Despite not comprising of a completely flawless line-up, at least it guaranteed you the chance to see the bands you really wanted, because the only clash was with an old favourite from when you were a 15-year-old “emo”. So let’s get started on the highlights of Handmade Festival 2016.
The Magic Gang
With constant reference to their new EP, complexly named EP, every indie-lovers new favourites The Magic Gang took to the stage early on the Festival’s opening night. Arming themselves with a bunch of cliché boy-meets-girl songs infused with an infectious funk, it was pretty harmless music that no one was going to stray away from. And they didn’t- the, albeit smaller, stage was full of potential new fans- some of which had definitely snuck away from work early in fear of missing the next best thing.
Imagine if the Runaways had a dream-surf-pop side project, that would be Black Honey. Presenting the, somewhat mundane, crowd with such an eclectic set, it was hard to take your eyes off of just what was going on. Lead singer, Izzy Baxter, was seemingly bursting with energy in a rebel-without-a-cause type way. However standout track ‘Bloodlust‘ (above) showed that the band weren’t just punk-wannabes, instead demonstrated an indie-rock side, and the pure clarity of the work this band create. Minus the shrieks.
When a band leaves the spot for a lead singer absent, they’ve got to hold the fort alone with only a wall of music to protect them. Using an array of rock instruments, whilst addling in the world of synth, 65DaysofStatic provided confidence in the fact that music doesn’t always need an annoying frontman. Dressed and dimmed in black, the band created an illusion like no other. Until unforgivably the lights went up and they proclaimed- “oh we killed the illusion, we’re just four fat blokes on a stage.”
So ignore what I primarily said. I had a spot to fill in this weekend’s busy schedule and revisited Mollie Mansfield’s favourite band at the ripe age of 15. Despite spending the first ten minutes of their set melodramatically complaining about the reverb to the lad doing sound at the back, their explosive set and Scottish charm helped this become history. Exploiting their whole discography, there was enough for the 15-year-old nostalgic and the current pop-punk enthusiast.
Los Campesinos! seemed to be everyone’s favourite band as a 14-year-old, transitioning from listening to N-Dubz to actual, decent music. And they’re still as energetic as we all remember them to be, aside from having a few line-up reshuffles. ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ expectantly caused the most excitement and nostalgia intertwined, whilst ‘The Sea Is A Good Place To Think Of The Future‘ restored the honest element that the band own so well. Although the last time they played in Leicester was the night Bradley died in Eastenders, and our city being the only place someone’s stolen merch, here’s to hoping they return soon, and don’t bring such emotionally scarring news.
When is there not a good time to see Swim Deep? The angelic nature of this band make them so easy to listen to, whilst the components of their music make them so easy to appreciate. Headlining the final night of the festival, despite not packing out the main stage, they provided an faultless set. Presenting old favourites ‘She Changes the Weather‘ (above), ‘Honey‘ and ‘King City‘ the set was full of ample opportunity to dance, if you’d care to join in with the band.