It’s the second day of Brew at the Bog festival and the spooky mist from the previous day has disappeared in favour of warm sunshine. If that isn’t enough to get excited about, then Saturday’s lineup has even more great acts on offer than day one with the likes of C Duncan, WHITE and Idlewild set to take to the stage later in the day.
Of course, there’s a lot more to come before the headliners. The inevitable hangover experienced on day two of a festival can quickly be rammed out of you with the heavy sounds of Vasa on the Bloc stage. Sound issues in the room threaten to diminish the intricacies of their music but, nevertheless, it’s a storming performance from the instrumentalist band; loud and heavy enough to wake those up who have managed to saunter over to their early stage time. Full of head-banging riffs and pummelling rhythms, their music is vibrant and non-conformist; perhaps so non-conformist that they have yet to reach the bigger audiences they deserve, in spite of the positive reviews they’ve received.
They’re not the only ones offering loud rock tunes today; Pinact take to the main stage in the afternoon with a performance which validates the buzz around them at the moment. With nods to Nirvana, Corrie Gillies has an angsty tone to his voice over fuzzy, grungy riffs as the volume at the main stage hits new heights. Their music is nostalgic without being unoriginal as they end their compelling set with a slow-burner called November.
Following this, Tijuana Bibles ooze coolness with their classic blues rock style. It’s all leather jackets, leading guitar solos and a hell of a lot of swagger that’s on show, but they’re confidence is deserved. A new song, unfinished as of yet, gets a first outing and hints at a new immediacy to the band’s future material; frontman Costello whips off his jacket and gets caught up in the frenzy as the song comes to a crashing finale. It’s just a pity that the crowd would rather stay seated and catch the sun rays during the performance, despite Costello’s suggestion that they are in danger of ‘bum rashes’.
C Duncan is perhaps more suited to this atmosphere with his lovely dream-pop melodies with his set consisting mainly of songs from his Mercury Prize nominated album ‘Architect’. Similarly, brothers JR Green play in front of a relaxed atmosphere on the Northern Roots stage. Their combination of acoustic guitar, accordion and drums is so simple yet effective, as they bring a quirky, modern edge to traditional folk melodies. Their youthful lyrics, ‘I’m sorry for my output I’m surrounded by wankers, I’m only 17 and I don’t have all the answers yet’, show off their brilliant wordsmithery as it becomes impossible not to fall for them by the end of the set. Given the closeness of the two indoor stages, the sound from the Bloc stage threatens to bleed into the room from now and again (a problem that occurs a number of times throughout the weekend) but the pair power on manfully.
Elsewhere, KLOE and Be Charlotte are part of the pop contingent on show. The former is more than up for the occasion in spite of a quiet audience, gyrating across the stage to her atmospheric synth-pop tunes which are full of big drops like on ‘Grip’ and ‘Teenage Craze’. New song ‘The Bottle’ is an upbeat, radio-friendly number made for summer and full of loud percussion. Meanwhile, Be Charlotte, aka Charlotte Brimner, battles against early sound problems to put on one of the performances of the weekend in front of an impressively big crowd at the Bloc Stage. The addition of her two band members have bolstered her live performance, making it something hugely unique, innovative and dynamic; it’s pop music with a twist, bringing digital and live elements together to great effect. With great control of her wonderful vocals, she’s able to bring spoken word, hip-hop and pop influences together, with the set culminating with the brilliant recent single ‘Discover’.
She can be seen later on the same stage, appearing with Louie and the Lochbacks; a side-project led by Hector Bizerk frontman Louie alongside members of Pronto Mama. It’s one of the most interesting live sets you’ll see at a festival, bringing together thought-provoking performance poetry with beautiful acapella vocals. The foursome are able to hold the room to a standstill with darker moments about personal struggle or getting laughs and cheers on the clever and witty ode to Scotrail or ‘wannabes’. A difficult timeslot for such an act but they pull it off, brilliantly.
Naturally, the headline acts don’t disappoint; WHITE are band of the weekend for this GIGsoup writer. Their art-rock, eighties inspired sound goes down a storm with the crowd, giving them one of the best receptions of the festival. It’s impossible not to get caught up in anthems like ‘Living Fiction’, full of catchy guitar riffs and driving percussion. Meanwhile, Leo Condie, stylish as ever, owns the stage in a white leather jacket as the band more than justify their Saturday night slot.
Nineties Scottish heroes Idlewild close the main stage with a hit-packed, lightshow spectacular with some new material showing promise of a bright future. For those wanting to verge away from the mainstream however, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 put on a fantastically mad show on the Bloc stage, featuring sparkly helmets, a hell of a lot of crowd surfers and a dance off. With a combination of bass and brass, they play with a number of genres, influenced by reggae and the likes of Primal Scream and Happy Mondays, while ‘The Colonel’ directs the madness from the front. A perfect way to the end the festival.
Aside from a couple of teething issues, it’s another hugely successful year for Brew at the Bog. A festival with good community spirit, good food, good drink and more importantly, good music; I recommend you give it a go.
This Brew at the Bog review was written by Suzanne Oswald, a GIGsoup contributor.
Photos by Jason Pickering.