Festival Review All Years Leaving 2015 23rd - 24th August 2015

A combination of spectacle and sensation.

Opening with the blustering energy of Mutes and the ethereal charm of Dorcha over the festival’s two day duration, All Years Leaving brings together local bands, famed favourites, and the most ardent of fans for a combination of spectacle and sensation.

The distinctive blues-infused rock and roll of Birmingham duo The Mighty Young drives the thrilling momentum of Friday’s proceedings, while Kagoule shine among the evening’s engaging chaos. Inciting those by the stage front to all-out dance moves, the Nottingham trio are entirely in their element, leaving the whole room enamoured in their wake.

Making their penultimate performance of their first UK tour, Chastity Belt may not provoke the same invigorating chaos of the preceding act, but their distinctive combination of happy-go-lucky melodies and empowering lyrics proves nevertheless enchanting. It’s Speedy Ortiz that succeed in capturing the crowd’s hearts, though Playing with an all-encompassing drive that it’s impossible to draw away from, the Massachusetts band’s all-natural charisma showcases just why they’re one of the most excitingly beloved bands on the circuit.

All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

Uniquely dark, veering between mystery and magnetism, The Wytches close day one in a clamour of guitars. Rousing the room into anarchy, layered refrains sear towards cataclysmic levels, performing thundering guitar refrains capable of swallowing the room whole. As immersed in their performance as the crowd are in the sounds emanating from the stage, the band leave no soul unhooked.

Remarkable as Friday demonstrated to be, Saturday's unexpected festival highlight artives in the form of The Bank Accounts, who awe the gathered audience in the venue barn not once, but twice. Playing until their power cuts out, the trio’s passion-fuelled chant-a-longs keep the gathered singing as they drift out the doors. In the main room, Spring King’s vigour might be more structured, but their set is no less explosive. Their raucous dynamic ushers in all manner of enthusiasm, their energy second only to the movement of the dancing at their feet.

All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

Forsaking vitality for vivid sounds, MONEY may have crafted a dazzling set, but their performance lacks any of the energy of the acts that surround them. Powering through their songs with all the delicious melodies but little of the gusto of the other bands here, their set seems somehow void of the spark that has always served them so well.

Taking to the stage in his characteristic suit as the hour struck twelve, East India Youth sweats and spellbinds from behind evolving tapestries of twirling melodies. Deep refrains and dance-a-long rhythms echo long into the night. With an extra hour to revel in as the clocks turn back, All Years Leaving marks itself out as a festival leaving every attendee cast under its spell.

All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
All Years Leaving, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham

Photos: Sam Wood


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