Citadel Festival 2019: Gunnersbury Park Gifted With The Unsung Hero of The One-dayer Circuit

This Sunday, Citadel Festival returned once again to host the freshest and biggest names in the alternative world.

Sharing the same site as Lovebox, the DJ decks were hidden away and guitars brought out to party at an overcast but sticky Gunnersbury Park.

Over on the Main Stage, an early highlight came in the form of the fierce trio, Dream Wife. Lead singer Rakel Mjoll contorted and jittered about the stage, with Alice Go and Bella Popadec shredding moody chords underneath to land a performance full of angst and endearing power.

The female group finished with ‘Somebody’, with the mantra “I am not my body, I am somebody” tying in nicely with the themes of last weekend’s Pride parade in the capital.

In the DIY tent, Irish punk-rockers Fontaines D.C. cranked up the heat with the most energetic set of the day. Grian Chatten, the imposing frontman, stood with his hands in his pocket as he goaded the crowd as his band steamed through a frenetic set that finished on the emphatic anthem ‘Boys In The Better Land’.  His stance and aura onstage make it impossible not to think back to Ian Curtis.

This was arguably the best set of the day, as the Irish outfit sent the crowd walking out of the tent in a shared astonishment and collective sweat.

With the clouds dissipating, Bastille were on hand to pull a huge crowd with their brand of made-for-radio Indie pop. ‘Pompeii’ and their popularised cover ‘Of The Night’ delivered the festival love, as Dan Smith was joined onstage by almost every instrument imaginable.

With Bears Den packing out the Communion tent as the sun set, the crowd squeezed the one day event for all it was worth, with many of the faces looking like they were hell-bent on making the most of a Monday off of work.

Back over on the Main Stage, Friendly Fires poured their tropical indie juice into Citadel, with Ed Macfarlane turning things up with his customary body-popping.

Meanwhile, Jade Bird proved why she has topped so many “ones to watch” lists this year with a charismatic and spirited set.

Now for Catfish and The Bottlemen. The Welsh outfit – with a recent third album added to their repertoire of stadium anthems – were the most apt of choices for a summer one-day festival headliner.

In a 90 minutes set, Van McCann and his band of slick rockers proved their professionalism and showed  why they are increasingly becoming a shoe-in choice for headliner slots up and down the country.

A set made up of heart-rate busters ‘Kathleen’, ‘Cocoon’, ‘Soundcheck’ and newbies ‘Longshot’ and ‘2all’, Catfish were relentless in packing their slot to the brim with tune after tune and sheer magnitude and readiness for the occasion.

When all you want is music rather than opinion from an artist, there is no band better than Catfish and The Bottlemen for serving up cold-hard guitar bliss.