After a hit movie, making the sequel usually comes with a lot of extra pressure to perform and live up to the standards of the first. With Download Festival, add onto that the even greater pressure of taking over from where Soundwave left off in the heavy music category, and the comparisons it will bring being at the same location with similar lineups. From gates opening though, Download (the sequel) looked certain to be a hit at the ‘box office’. Continue reading →
I never had a full blown emo or punk phase while I was in high school, and that fact is made extremely clear as I walk my green tartan culottes and ‘tres chic’ beret into a sardine can known as The Astor Lounge, packed with black band shirts, pleather chokers, candy coloured hair and slick side fringes. It evoked a sense of nostalgia for a teenagedom I never had. I was informed by two excited young women outside the venue that I am in for a night of “underground grungey screaming” from tonight’s main act. I am excited.
The support act is Walter Schreifels from New York. He is flying solo tonight – just him and his guitar. A surprising choice of support for such an energetic main act, but Schreifels warmed the predominantly teenage crowd up with some chilled out, listenable little tunes. Highlights included the alternative-swing number ‘Adderall Highway’ and ‘Away From The Speed’. In listening to Schreifels, I only wished that he had a band with him to punch up his songs a little more, as the solo-man-with-guitar set up made potential grungey tunes seem a tad too dad-rock for my liking. However, after a mix of light banter and humorous yet vague stories, he finished his set with really quite a beautiful song called ‘Open Letter to The Scene’ – lamenting a passed musician from the Lower East Side who had a very ‘don’t sell out’ kind of view that people didn’t like sometimes. A fitting finish to an engaged and interactive crowd. Once the very cheery Walter Schreifels left the stage, the young crowd began to pack even more toward the stage, as their much-less-side-fringed parents began to join me in the tiered seating up the back. Continue reading →