Originally posted on Noise Cannon (joint piece with another journo): http://noisecannon.com/2015/05/31/common-people-festival-review-2015-part-one/
Upon entering Southampton’s Common, a place usually reserved for strolls in the sun or a run in the park, we feel as if we’ve been transported into another world entirely. The sun is shining, there are colourful flags decorating the skyline and an abundance of different foods, and fashion and activity stalls are scattered among the different stages.
Festival fever has hit Southampton in the form of (the first ever) Common People, which offers a taste of the Bestival spirit from curator Rob Da Bank. The Common opens itself up to musicians and DJs from around the world, and from local bands to legends, Southampton is in for a very special bank holiday weekend. It’s quirky, it’s fun, it’s really bloody entertaining, and we can’t wait for the next one. Here’s our lowdown of the very first day of the very first Common People that has left us hungry for more…
Earning a slot on the Uncommon Stage through a Battle of the Bands competition was one victory, proving themselves on the day was another. Bel Esprit’s astounding surges of energy in all the right places contribute to a set in which each song out does the previous, and they certainly don’t do things by halves. Blending the modern indie sound with elements of classic rock, they serve the audience with an edge of confidence and a sense of togetherness as their energy bounces off each other.
GEORGE THE POET
Now this is a guy who can transition smoothly from the deep and meaningful to a fun-filled attitude. George the Poet flows delicately between rapping, talking to the crowd, and performing spoken word pieces. One minute he’s preaching about the government and education, the next he’s spitting out a cliché love song. George the Poet is a difficult man to figure out, with some people dancing and others simply listening intently, he keeps us on our toes. Though not always necessarily family friendly, he caters for the majority of people there, at least if only for one song at a time.
Coming on rather unassumingly, there’s no telling on what these guys are about to do on stage. However, as the first chord strikes there’s attitude and angst and whole lot of energy to come. The music is both loud and on point, dominating the small tent and drawing people in for more than just some booze from the bar. Frontman Chris Peden seems to have a thing for wearing his guitar as a hat between songs as he stares out into the crowd, checking up on the mosh pit in the middle, watching people go crazy to his band’s very own songs. A broken string later and the energy is still going thick and fast, with intensified vocals wrenched from Peden’s very soul keeping spirits alive as the first day of the festival approaches the evening
Closing the Uncommon Stage with some dreamy indie melodies, Jaws serve as a relaxing break from the crowd across the field who are in eat, sleep, rave, repeat mode with Fat Boy Slim. It’s more of an intimate end to the Saturday night with their warming performance of a sound that sits somewhere between The Cure and The Drums – bringing the old with the new. Technical issues are forgiven as the rest of their music sways through the tent, emitting a glow of delicate energy with a powerful undertone. Nothing stands out as significantly memorable, nevertheless, Jaws’ set is tight, lovingly soothing, and mesmerising, spreading warmth through the tent.