Kicking off a day sure to be filled with riotous revelry for Freakender day two are local act Kaputt, playing their first ever show, and at six bands in to the weekend we’re seeing a little sax revival as 50% of the acts on offer have contained saxophone thus far, not that we’re complaining.
The five piece are built of fine stock, coming from some of the best DIY acts in Glasgow at the moment (Spinning Coin, Lush Purr, Breakfast Muff, The Bellybuttons, Chrissy Barnacle) and it’s credit to them that there is a uniqueness to their other projects; fast paced dizzying guitar, basslines full of bounce, chanted three way vocals and the addition of sax, which gives them fluidity and fullness in sound it would be difficult to achieve otherwise.
All in all they’re a really fun garage pop act that we are very impressed with and hope we can see grow from this promising beginning.
Another first ever set, Acid Cannibals deliver an invigoratingly loud set, like we expected any less from this duos background (The Cosmic Dead, Sick of Talk, Droves, Thisclose, Mantilla).
They are a blast of powerful riffs and bullet speed drums that do enough to shake away any hangovers in the room lingering from yesterday.
The duo create a churning wave that’s hard not to drowned by, plundering you to the depths, smashing you off the rocks only for you to come back for another go.
At times they hook you into a strong grooves, at others they pulverise with sheer power; either way they’re an experience to behold.
With a warm DIY pop sound and some delightful harmonies Hairband get upstairs started for the day.
Another relatively new Glasgow DIY supergroup of sorts (Breakfast Muff, Rocky Lorelei, The Yawns, Lush Purr) the five-piece deliver three way harmonies, all coated in plenty of sweet stuff.
The lackadaisical beauty of their guitars float just below the enchanting vocals, while meandering rhythms keep you on your toes without ever wandering too far into the strange.
They’re essentially a left field pop band keeping things delightful yet odd in subject matter, while maintaining a warmth that challenges just enough while keeping you in a dizzying high.
Psychedelic proto punk five-piece The Dreads are the first non Scottish band on the bill and they more just than justify their place with a set crammed full of rocking grooves, acid touched organ and a real garage rock croak of a vocal that creates a vibe of early Stooges.
Dressed in all white the Belfast based band pose a stirring presence and set in motion the first hints of the wild times to come from the crowd later on, blistering through half an hour of classic sounding tracks with a chaotic feel, that ends with the vocalist nearly out the door before returning to the mic and near swallowing it whole with a sickening scream.
Back upstairs The Birth Marks play the sort of garage pop that tempts you in with fun vibes and keeps you there with solid rhythms and brilliant tracks.
They may not be as odd or powerful as some of the acts on already, but that’s the beauty of this line up as the charming Mancs deliver real earworms of tracks that demand you to move along against your will.
Born out of some of Manchester’s best garage acts these guys are more than taking on the mantel, delivering perfectly crafted pop nuggets with dual sneered vocals and a sound that can engulf a room without any gimmicks, and just when you think you’ve heard all they’ve got their final track pulsates with a screamed velocity that lifts them up another notch.
Fruit Tones continue in a similar vibe downstairs, with more hooky garage pop that explodes into tangy psych tinged segments.
The Manchester band has been up in Glasgow plenty with their association with Fuzzkill Records and have plenty acclimatised themselves as they swig from a Buckfast bottle before blasting into another fast number, punctuated by vocals that go from hooky sneers to high pitched yelps; they can do slow numbers too as they calm it down with tracks dipped in soothing 60s surf vibes.
London based, but hailing from as far as Sweden, Italy and Australia, Yassassin come with bags of sassy punk attitude, yelped vocals that turn to four way chants to almost cabaret moments with a rhythm that drives them forward into strong 90s alternative vibes.
The five-piece, born out of acts like The History Of Apple Pie, LUST, Bonfire Nights and Loaded, has a never giving presence and compounding energy that recalls the likes of Kim Deal in Breeders mode, as loud yet haunting backdrops hush the crowd while getting people moving at the same time.
Hilarity ensues as the enthusiastic Raissa Pardini tries some Scottish slang (“shut up ya roaster”) in her thick Italian accent, before she burst into the crowd bass flailing on for the band’s last number.
Downstairs there’s a proper urgency to COWTOWN as the Leeds based trio blast through a set of hooky yelped vocals, explosive drums and addictive attitude.
Add to that a polite likeable stage chat and you’ve got a band you can’t help but warm to.
As has become the norm of the day they are super fast and lively and as they progress the crowd gets more and more energetic, as the band go from breakneck garage pop to synth heavy robotic rock to potential indie classics, whatever we get it’s a whips up a fury of fun vibes.
Fun seems like a word I’ve used a lot in this review, but that’s exactly what this festival is, but that said I can’t stress I mean it most when I say The #1’s are the fun.
They’re a power pop four piece out of Dublin that play with smiles on their faces and the most addictive delivery you’ll witness.
This is the stuff that should be chanted along to on mass in much bigger venues, they hark back to the poppier end of the late 70s punk movement; at one listen you’ll be in love, at two you’ll know all the words at three you’ll be belting them out with them.
All four members deliver lead vocals throughout the set, yet it never seems to drop in quality, they may not be the most innovative or technical band of the weekend but they deliver the most unabashed fun; they even pull festival organiser Ian Crawford up on stage to sing The Buzzcocks’ ‘Ever Fallen In Love’ and get the crowd surfing started for the day.
The riotous atmosphere that begun upstairs continues from the off downstairs as Shredd raise a ruckus with their howling, swirling fizz filled take on garage rock that leans on the side of good heavy riffage, with only Chris Harvie’s heavily reverberated vocals stopping the sound going all the way to full on metal assault.
It’s well documented how much we like these guys and today they again prove why with a churning fury of a live experience that you can’t help but let blow you away and see where it takes you.
When I say the room is totally packed for Manchester’s DUDS that is not an understatement, this is seriously the busiest I’ve ever seen The Old Hairdessers and the band, who’re selling their soon to be released debut album via Castle Face Records today, look in no mood to let down.
Their angular post punk sound is completely different from anything else on the bill, while still fitting into the day’s line up perfectly.
Trumpet and cowbell add original touches to their jaggy fast pop sound without ever getting anyway near corny, they’re just the right side of experimental with their discordant post punk that hooks in deep with both creativity and originality.
There’s an element of danger to their sound, a dark urgency, an impending chaos that makes them all the more appealing; at points it’s hooky and fun at others you’re on tenterhooks at where the next three minutes are going to lead, but are never let down.
Falmouth’s The Black Tambourines keep up the pace downstairs with their break neck, sun kissed surf pop.
An early cover of Creedance Clearwater Revival’s ‘Bad Moon Rising’ sets crowd moving and the trio don’t let it stop, well until the kick pedal is broken, quickly resolved and things kick off again.
At points they deliver lackadaisical surfy pop at others more punk tinged material that is still somehow indebted to 60s surf, while their live show is a flurry of addictive energy as they thrash about looking like they’re having as much fun as the pit that’s formed in front of them.
Closing tonight’s festival are a band it seems like a age since we last saw and Holy Mountain and don’t let down, as killer sludgy metal riffs engulf the room, the volume hits max, churning drums blast at break neck pace, while Andy McGlone’s sporadic guttural gruff tones add that extra bit to transform the sound into a full on aural assault.
We once wrote them a negative record review citing them as “70s arseholes” who walk “in and out of bars like they own the place”, just cos they wanted one, tonight you they could easily do that in the Hairdressers, well if they aren’t kicked out first for breaking curfew.
The lights go up, the band keep playing, the leccy gets cut the drum keeps going with the rest of the band triumphantly holding their instruments over their heads while the security look on clueless at what to do; proper riotous stuff to end a crazy day at Freakender’.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Allan Lewis