riffs. Growing up in Seattle before moving to Ipswich, Barns has more than a wiff of George Ezra about him, except with heaps more attitude. Often seen sporting black leather and messy tousled hair, he’s every bit your archetypal rock-star, and he’s almost certainly got the talent to back it up. You can catch him early on in the day at the BBC Introducing stage.
2. Spring King
Buoyed by their recent TV appearance on Later with Jools Holland, Spring King are also hitting up the BBC Introducing stage at this year’s Big Weekend. The four-piece pop punk act first caught my eye back in Autumn of last year, when I played their track ‘City’ on my Alternative afternoons radio show on XpressionFM. I’m not the only one who’s taken a liking to the Manchester based band, either, with Zane Lowe making the very same track the first song he played on his Beats 1 show. Infectiously exuberant and chaotic, the band are a high-octane, no frills garage-punk act with plenty of attitude and more than a few tunes to back up the mounting hype surrounding them. Think early Futureheads crossed with Swim Deep, with a bit of The Stone Roses thrown in for good measure. Believe me when I say you don’t want to miss these guys.
3. Tame Impala
Critically acclaimed, Grammy award winning and seemingly ever growing in stature, Tame Impala have to be one of the most exciting international artists on the current UK touring scene. Their latest album, Currents, was written, recorded, performed, and produced entirely by lead vocalist, guitarist and founder Kevin Parker, and was, in my opinion, one of the standout albums of 2015. A mixture of hazy psychedelic rock and trance-inspired electronic-disco pop, Tame Impala are one of those acts that it is impossible to shoehorn into any one singular genre, and that is exactly what makes them so mind-bogglingly brilliant. You can catch them ripping it up on the In New Music We Trust stage.
Scottish synth-pop three-piece CHVRCHES (pronounced ‘churches’) have soared to fame after two highly successful and well-received albums, and with good reason. The band, led by the ethereal vocals of Lauren Mayberry, sold nearly a million copies of their debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe, which charmed audiences with its indie-electronica trappings and bold, anthem-like melodies. Their 2015 follow-up, Every Open Eye, was equally successful and has earned the band a slot high up on the In New Music We Trust stage at this year’s Big Weekend. Musically, CHVRCHES are somewhere between Depeche Mode and Ellie Goulding, and are a breath of fresh air in a male-dominated and occasionally misogynistic music industry.
5. Chase and Status
Whilst lyrically, Chase and Status may not be the most talented of artists, there are few others who are better at getting a crowd going than Saul Milton (Chase) and Will Kennard (Status). The Londoners have been the soundtrack to many a disco, rave and houseparty since forming in 2003 and can list Plan B, Rihanna, Example and Tinie Tempah as just some of the A list artists that the duo have collaborated with in the past. Chase and Status have accrued almost legendary status with music that has influenced and been influenced by genres from house to techno and even hip-hop in a highly successful career spanning more than a decade. Expect big tunes, a light show extravaganza and lots of sweaty bodies when they take to the Main Stage on Saturday evening.