“Second season syndrome” was nowhere to seen on what was a scorching Sunday in North London, as Community Festival made its return to Finsbury Park a year to that day that it first stepped onto the London festival scene.
With a brilliant line-up and at a cheerfully cheap price and the best summer sun Blighty has been blessed with in years, the crowd were in true festival spirit.
Most faces in the crowd must have either thanked the heavens that they booked the following day off, or planned out a Monday sickie as they guzzled down cold beer.
Occupying the same site as Liam Gallagher and Queens of The Stone Age events in the previous days, Community bounced back into town with Two Door Cinema Club and The Vaccines leading the way.
Two Door pulled out all of the stops for this show, with classics Undercover Martyn and What You Know refuelling the crowd after an energy-sapping day. There was literally fireworks as they brought the curtain down on a great day.
The Vaccines, arguably a better fit as headliner, smashed the Main Stage apart, as the penultimate act on the bill.
The young crowd reminisced with Wetsuit and If You Wanna and rejoiced in the certified tunes from their latest album, Combat Sports.
Your Love is My Favourite Band and Out On The Street, were two highlights from the new five-man set-up.
Justin Young knows exactly how to have fun onstage, and dragged the crowd along with him for the ride, in typical fashion.
He looked beyond contented with what was a supercharged performance, as he quickly headed backstage for a drink in the sun.
The short distance between Main Stage and the N4 Stage was so welcome on this sweaty day as short gaps between sets required marching between the two.
Both Waves on show – Pale and Circa – brought their respective singalong grooves to Finsbury Park, and to brilliant effect.
Pale Waves’ glittery Goth pop seems to churn out the type of songs that will make you smile through a heartbreak.
Seeing them perform live is a completely different experience, the full force and thudding in their sound lost on record is unlocked by the effortless cool of frontwoman Heather Baron-Gracie, polished by the helping hand of The 1975’s Matt Healy production of tunes, particularly Television Romance.
Circa Waves, with the most fitting song on the day, T-Shirt Weather, played out the big hitters from their debut album Young Chasers, and kicked the crowd into an Indie-triggered frenzy.
Whilst tracks from last year’s Different Creatures carry more of a guitar-laden power, it seems they do not carry quite the same levels of magic as the earlier releases.
Other acts that impressed on the Main Stage were Ratboy and Sundara Karma.
Ratboy owned the stage, with his outrageous scribble of neon blue hair hanging over his head as he spat his way through sharp lyrics.
He definitely brought his A-game for this set, as he emitted a “siege mentality” in asking fans to root themselves deep within the familiar stories in each song.
Sundara Karma drew an impressive crowd, in what was an early slot.
Lead singer Oscar rocked a new set of “bangs”, along with huge hoop earrings that danced in the mid-afternoon sun, and a pleated skirt (perhaps in ode to the builders that last week dodged on-site rulings against shorts in the heat by donning similar female attire).
Huge songs She Said, Loveblood and Explore reminded the crowd of the irresistibly harmonious nature of the boys from Reading.
They are the real treasure of current British music.
One of the best acts across the day was Bad Sounds.
The gang from Bath put on a great show over on the N4 Stage, as the crowd did their best to ignore the urge to dance to their tantalising beats.
These urges could not be sidestepped and the crowd were soon bouncing with energy, and wiping sweat from places they never thought possible.
GIGsoup were lucky enough to catch a word with frontmen and brothers Sam and Ewan backstage, fresh from the performance…
Today was your first festival appearance of the year. The weather was definitely on your side today, do you think that hard a big part to play?
Ewan – It’s a hard one because everyone was dead from the heat….we had to will ourselves back into energy but I feel like the crowd were with us on that!
Callum, you’ve now changed again from what you were wearing onstage….why on earth did you choose a boiler suit in this heat?!
Callum – I feel uncomfortable in shorts onstage….I have a real thing against shorts and never wear them…but I had to today!
In terms of your sound, it is so hard to put a label on you guys. Having seen you today, a lot more of a funk sound comes out live. Is that something you go for?
Callum: I think it’s really hard for journos to quantify bands. I think you have to describe a band in a way that people can relate it to. We have had all sorts of labels….
Is there any labels you have been given, that you cannot stand?
Callum: We really hate ‘Indie Funk!’
Ewan: We are quite separate. We don’t need a label! Before we were doing this, I was making straight-up hip-hop, where I would take parts of songs and put that in my own, I guess that is what we do too.
You guys have a big list of dates coming up, including some big festival appearances, such as Truck Festival, Y Not and Reading and Leeds. Are there any on your radar as the ‘big one’?
Ewan: Reading will be cool! Our album comes out the week before so it will be the first time we are playing those new songs, so we are looking forward to seeing how that feels!
Yes! The new album, Get Better….it has been a couple years of building up to it. Are you proud of how it has turned out?
Callum: We are really proud of it! I just want people to like it. I feel that albums sometimes come out and people will like them for a week, then get bored of it straight after. We thought about that when we were making it, that we wanted it to last and for people to like it in 10, 20 years’ time.
Community Festival was a great day out in the Big Smoke. It delivers the best in emerging talent and its size is big enough to have a sense of presence, but manageable not to leave you dead by the end of the day.