Manchester classics and a strong supporting bill arrive in Middlewich, Getintothis’ Jim Climatechange enjoys a day out in the Cheshire sunshine.
The industrial revolution, canals and Roman archaeology – all things associated with Middlewich.
Yet it’s one weekend each year when the town comes alive with several days of noise that this sleepy east Cheshire town wakes up to the sound of music.
Formed in 1990, FAB Festival has outgrown its roots as a traditional folk festival which has hosted the likes of Lindisfarne, and in recent years has grown to a four-dayer with the likes of Lightning Seeds playing the event.
For the 2018 affair, three days of free music was boosted with Joy Division and New Order legend Peter Hook headlining the event with three of the North West’s most promising new bands providing solid support.
A beautiful Friday afternoon, saw Pale Rider kick off proceedings with a sonic rocket blast shaking the slumber from those gathered on the field’s grass. Seemingly intent on pushing the sound generators to capacity they ripped through a six-song set including ferocious hook-laden single I Run On Rain and a devastating closing track which proved as potent as the Arthurian pints being served in the real ale tent.
The Mysterines are Merseyside music’s worst kept secret. The band with zero online presence, and no music to listen to either, tour through a brief set which vigour and riffs to burn. With the main stage sound once again struggling to match the musicianship of the band, it was left to the trio to simply rip it up in characteristic fashion before passing on the baton to Deja Vega; another trio enjoying room in the spotlight.
With heavy national airplay, the Deja Vega lads are proving quality and persistence does pay off – having slogged themselves around the circuit over the last few years, they’re enjoying the rewards now with strong billings across the festival circuit and backing on the likes of 6 Music. Their kraut-infused, taut aggressive rock and roll is as infectious as it is pummeling on the senses.
With dusk arriving, so to does Peter Hook and his band The Light – clearly in little mood to mess about they unleash 90 minutes of stone-cold classics; from New Order‘s Blue Monday, True Faith and Bizarre Love Triangle through to Joy Division‘s more muscular Isolation, She’s Lost Control and a mighty Disorder. With the crowd singing every word back, it’s left to Hooky to round things off with a triumphant Love With Tear Us Apart to round off a cracking day out in Cheshire.
Pictures by Getintothis’ Lucy McLachlan and Peter Guy