Festival Review: Mousetival 2019
It’s raining so we ran for shelter in the Georgian Theatre to see the smiling face of Steven from Mouses.
This was my second year attending Mousetival, 2/3 ain’t bad. And, while last year’s was a blast, this year I brought my brother along for the festivities.
We’re both big fans of Mouses and have seen them on numerous occasions, and make it our mission to see them many more.
Talk turned to what the surprise will be…last year members of Twist Helix and Mouses joined forces for a beautifully ramshackled Pixies set as the “Fakies”.
But neither of us guessed what was in store for 2019...
“The Mouse Stripes” took to the stage to whoops and cheers; Nathan taking the role of Jack White (Red Shirt & White Pants) and Ste taking on the role of Meg. They then proceeded to rattle through some of the duo’s favorites and album cuts; ‘Girl, You have No Faith in Medicine’ from Elephant was a particular highlight for me but unfortunately it was all over far too soon.
Nathan returned to the stage to drum alongside the wonderful folk tinged stylings of, Eddie and the Valkyries, a band new to my ears and to my heart.
Folk Rock brings up lots of images of long hair and acoustic guitars sitting still on a stage, but this was anthemic, beautifully arranged and sincere.
These songs meant something. The whole band was tight knit around songs of guilt love and pain. Absolutely sensational.
Such is the nature of Mousetival that you never know what you’re going to get next, and this year we took a sharp turn from folk to goth.
We found ourselves in the safe capable hands of Spotlight favourites Ghost Signals, on a rare outing to Teeside. Having played alongside Mouses at last year’s inaugural Avoid Sh*t Christmas Parties, they now share the same stage again. We get to hear most of the band’s singles including recent favorites ‘A Means to Kill Your Scene’ and ‘A Bag for Death’ as well as a couple of new tracks including the brand new song called 'English Friction’ which was teased in a NE Volume interview and written in the wake of the UK's political climate. This is another gem showing that the lads can’t seem to do any wrong.
A band on their best behaviour, choosing coffee over beer, they close the set with live favourite and B-side ‘Love What You Like’.
Sheffield has a long history of fantastic music, from the Glastonbury storming Pulp to the pop titans Heaven 17, but neither bands came out the gates full formed. The late 70’s post punk energy gave musicians the license to experiment, and Duck come from this rich tradition . With their primitive drum loops, budget synths and noisy guitar, they form to make a brand of wonky pop like Cabaret Voltaire, Travelogue era Human League and Clock DVA, that more people should take note of. I love it, and their merch is fantastic too.
It’s always better to go into Moustival having not done your homework, that way you’ll get a surprise like when the Unstoppable Sweeties Show take to the stage and blow the roof of the venue with jazzy, punky funk. The coming together of rhythmic changes that could give you whiplash, horns that wail at you like a James Chance record, and a vocal delivery reminiscent of X-Ray Spex was one of the best things I have ever witnessed. And it all culminated in a change of pace at the end of the set in which a slow dance took over for a cover of The Bangles’ ‘Eternal Flame’.
What happened to pop music with guitars? The Breeders? Ash? Elastica? We need to bring it back and let’s start with the fabulous Nervous Twitch.
With hooks galore, a punk attitude and a lot to say, the leeds based trio converted the whole audience into fans, with ‘Look at You Now’ being a take home favourite for me.
Starting a set with a soundtrack can often set the tone for what you are about to hear and the band that are next to take to the stage do so with the background music of comedy legend Alan Partridge.
GGAllan Partridge (a meld of GG Allin, a hardcore punk singer songwriter and the aforementioned comedy fictional TV show host) are one of my fave North East bands, so seeing them at Mousetival was a real treat. They combine all of the key elements of the late seventies/ early eighties post punk movement melded into one superb band; the defiant vocals a Poly Styrene, the wailing sax of Laura Logic, the Rhythmic percussion of ESG, noisey guitar stylings of Girl at our Best, topped off with a discordant violin reminiscent of John Cale’s work on the the Velvet Underground and Nico, the bible for all alternative music.
They are stage presence personified, they have style and they sound fabulous!
Taking to the stage next were the purveyors of pop, endlessly charming and wonderful Charmpit (Great band name, right?). With a knack for writing sweet catchy pop songs, a clear punk rock spirit and freewheeling audience interaction, the band won me over instantly.
Their set was mostly new songs and there was talk of them recording an album of tunes, I for one will be buying it.
In essence they are sunshine bottled in a punk song.
Now who ordered the buzzsaw guitars? The thundering drums? and raw untamed vocals? Oh it must be for Dead Naked Hippies who all my co-workers agree is a sensational name and that we also agree are a great band. Covering all the bases of the previously released material, and even teasing the new single out next month, they are a tour de force in the live environment. Riffs the size of footballs, energy that makes you wanna move and the power to dominate a stage were all present here.
This band play in the region a lot and I have been missing out. You won’t be missed next time!
We all like toast but what do you get when you make toast, crumbs, and they get everywhere and they’re very annoying. Not at all like their namesake in this regard, Crumbs, our penultimate band of Mousetival 2019, were up next. This BBC Radio 6 approved band brought with them some of the most fun you can have in the indie genre; the funky disco basslines and stripped back rhythms make you dance, the guitar work is very noisy and angular and the vocals are catchy and infectious. Weasels ‘Can Wait’ and the cowbell driven ‘On Tiptoes’ are well worth checking out!
With the venue now packed out, and no time left to go to the bar The Tuts’ ‘Let Go of the Past’ blasted from the stereo as we all waited in anticipation for Mouses...
And so they came, Whoops and cheers of joy rang out as they took to the stage and roared into life.
The band that have never failed to impress me ever since I first saw them support The Lovely Eggs last year, once again reminded us all why they are so important.
Nathan’s staccato angular drumming and the over-the-top fuzz laden guitar from Ste lay the groundwork for socially concious songs about loving others, loving yourself and not judging anyone for who they want to be. Love all except to those who set out to crush it.
New songs got an airing too, such as ‘Huckleberry’, which I am very excited to hear again as well as all your old favourites; ‘Hollywood’, ‘Green’ and ‘Algebra’. There was a beautiful moment mid set, when an acoustic guitar was brought out and we were all serenaded by the band as they came into the crowd for their ballad ‘Indigo’, which was a deep contrast to the fun and fury of the performances beforehand.
We all knew the words, the crowd was on the stage and I was smiling so much. This is how you do a live show.
You’ve out done yourselves again Mouses! Best festival of the year, every year! See you next time!