Live Review: Kendal Calling – 28-31st July 2016

Editor's Review

Summary

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were by far the best performance of the festival, although Peter Doherty’s “Fuck Forever” was the best song.

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For the 11th year, thousands of punters descended upon the Lake District for the annual Kendal Calling festival. The festival has grown over the years and now attracts some of the greatest musicians across the world to perform there.

The festival began Thursday 28th July 2016 with Ash and The Charlatans opening the weekend on the main stage with a limited area open to punters eager to get partying in the fields.

Ash played before The Charlatans on the main stage and played a great set warming up the fans who were excited for the Manchester legends and festival friends. However The Charlatans were disappointing when they performed, they didn’t get much of a reaction from quite a large. Fan favourites “The Only One I Know” and “One To Another” brought some movement and singing but not as anywhere near as good as expected.

Friday had a slow start with the earlybirds shaking off their hangovers whilst more arrived for the weekends main lineup. The gates opened and people slowly trickled into the arena walking around the various themes and areas that were spread across the site. Kendal Calling isn’t all about live music, it includes an area were people can try out virtual reality headsets and walk through pieces of art curated by various different artists. The Garden of Eden features a series of installations which opened at night for people to walk through and soak up the atmosphere whilst taking a break after the headline artists finished. If the music wasn’t for you, then you can walk around the Garden of Eden and the Woodlands areas where the attention to detail is mesmerising.

Milburn started the Friday evening off with one of the best performances of the weekend. Getting the crowd pumped up and voices working in fine form the Sheffield band played a fast paced set with lots of energy. There was a buzz around the field about Milburn before they performed which attracted a lot of people who had never heard of them; who left very impressed with a new band to listen to when they got back home. Despite it being a spectacular performance, it seemed to be over too soon and deserved a longer slot.

We Are Scientists followed Milburn on the main stage with a large crowd still around the stage. Their performance was mediocre and sounded like a filler band whilst the audience grew as people gathered for Catfish and the Bottlemen. There was a lot of excitement for Catfish and the Bottlmen and many people were sporting their t-shirts during the day. They drew a large crowd and started off excellently. They played all their biggest songs at the start of their set which was received excellently by the fans; letting off flares and smoke bombs and singing the words back to them. However once they had played all the hits the remainder of the set wasn’t great and the atmosphere died down.

A short performance by Jason Manford in the Soapbox tent brought a break from the music. His set consisted off many of his best jokes from previous tours with slight changes to make them relatable to the festival crowd, as well as a few off the cuff responses the crowd heckles. Jason Manford was definitely a must see moment of the festival.

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Blossoms closed the night in the Calling Out tent which was packed out for one of the most highly anticipated bands of the year. They were eagerly awaited and everybody had high expectations from a band which have shot to fame before releasing their debut album. However they didn’t live up to expectations and were slightly disappointing compared to previous performances. They played a new song off the album which didn’t go down very well to a crowd that had come to see the songs that brought the Stockport band such notoriety at an early age.

Lancashire Hotpots played an early set on the main stage on Saturday and brought the largest crowd for a day time band. Their hilarious lyrics and catchy beats got the whole crowd singing and enjoying the music. They got everybody involved in a remake of “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. They then proceeded to play the conga and started the biggest conga line i’ve ever seen which didn’t seem to end as it winded around the field in-between others lines before they all merged.

Maximo Park were late to the stage as they were delayed on a flight on the way to the festival. They crammed their greatest hits into the short time they had remaining and lead singer Paul Smith worked the stage very well creating lots of energy and high kicks to suit the fast and upbeat sound of their music.

The Darkness took to the stage in their usual lycra outfits and funny interaction with the crowd. They explained that they had been performing for 13years and because it’s a festival they were going to play their old music not “the albums nobody bought”. Their set was very impressive and Justin Hawkins hit the high notes pitch perfect. After every song the audience shouted for their Christmas song to be played. For their final song Hawkins gave the audience what they wanted telling them that it’s always Christmas in Kendal making the eager to hear “Christmas Time” before shouting “don’t be so preposterous” and performed “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”.

The Hives entered the stage wearing matching black and white suits. They brought a lot of energy and lead singer Pelle Almqvist got the crowd involved; constantly shouting “ladies! gentlemen!”. Their performance was very good and the crowd went crazy when they ended with “Tick Tick Boom”.

The Calling Out stage played host to Peter Doherty, who had played a secret set in the Tim Peaks Diner earlier in the afternoon. He was late to the stage which caused a few boos to ripple around the packed tent, although he entered the stage shortly after to a loud applause. He played mainly his solo songs, including fan favourite “Last of the English Roses”, as well as The Libertines “You’re My Waterloo” and a short rendition of The Las “There She Goes”. His entire set went spectacularly and had everybody singing and jumping around. He ended with Babyshambles “Fuck Forever” which brought the biggest reaction of the whole festival. The whole tent jumped around and sang to each other, the wildest reaction i’ve seen to one song.

The remaining festival goers had an air of sadness hanging over them as Sunday was the last day, however you could sense the excitement for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds to close the festival. Crowds grew around the main stage from early afternoon as fans of all ages wanted to get the best spot to see Noel Gallagher perform.

The small Houseparty building was queuing out of the door waiting for Jonny Brown, formerly from Twisted Wheel, although he was late to the stage as acoustic acts continued performing beforehand. When he entered the stage the room got even busier and people pushed forwards to get closer. His set consisted of a lot of Twisted Wheel songs which the audience sang back, even when Brown stopped singing. Jonny Brown didn’t seem happy with the sound himself although it sounded excellent from amongst the spectators.

Everything Everything took to the main stage to warm everybody up for Noel Gallagher. They played a great set and sounded pitch perform, which is hard for their intricate mix of high and low pitched vocals. However the crowd seem disinterested in them and were anxiously awaiting the former Oasis man.

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Finally Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds took to the stage to the loudest applause of the weekend. The crowd consisted of people of all ages from children as young as 5 and 6 enjoying their first festival, to the older generation music fans there to soak up the iconic music. Gallagher played some of his solo songs as well as a large array of Oasis anthems.

His Oasis songs brought back a lot of happy memories for fans in the crowd and a lot of grown men were seen crying with happiness. It was a very emotional performance and the view looking back from the stage was never-ending with singing fans illuminated by the glow of red flares.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds were by far the best performance of the festival, although Peter Doherty’s “Fuck Forever” was the best song. Kendal Calling is a brilliant festival which is growing every year and is featuring bigger bands. The only downside to the site is the size of some of the tents which hosts big acts like Blossoms and Peter Doherty, although it does add to the atmosphere if you manage to get inside.

Kendal Calling is definitely a festival to include in your plans for next year as it will only get better. After they managed to secure Noel Gallagher this year who knows who they will get to headline next year.

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