East London’s Victoria Park is usually a calm and tranquil place, but not today as 10,000 14-18 year olds descended on the park for a day of the hottest new bands to some of the industries most established acts.
The first band of the day were Manchester four piece Egyptian Hip Hop who played a half hour set in the Topman tent. After a year and a half of shooting gigs and festivals I have been accustomed to the usual rules of ‘three songs, no flash’, but after the bands third song security didn’t seem bothered by my presence in the pit and didn’t usher me out, this happened for the rest of the day, fantastic!
The next band on my agenda were Northern Irish band General Fiasco who put on an extremely energetic performance which was on par with shooting Dananananaykroyd and the Youth Music tent that they were playing in seemed to suit their sound perfectly. Songs from their debut album Buildings were greatly received.
Stornoway played to a packed out Topman tent. Oozing with charm and exuberance, the band played songs from their debut album Beachcomber’s Windowsill which was well received by the audience. Later in the set, singer Brian Briggs had a joke about several ASBO’s that had been handed out to people, but in particular someone who played Dolly Parton loudly every day from dawn ‘til dusk and a man from Northampton who is banned from wearing a skirt.
After settling down in the hospitality area and being £6 lighter after buying the driest piece of chicken on the driest piece of bread, I noticed a drone in the background and I thought it could only be Hadouken!; a band who I have intensely disliked since the release of their first album 3 years ago and three years on I still can’t understand why this band are still around. The audience seemed to like them though, as cheers aroused when they finished each song, but its not for me I’m afraid.
Everything Everything have had quite a lot of hype surrounding them lately – and I have to say that they live up to it! Their synth-pop was greatly received during their half hour set in the Youth Music tent and I can’t wait to hear more from this band.
I had been looking forward to seeing The Courteeners all day (yay!) and made a special point to see them. Frontman Liam Fray looked increasingly frustrated with the sound from the start of the bands set but I have to say that the sound at Vicky park has never been great, but that didn’t stop the band putting on a fantastic performance that included “Not Nineteen Forever” and “You Overdid It Doll”.
After their set I rushed off (and had a quick memory card change) to see Ellie Goulding who I have to say has an astounding voice and despite being 20 minutes late on stage she certainly made up for it as the Topman tent was once again packed to the rafters for the Hereford songstress who played a blinding set including “Starry Eyed”, “The Writer”, “Guns and Horses” and “Lights”.
M.I.A ended the day with a massive headline performance, but she was drowned out by her bass sound system and even her calls the audience to ‘make some noiiise!’ were drowned out. Everyone that was watching still had their hands in the air and seemed to enjoy her performance.
When school is back and their teachers are asking them what they got up to this summer, I’m sure many of the crowd at Underage will be enthusiastic to recount their festival experiences of seeing MIA and co. An enjoyable day was had by all and it will be interesting to see what next years Underage Festival will bring.
© Lauren Towner, Music Vice
Pictures from Underage Festival 2010