For the second day of ‘LeeFest Presents: The Neverland’, we from GIGsoup chose to start proceedings by checking out the main stage. Located in The Neverwoods, Bangarland stage was surrounded by The Lost Boy’s houses. The boys duly made an appearance- foxing the crowd with water pistols and engaging in tomfoolery with the pirates who had mysteriously appeared with the opening of the Skull Ridge area.
Peluché yet again got the live music rolling, but they had a lot more room to play with on the main stage. The lush harmonies filled the air as their audience amassed. The performance was as least as good as the day before. Rhapsody bopped around the stage with her bass, Amy’s cool vocals and buzzing melodic distorted keys melded with the surfy tones of Rhapsody’s singing. Sophie, on drums, synth and clarinet was a joy to watch as she effortlessly moved from one instrument to the next- underpinning it all with her impossibly relaxed drumming style. At points the time changes and juxtaposition of melody and garage pointed to the inventiveness of bands such as Throwing Muses.
We then headed to Tootle’s Tent to get a flavour of the second stage of LeeFest. The strains of The Bay Rays compelled us to enter. This is one band that are impossible to ignore- they look awesome with their rock stylings- bassist Anthus Davis was sporting a full leather jacket complete with tassels, bedecked with sunglasses and a headband- he meant business. The lead singer was flaunting his wears in flares and a cut off t-shirt. There were power stances galore. The band sound pretty great too with their 50s tinged punk rock- Harry Nichol, the lead singer does a mean line in a Jerry-Lee Lewis style vocal too. They sent shivers up our spines and rocked our world. Yet again, this is more local talent- almost spurning the question, which came first – LeeFest or the pool of great Kent bands?
The hot sun drew us back out of the tent to once again check out the main stage. exmagician played a gorgeous set full of harmony, psych break downs and outros of epic proportions. The band has the easiness of Teenage Fanclub, but with quite a bit more edge. They managed this despite not having a synth available- they heartily lamented a lack of Maplins in the South East saying they had to do a ‘challenge Annika’ earlier that day and failed. Well, the crowd would have had no idea anything was amiss as the duo went through key changes to make your heart break and grunge breakdowns that got gritty.
Liverpudlian’s Clean Cut Kid were up next. This is one adorable band – probably the cutest at LeeFest. They soon had all of the crowd dancing enthusiastically to their 80s afro-beat tinged tunes. Lead singer Mike Halls claimed that their new EP ‘We Used to be in Love’ was only 100 places beyond Beyonce- and invited the press to ‘smash that’!
Americana tinged ‘Brother of Mine’ provided a tuneful interlude from the bouncy pop while hit ‘Vitamin C’ closed the set on a true high. Their energy is inspirational as the whole band bounced as one, never missing a note, chord or beat.
Yet again, we sought some shade from the glorious sunshine and headed back to Tootle’s Circus to sample yet another local group. Get Inuit are as cheeky as it gets, however don’t be fooled- they are full of integrity and passion to back up the pure energy punch. The band can’t stand still and lead singer Jamie Glass adopts a wide stance whilst shuddering and jerking like a man possessed. ‘Wasting My Life’ was a high point featuring suitably self-deprecating lyrics combined with a body-convulsing grunge breakdown. They are nice boys though, Jamie announces “You all look good….. I was going to say ‘bitches’ but that’s rude. YOU ALL LOOK GOOD…people!’ Overall yet again, local bands do good at LeeFest- with a forthcoming single ‘Teriyaki’ and a tour supporting Spring King, this is a band that won’t be small for much longer.
Next up was Oscar– looking impeccable in a cool silver bomber jacket with stars and stripes features, this bedroom producer- come fashion designer- come performer wooed the crowd with his crooning tunes.
As the sun started to get a little lower in the sky and everything felt a bit more mellow, crowds started to gather for the ‘legend’ slot at LeeFest. Roots Manuva did not fail to impress, looking almost impossibly majestic in a camouflage poncho and white visor, he duly owned Bambarang with his impressive band. One of the great things about attending great medium sized festival like this is getting to see a name like Roots with a smallish crowd. No person was left out as our bodies were rocked by closer ‘Witness the Fitness.’
Meanwhile on the other side of the site, Skull Ridge was open for business- this no man’s land was filled with punk-loving pirates and beat-adoring steam punk cowboys. The Goldmine was another excellent venue for the dance music crowd- the bowl shaped arena allowed the modestly loud tunes to bounce off the walls, creating an intimate and exciting dance floor. A pylon at the front proved a great podium for posturing pirates to flaunt their moves.
Nearby Hooks Rock was a very intimate stage for all that was heavy at LeeFest. This tiny venue played host to some of the grittiest loudest and most extreme noise at the festival. GIGsoup managed to catch headliners Dinosaur Pileup– at one point they had the crowd moshing and chanting “Nature….Nurture”… this strange philosophical interlude brought the energy up until an epic mosh pit erupted.
With the live music over for the night, we at GIGsoup checked out some of the lit hula hooping and juggling on display on the side of The Goldmine. Yet again, LeeFest proved to be a festival with plenty going on. Before we lay our sweet heads down for the night, to prepare ourselves for the final day of revelry, we stumbled into a tiny tent where Dan De Lion was spinning some breakcore and jungle. After rocking our bodies to his beats with some of the lost boys, we duly head to the communal fire pit before hitting the hay.
This Leefest article was written by Fraisia Dunn, a GIGsoup contributor.