Reading and Leeds Festival is somewhat a marker for the end of festival season and thus the British musical summer, so last weekend went some way to bringing down the curtain for 2015. The season, beginning earlier every year, this year was kicked off in May, which saw Liverpool’s Sound City get the ball rolling.
Looking back and picking out highlights, Friday 5th June brought the best standalone gig of the summer. Heaton Park, for The Courteeners – sunshine, and a coming of age for one of the country’s top bands of their type. Follow that? Go on then. July, and personally my first festival abroad, Benicassim in Spain, and a brilliant week from start to finish, whether it was Noel Gallagher’s reminiscent, stand and deliver style performance, or the energetic and relentlessly hard-working produce of The Cribs, the festival was packed with great music, great weather, and great people. Fast-forward a week, and a tough week of recovery at that, and you have a festival closer to home. The 10th birthday party of Kendal Calling, where James began a weekend that exceeded expectations and presented some of the best acts around, upholding a consistency that is seldom matched at medium sized festivals. That Thursday night performance rivals that of Florence Welsh over at Beni. Another coming of age, this time the solo career of Bipolar Sunshine, on the Sunday he was outstanding, a new personal favourite for many, smiling faces all round.
August, aside from the last few festivals, is gig release month – or at least it has been for the past couple of years. September starts the autumn and winter gigs off, albeit early. The Strypes at Manchester’s Ritz on the 26th, followed by The Cribs in Liverpool the month after; October 23rd. Closer to home, The View play their second gig in Carlisle in 2 years, a first visit for me to the brand new Old Fire Station which will no doubt invite more high-profile bands to the area – a real asset to Carlisle and Cumbria as a whole. Then, a return to The Ritz in November, Reverend and The Makers will back up a release of a new album, Mirrors (due for release early October) with a gig on Friday 13th – cue Stevie Wonder. Bring on the 3 consecutive weekends that begin with the Stereophonics on the 4th. Then, as you may have guessed over the past year, the undeniably supreme Courteeners are on tour, 7 nights at the Apollo beginning on the Tuesday and running through to Saturday 12th, initially the closing night and my first of two. The following Saturday they play number 6 and 7 – and Saturday 19th will most likely be the last gig of a fantastic 2015.
Thank you again for your continued support, this past few months I’ve gained recognition from the likes of James and Bipolar Sunshine, personal achievements that couldn’t be met without the reading and sharing of the words I throw together about some of the best music around. Well, that’s what I reckon anyways.
I’ll keep you informed how the gigs over the next few months go, and how good The Courteeners are.