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Festival Review: 2Q

5th April 2017

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Despite an abundance of local talent there has been a festival-sized hole in the Derby music calendar. Last year 2Q emerged to fill that hole with a multi-venue, musical crawl around the city.

Returning for 2017 the festival added new venues (up to 10) and a more solid line-up for its more than reasonable ticket price. Its growing reputation for bringing established bands into intimate settings (sometimes too intimate for the size of the band, but scheduling issues can be resolved over time) has been further solidified by this year’s event.

Idles at 2q festival

IDLES at Vines Bar, Derby (Lindsay Melbourne)

Early on in the Hairy Dog grunge-revivalists Autumn Diet Plans drew an impressive crowd for the time of day with their recreation of second-wave alt-rock from the 90s. As a young band their aping of the post-Nirvana alt-rock explosion is less nostalgic copying but more a band channelling a sound from a by-gone time that personally they missed. A bevy of big riffs and fuzzy distortion lifted up the pained vocals to good effect. The silver suited tambourine player may have seemed out of place with the carefully created grunge aesthetic but added a strange focal point to the performance. With the talent on show this is a band that, as they find their own sound, could be incredible.

Eyre Llew filled the expanse of the Venue with ethereal post-rock sounds. Their intricate soundscapes built on echoed guitar tones, strums and piano keys was lovely to immerse yourself in but lacked bite. Nothing about the band’s sound is out of place, but with the polished performance it lacks the ebbs , flows and rough edges that makes some of the best post rock so engaging live. All in all it is very, very nice but not life-changing.

It might not have been billed that way but the main event of 2Q 2017 was the packed-out performance from IDLES in the tiny, upstairs room at Vines Bar. In a maelstrom of punk fury, front-man Joe Talbot stalked the stage like a man possessed, snarling at crowd, the band and the world. Played with full on passion and wild abandon IDLES connected the audience’s righteous anger to something greater.

Each and every person in the packed venue were goaded into a response as furious mosh-pits exploded involving all genders, ethnicities and ages in a unifying celebration of anger as a gift. As it got out of hand Talbot leaped off-stage conducting the pit into something safer, possibly preventing injury before surfing the crowd round the venue.

Each tune was as vital as the next and each with a clear message of both disgust and hope. IDLES are the best rock band in the UK right now and it is essential to see them live.

It’s a hard task for any band to follow IDLES but Muncie Girls managed it better than most. There set was a perfectly good run of pop-punk tunes with a more intellectual, feminist, millennial air. Closer ‘Respect’ is by far the stand-out tune - a brilliantly delivered feminist anthem for the pop punk crowd.

Alcopop records signings Tigercub is a band which, on record, have the underlying potential to be massive, channelling the fuzz of grunge, through the stoner rock of the Queens of The Stone Age and polishing it off with a dark pop finish. Live the three-piece delivered on this promise with half-an-hour of massive tunes. 2Q could well boast an intimate outing from a band that will take off in the next year or so.

Nottingham alt-rock trio Kagoule proved exactly why they are one of the best alt-rock live bands in the UK at the moment with an enthralling set. ‘Glue’ was the most anthemic of all the day’s music offerings, sounding both familiar and strangely unique. Kagoule are just brilliant and prove that fact easily.

Unfortunately, they clashed with the excellent The Big Moon and catching the last two songs in the completely lit-up The Bluenote, a fact that created a very strange atmosphere for a gig. Nonetheless the band delivered, over those two songs, with a captivating live rendition of their bubblegum, surf-rock inspired indie. Damn the clashes.

That left Leeds rock rabble-rousers Pulled Apart By Horses to top off the day in the Hairy Dog. Exploding in a mass of crushing riffs, hair and sweat the band were relentless with their full-throttle heavy rock. There’s little nuance and next to no hidden depths in their sound but it was rock how it should be delivered – loud, fast and without giving a fuck.

All in all 2Q brought a well-organised day of brilliant guitar-led talent to the city of Derby (let’s see if they expand the genres next year) and if they continue could become an annual boutique festival pilgrimage for people looking to discover vital new bands.

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