Bringing some of the brightest bands around to the northern capital of indie rock ‘n’ roll swagger, Neighbourhood Festival is a blitz of brash energy and brazen talent determined to leave you clamouring for more.
There are hijinks from start to finish. “I lost my fishnet tights,” Tali Källström declares midway through Estrons’ raucous performance, “so if any of you get any compromising photos, I want a cut of the money.” When Idles take to the stage a few streets away, all clothing is optional. “Pants didn’t seem like a good idea any more?” frontman Joe Talbot questions guitarist Mark Bowen, who’s sporting nothing but a pair of tight-fitting Y-Fronts. Introducing themselves as “The 1975-dles” before inviting the crowd to “enjoy, unless you are a Tory,” the Bristol outfit’s blistering punk anthems resound at their most raucous. There’s crowdsurfing, barrier hopping, and band members in the mosh pit before their set is over, cementing Idles as one of the country’s most ferociously storming acts.
With queues outside the venue stretching to a forty-five minute wait, you don’t even have to reach the venue to see how much Peace have been missed. Inside, the excitement scales to fever pitch - and no one who makes it into the room is left disappointed. Performing songs from all across their time as a band, from ‘EP Delicious’ to ‘Happy People’, and even debuting a couple of new, stripped-back numbers, the Birmingham band might have been out of sight for a while, but these indie darlings have lost none of their spark. There’s always been a certain magic to Peace’s performance, one that made the here, the now, and the music within it feel like exactly where everyone was supposed to be - and this afternoon is no different.
Riding a wave of success from the release of their debut album last month, INHEAVEN are on characteristically top form. There’s a sense of drama in every distorted refrain they play, brought to life with a typically contagious energy the band certainly aren’t any strangers to flaunting, and the audience lap up every moment.
With their ‘Heavy EP’ just released, Yonaka boast a similar confidence. Prowling and pulling shapes from a smoke filled stage, vocalist Theresa Jarvis makes her command of the crowds attention seem effortless. Elsewhere, Declan McKenna has no trouble packing out the venue ahead of his set. The room swelters with energy, and in typical Deccers fashion, it’s not long before the musician is diving off the stage to crowdsurf.
Neighbourhood Festival is all about getting lost in the moment and watching some of the brightest bands around, what else could you ask for a festival to offer?
Photos: Luke Hannaford
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Foals and Fontaines DC are also among the acts who’ll be vying for the prize this September.