This is Tomorrow Festival Review: Part Three
Much like the previous two festival days, Sunday featured a number of great artists. Thankfully however, unlike Friday and Saturday, there was no rain, no delays, and no interruptions.
Instead, there were many mint musicians from the North East and beyond.
While approaching the Richard Hamilton stage I could already hear the summery electronic pop tunes from the Sunderland-based band Vandebilt. Being influenced by the likes of Daft Punk and Phoenix, Vandebilt’s music has the potential to transform every floor into a dance floor, which is why I couldn’t stand still while listening to their soft electro-beats.
Despite delivering a great set, Vandebilt became the first “victims” of the Scottish singer/songwriter Lewis Capaldi, who has been making massive waves recently, and magically attracted massive crowds of people from the smaller stages and gathered them before Graham Wylie Foundation Main Stage.
People of all ages and backgrounds were waiting impatiently for their great idol.
When Lewis started his set, his fans sang along to every track, knowing every single word of his lyrics. It looked like Lewis was a little bit overwhelmed by the massive support he received from his fans, who did not only sing along to his songs but cheered at literally everything he did: even when he sipped at his water bottle, people were wooing and cheering hysterically. A girl even threw her bra on the stage – although Lewis explained, “honestly, this must be one of mine”. Despite the hype, Lewis appeared to be quite down to earth and did what he does best: singing songs and wowing people with his truly amazing voice.
Even though Lewis Capaldi is (without doubt) a talented singer and songwriter, I got the impression that he had enough support, which is why I decided to check out the smaller stages, which were – sadly enough – quite deserted.
Thankfully there were some loyal supporters, who backed their local bands, no matter who was taking the stage on the other side of the festival grounds. Hartlepool-based indie-rockers Mt. Misery played in front of a nice intimate crowd of friends and local music lovers, who had the pleasure of listening to their melodic indie songs while the sun was breaking through the clouds, and lulled us into its warm rays. When Lewis Capaldi’s voice echoed over from the main stage, vocalist and front man Andrew took it easy, saying “he’s good like”, no time to be miserable.
Although the sun was shining warmly again, the typical North-East wind blew a chilly breeze over the festival visitors and people sought shelter behind billboards and food stalls. The stormy North-East wind, however, was nothing compared to the smashing set by the Scottish rap/alternative trio The LaFontaines, who totally blew us all away!
Even though the Richard Hamilton Stage was a little bit dead at the beginning, the LaFontaines managed to transform it into a party that was absolutely brilliant and captivating from start to finish. Vocalist and rapper Kerr won over the audience while joking about accents and delivering a stormy set of the finest Scottish rap. The band’s sound is different from most that artists out there at the moment, with an exciting mix of thundering beats, a roaring bass, infectious guitar riffs, and the melodic vocals by drummer Darren, which are a nice and sharp contrast to front man Kerr’s banging rap lines.
Although the LaFontaines’ set developed into a proper party, the band’s songs conveyed a deeper message, addressing personal issues and social wrongs.
The photographers twisted their necks to follow vocalist and rapper Kerr as he left the stage to collect people from bars and food stalls and bring them to the stage where they danced, jumped, and simply had an amazing time. It even seemed like The LaFontaines stole some devoted fans from Lewis Capaldi, as more and more people gathered in front of the stage while the band was filling Exhibition Park with their unique and powerful Scottish rap tunes.
The LaFontaines definitely won a considerable number of new fans in Newcastle last Sunday, including one or two Spotlight writers…
The party continued when Leeds-based Marsicans took to the stage, playing their amazing, upbeat and dirty indie-pop. No doubt, this band just loves Newcastle as much as Newcastle loves them: They gave us a brilliant set full of energy and joy, and got a bunch of devoted supporters in return, who were dancing and singing along to the band’s colourful and catchy pop tunes, while the sun was going down, casting a stunning light onto the festival grounds.
After Sunday’s Headliner Stereophonics had banged their last indie rock anthem into the night, the festival had officially finished – but the party was not over yet, instead continuing into a subway in Jesmond where local musician Joey Swindells delivered a fantastic percussion set, making people dance and groove on.
What a perfect finish to This Is Tomorrow 2019, a festival that – despite some unstable barriers, delays, and a potential for more gender diversity – gave us a fantastic line-up of mint musicians from the North East, Britain and beyond, accompanied by much sunshine and a bit of rain.
Clearly, This Is Tomorrow 2019 was a festival that revealed the great potential of the North East as a region of excellent music and culture.
We can’t wait for This Is Tomorrow 2020!
Cover photo The LaFontaines
Photography by Dan Mills