By now if you’re a music fan you’ve begun to plan your holidays around whichever of this year’s music festivals you’ve decided to hit. Whether you’re a fan of Metal, your probably creaming over this year’s Download Line up, or if your much more mainstream nowadays you’ll be down with the cool kids at Reading, throw in the mash-up of mainstream artist at this years Isle of white and for the more adventurous of us you’ll be thinking Sjock or Hellfest or even both.


Sometimes you’ll even be sick of the thought of a festival if you’ve followed the Hard Rock franchise and already attended HRH Prog, HRH AOR, HRH Punk and whatever else they’ve churned out over the course of a year.  For yours truly I’m more into the underground, the new bands, the variety of styles so over the last few years I’ve travelled up to the big Smoke to Camden Rocks and been surprised caught by something new every year , trouble is it ends up costing me a fortune in merchandise or new vinyl, because after all it’s the only way sometimes the bands can make a decent amount of money from the day. I’ve ended up deep in Conversation with Paul Ronney Angel (sadly not playing this year), talked music with Brandy Row and been blown away by one of the most unassuming singers I’ve ever met Suzie Stapleton.


And that’s a good place to pick up ones to watch with the Afore-mentioned Suzie Stapleton, playing Sunday this year around the 4 O’clock mark, with a new LP due to drop, if the last single Negative Prophet is anything to go by it’s going to be a stunning performance, whether its acoustic or with her band you will be blown away if you like your music in the vein of PJ Harvey, Patti Smith et’al then this ones for you.

Another band I’ll be bouncing along to are the Mighty Random Hand, now if you love your Ska with a heavy punk influence this will be where the party starts. And definitely one to tick off my current bucketlist.


Sticking with the Sunday The Virgin Mary’s are really kicking up some serious interest with a sound firmly set in the underground, these guys put on one of the best live shows your likely to encounter, I should know I’ve caught them a few times already.


As I’m looking at the line up I’m thinking How could this not excite you? Why wouldn’t you go? Others on Sunday I’m heading for? Discharge, (It’s been a while), The Last Internationale, and hopefully Millie Manders and the shut up, again one on my current bucketlist.!!!


As with every year the enormity of the task facing any reviewer is the sheer volume of bands playing and if you think over 400 bands are playing across 20 venues, there will be clashes a plenty when time slots are allocated. The other thing to think about, if your going, is that some of the venues have limited capacity so allow yourself time to get a space. I would suggest you queue overnite to catch RPM faves The Hip Priests these guys are clawing their way out of the underground into the greater consciousness kicking and screaming but refusing to bend, change their attitude or take one step backwards, these guys will be anyone’s highlight of the weekend guaranteed. Welcome to Shit Island Indeed!!!! Get over and order the new LP if you love it hard and fast Stand for Nothing!!!!


Now add in Bands like the media darlings of the underground press Hands off Gretel (It helps to have a blinding live show) again a band with a new LP to push. Plus other female fronted bands like The Healthy Junkies and The Duo that really splits the press in terms of  Imagery The Soap Girls, musically they can’t be faulted a great garage punk noise.


Other bands to Consider shifting focus to the Saturday completely a rare outing for Warrior Soul, do I really need to say how important this band is when you talk about attitude, edge, image and how ground breaking they were when they first hit the public’s attention straight in the face.


Then we have yet another RPM fave, Glunk Records own Rich Ragany and the Digressions,  immerse yourself in the LP Like we’ll never make it one of the best LP’s of the last year, you can pick it up here


But don’t take it as gospel give them a listen


Other’s I’ll be looking to catch, Ginger Wildheart will be a must, The Professionals, the Angelic Upstarts and a personal fave New Model army currently working on the follow up to one of the best LP’s they’ve ever recorded Winter.


Even salivating about some of the bands I’ve mentioned so far what I always enjoy is discovering something new, last year it was a band called Sleep Token, music after all is a personal journey, everyone’s taste varies, changes, mutates and adapts to whatever situation we find ourselves in, so this year I’ll be looking lower down the list, checking out potentially the next big thing, you never know, so Brain Ape, Alive with eyes, The Black Roses, looking forward to checking you out live


If you’ve read through, hopefully perked up your interest, maybe watching a video has led to you exploring some more of the bands back catalogue I’ll see you in the Pit somewhere, if your taste runs to the more metallic, then you’ll be going in a very different direction but remember taste is very much a personal thing, the important thing is to be there, soak up the atmosphere and most importantly enjoy the experience.

Author: Nev Brooks