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For something that takes place over five days and in the majority of pubs and bars in Lancaster, not many people know about the Lancaster Music Festival. Well, students at least. Even I’m guilty of ignoring this spectacle for the main part of my student life, having only flirted with the festival in second year, and completely omitting it from my first year’s social calendar.
But this time, I was determined to see what Lancaster had to offer. Friday night was completely set aside to marvel at the music, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I must confess, my encounters with metalcore bands have been minimal, but the lead singer of Armageddon Stereo was very engaging, particularly when he was literally screaming lyrics in my face and threatening to kill me when I was at the bar. Whether he was coming on to me is another question. It was only 8pm.
The Bobbin hosted many heavier acts over the weekend, but after that experience, something more placid was required. Cue The Sun, and folk band The Low Countries.
Whilst their dulcet tones were everything required, it was a little unfortunate that the pub only got busy during their mid-set break, and just before their final song. It was definitely no reflection on their music, which included a clever song about Brian Cox’s locks.
So far so good but there was something missing. Soap. Thankfully South African punk band The SoapGirls were on hand. There was a reason why lots of men were staring through the windows of The Robert Gillow. You see, The SoapGirls play in minimal dress.
Opinions on that aside, musically they were reminiscent of some old-school Tony Hawk’s games, famous for their great punk-rock soundtracks. The weirdest thing was that the sisters have over 60,000 Facebook likes, making you question why they were performing for free in Lancaster, but there were no complaints here.
Up next was Phantom Voices, thanking The SoapGirls for disinfecting the Gillow floor with their performance. Although they took a while to set up, it was worth it. The pub was filled to the brim, all dancing merrily to the folk rock dished out. It’s just impossible to grow tired of fiddle solos.
The Robert Gillow incidentally was open 24 hours from the Thursday to Monday. That’s how intense things can get at the music festival.
To cap off the night, there’s no better way than a trip to quirky bookstore Atticus. The small shop is relatively famous for booking – shall we say – less conventional artists. We were treated to Leth, and I’m not really sure how to describe the gentleman.
For starters, there was free wine in plastic cups on offer, so my judgement was immediately skewed, but it was an experience. Unfortunately his keytar wasn’t working, so his set was markedly minimal, relying on his voice, a metronomic drum beat and some wacky synths. A spoken word version of Foo Fighters’ Monkey Wrench – complete with the breathless bridge – was everything you’d hope for, and more.
“This next song is called Sorry Affair, which is how I’m feeling right now.” Well I enjoyed myself at least.