Doune the Rabbit Hole, 19-21/8/16

Doune the Rabbit Hole is now been pretty high our list of summer events, the family friendly vibe, typically diverse and entertaining line up and an array of delightful food, plus the influx of dogs make it one of the most delightful festivals of the summer.

Sadly my experience this year is smattered with illness and severely cuts short my festival experience, illness coupled with the rain drenched conditions weren’t the best pairing, but that’s no disrespect to the festival just an unfortunate scenario.

 

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My weekend begins on relatively well footing at the Jabberwocky Stage with Glasgow favourites Babe, after a long and painful, but completely necessary set up, get people moving from the off with glitchy synths that twinkle above the soggy field.

Still it’s rewarding stuff as Gerard Black, kitted out in green trackies and umbro training top, lets his soft yet high-pitched tones drift and sooth, never failing to put a smile on your face.

The band is joined later on by the delightful Rozi Plain who brings an extra touch of charm to set simply oozes it.

Hoping for a bit more glitchy brilliance we head over to the Parabola Stage to catch a bit of HQFU, sadly the stage suffers from a host of sound difficulties and the set’s low volume becomes somewhat lost in rain and chatter.

It’s a shame as Sarah J Stanley’s performance at its peak is an infectious experience, sadly this isn’t quite the ideal setting and the tunes simply meld into the surroundings.

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12-piece Scots-Irish folk super group, Treacherous Orchestra fill up the Jabberwocky Stage as they treat the crowd to an engaging, high-energy musical showcase which encompasses bagpipes, guitars, whistles, fiddles, double bass, banjo and drums alongside many others.

Their cabaret style set-up complete with outfits that could stand up to the likes of My Chemical Romance creates a truly entertaining performance, which encourages not only foot tapping from the crowd, but also some full on ceilidh dancing.

Both Treacherous Orchestra’s style and sound is the perfect fit for the eccentric Doune The Rabbit Hole and just what is needed to get you in the mood to dance the night away.

We’re in high-sprits as we make our way back to the Parabola to catch personal favourites Bossy Love.

At first I’m worried Bossy Love’s huge sound will suffer the fate as HQFU did earlier in by appearing on this smaller wooden stage, however Amandah Wilkinson’s sweet, thick vocals and catchy chants power through showcasing her true talent.

Per usual Wilkinson holds an enormous presence on the stage encouraging the audience to dance their hearts out as she leaps off the stage to join the in the crowd.

Bossy Love possess everything you could possibly want from a RnB/pop duo as both Wilkinson and her partner John Baillie Jnr.’s immense energy, catchy melodies and defining facial expressions create a highly entertaining performance.

By the time Blanck Mass takes to the Baino Stage it’s getting a bit late, but such is Benjamin John Power’s mastery of this drone-y experimental dance sound that it’s something that keeps you dancing to entrancing end.

Every part of the set seems to fall into the right place without ever needing to hint a big drop; it’s expressive, glowing and immersive stuff and the perfect end to an evening before things take a downward turn that sees me spending most of Saturday in the medical tent.

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Leaving Iain behind to get some much-needed rest I head to the arena in time to catch some of Admiral Fallow‘s uplifting set.

The Scottish folk ensemble treats the crowd to tracks both old and new as their soaring guitars, tender harmonies and atmospheric melodies feel perfectly at home.

The highlight of their set comes in the form of personal favourite ‘Guest of the Government’ as even those not familiar to the band can not help but move to its catchy beats.

With a temporary change in lineup Polarnecks are the next on tonight’s list, providing a darker emotive sound than tonight’s previous performances, the trio act as a refreshing change to the festival’s scene.

Combining gloomy melodies, thundering guitars and echoing vocals with a touch of unnerving distortion Polarnecks live show truly showcases their strong musicianship, which, alongside thought-provoking lyrics, create an overall a distinctive sound.

Having only recently arrived back in the country after some months away in Thailand I am excited to see the effects travelling have had on December ’91‘s sound.

Playing solo tonight doesn’t hush frontman Craig Ferrie’s booming vocals as he gives a truly heartfelt and powerful performance.

Ferrie’s onstage presence is as endearing as always, as he continually cracks jokes with his intimate audience.

Even though smaller than most crowds this weekend, its size works in Ferrie’s favour allowing him to deliver a set more than capable of sending shivers down your spine.

By the time I make it to along to Whistleblower Stage for Shopping‘s set the night is beginning to become quite blurry, however the trio still manage to make quite a memorable impact as they bounce around the stage and encourage the crowd to do the same.

Combining lo-fi guitars, angular riffs and yelping vocals Shopping treat their audience to a variety of catchy upbeat tunes from a mix of their albums, which truly showcase both their showmanship and musical skill; a wonderful end to an excellent evening of live music.

Sadly the aforementioned illness means we only make it along to one of Sunday’s performances, however we have saved the best to last as the incredible TeenCanteen serve as the highlight of the weekend.

Covered in glitter and dressed like they’ve just come from a fairy themed-fancy dress party, TeenCanteen’s aesthetics perfectly match their sound as they deliver a set packed full of catchy beats, heartfelt lyrics and elegant harmonies from the band’s three frontwoman.

Their sickly-sweet indie-pop melodies are the perfect soundtrack to this afternoon’s sunshine, and being able to sit on the grass by the Jackerwocky Stage brings back good memories of last year’s better health and weather.

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Words: Iain Dawson / Jess Lavin
Photos: Leif Nicholi Alexander Langvand

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