Durfest: Library Live Lounge Review
Take a balmy Wednesday evening, a riverside terrace, a diverse line-up, and a crowd of students fresh out of exam period, and what do you get?
Well in this case it was the inaugural Live Lounge session at Durham’s Library Bar.
Live Lounge is part of the Durfest movement, the brainchild of three Durham university students – Elsa, Alfie and Emma who nobly aim to combine raising awareness of the North East music scene with sustainability through a partnership with Durham University and the Rainforest Alliance, to which all the profits of the events go.
This is the second event under the Durfest name, with their ultimate goal being a large-scale music and arts festival in October, and the first of it’s kind to be student led.
I came down from the Toon, having helped to curate the line-up on the night and, as far as I’m concerned, it was a rousing success which had little to do with the £2 drinks deal.
Things kicked off with Charles Smith, arriving in Durham by way of Cambridge and Abu Dhabi to begin the night with some chilled acoustic vibes.
Second up was BB Sharples, a 3rd year philosophy and politics student who provided some 1960’s style guitar tunes.
Sander Priston, a fellow Durham student, then swiftly followed; bringing some improvisational synth and sax to the table, in a bizarre combination that strangely worked.
For those brave enough to put their own vocal cords to the test, an open mic set up was also running indoors, and there were a fair few takers, perhaps buoyed by the aforementioned cheap drinks.
As the sun dipped lower in the sky, Marsupial Soup, formed of Welsh brothers Sam and Joe took to the outdoor stage.
Their first song ‘Suzanne’ injected more life into the swelling crowd, who had been quite relaxed until this point. Alongside other new tracks from their fresh Intro EP, the pair also cracked out some well received covers of ‘Hey Ya’ and ‘Le Freak’.
Portraits, who like me had driven down from Newcastle, stepped up to headline and after a nervy start, soon imprinted their brand of inner city backyard jazz-fusion onto the terrace. The set started off chilled, but soon the sax and drum solos came out, getting people to their feet once more. They went above and beyond their thirty minute set to smash out an encore that started with an old mining song and only ended when the power was disconnected. Professional to the core, they were mobbed by a new breed of fans that seem a world away from their own working class roots.
A few technical problems crept in occasionally, but by the end, nobody cared. Durfest hope to make this set-up a monthly affair, and things will hopefully be slicker next time around. I’d definitely be back for more and I’m willing to bet the rest of the crowd, who moved inside later on for Hamish Taylor’s DJ set, would be too.
This reporter unfortunately had to miss out on the late night tunes as the coalface called in the morning, but the dark and lonely drive back up the M1 was made a whole lot better by the fact that I’d had a cracking time, and I look forward to collaborating more with Durfest real soon.
For those that want to find out more about Durfest and their upcoming events, follow them on Facebook or Instagram with much more coming soon.
All photography by Jemima Bunbury