This is Tomorrow Festival Review: Part Two
When I left my house, I was greeted by some dark clouds, chilly winds and drizzling rain – proper festival weather!
On festival day two the gates opened on time, and the barriers in front of the main stage seemed stable, so there was nothing that could stop North-East music enthusiasts from enjoying another day of great music – except the weather maybe...
But Newcastle’s music lovers are used to rain and chilly winds, so they turned up in great numbers at Exhibition Park on that day.
The Richard Hamilton stage was opened by the Irish indie 4-piece Inhalers, whose catchy indie pop tunes echoed through the park, before the punk duo The Noise And The Naive took to the BBC Introducing Stage on the opposite side of the lawn. The French Newcastle-based power duo, consisting of drummer and lead-vocalist Anne and guitarist Pauline, played one noisy punk pop track after another – following a clear Riot Grrrl aesthetic, which was loud, feminist, and simply amazing.
Next, on the BBC Introducing Stage, were the upcoming Newcastle-based band Baltic, who played some of their trademark melodic indie tunes and payed tribute to the city they came from.
Spending festival day two at the smaller stages turned out to be a great decision, not just because the area in front of the main stage started to resemble a muddy battlefield, but because of the brilliant artists I would have missed out otherwise.
One of these artists was the singer/songwriter, guitarist and bassist Lauran Hibberd from the Isle of Wight, “where nothing ever happens”, as she clarified right at the beginning of her set. However, there was a lot happening on stage when Lauran started playing her upbeat pop tracks with a good deal of dark humor.
Lauran’s songs speak of the daily madness of being a young woman in this world, her thoughts of this world and the people that have crossed her way.
Her songs like, for example, the track ‘Sugardaddy’ are full of clever wittiness and dark irony, resembling Aussie singer/songwriter and guitarist Courtney Barnett, who also wraps up social criticism and her observations of the world around her into humorous and catchy pop/rock tunes.
Although I danced along to Lauran’s upbeat tunes, I started shivering, because my baby-blue rain coat and my shoes were already soaked with rain – wearing all-stars had clearly not been the best idea. Despite year-long festival experience, I still don’t know how to dress appropriately, which is probably something I will never learn.
Having my lunch in the dry press tent, I reflected on my experience at This Is Tomorrow 2019 so far. Clearly, the music I had had the pleasure to listen to so far was fantastic but there was one question that I couldn’t shake off: Where were all the fantastic female musicians (especially on the main stage, which had looked a little bit too ‘pale and male’, to be honest).
One coffee in the press tent and one beer later, I found myself in front of the BBC Introducing stage, jumping and dancing to the Muse-inspired sound and heavy and speedy riffs from Sunderland-based rock band Hivemind, being absolutely electrified by the powerful vocals of lead-singer Georgia. Hivemind’s tunes were real headbangers and created ample energy on and before the stage.
Following a number of great musicians at This Is Tomorrow this year, such as Anteros, Whenyoung, Pip Blom, The Noise and The Naive, and Lauran Hibberd, Hivemind proved once more that women play fantastic rock music, which is actually something that should be seen as normal… If This Is Tomorrow puts more female artists on the bill next year, I’m sure the festival experience will be even more awesome than it had already been so far.
After enjoying an overpriced veggie fajita in the rain (funny, how quickly you can forget about the weather, when you’re having fun), I went to watch the brilliant local band Shields, who closed the Richard Hamilton Stage on that Saturday.
The five-piece from Newcastle warmed us up with their characteristic upbeat multi-instrumental jazz/pop sound, some amazing percussion, melodic guitar riffs and soft, polyphonic vocals.
Despite the hot and rhythmic tunes from Shields, I could no longer ignore that my shoes were completely soaked with rain and that my feet were so icy, that I could barely feel them anymore, which is why I decided not to watch Noel Gallagher’s entire set but to leave early (sorry Noel). On my way home, I could hear some Oasis classics echoing through the night and I couldn’t hold back a big smile on my face – what an awesome second day that was at This Is Tomorrow!
Cover Photo taken by Claire Jayne Allport for This is Tomorrow Festival // SSD Concerts and Gigs North East