With the BBC 6Music festival steamrolling into the weekend at Camp and Furnace Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett was down early for an excellent afternoon of music and chat.
Since the announcement on Lauren Laverne‘s Breakfast Show that Liverpool was to hold the BBC 6Music Festival there’s been an intoxicating buzz around the city. And with tickets for today’s session at Camp and Furnace selling out immediately we had to make sure we were down early to get decent vantage point.
The vibrancy around the area hits us as soon as we land, this also due to the added dimension of the Baltic Triangle hosting Threshold Festival across the weekend.
With a healthy number of people making their way through the door on first opening we managed to grab a quick recce of the layout before of the space filled. Furnace providing the main stage to showcase the bands, with benches set out in Camp for the discussion panels.
A quick sift through the mightily impressive array of vinyl on offer before getting drawn to an equally appealing selection of cakes to spoil ourselves. Mother’s Day note made not to leave without one of each!
Onto the main stage and introductions from Tom Robinson, before handing to Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie to bring in BC Camplight for a 12.00 start.
Manchester based multi-instrumentalist BC Camplight (Brian Christinzio) stock has risen rapidly over the past 12 months, fresh from touring with White Demin including a stop at Liverpool’s O2 Academy, and on the back of his 2018 much acclaimed album Deportation Blues his fanbase is growing (and gladly becoming younger as he points out) with each performance.
Starting with album title track it’s a truly dramatic opening with deep pounding base that plays a part throughout the full set. Midnight Ease segued into Fire in England before closing off with a powerful rendition of I’m Desperate. Christinzio is fascinating viewing on stage, humorous, commanding, charismatic and even operatic at times, a fine start to the day’s offerings.
They’re all watching BC Camplight that’s why pic.twitter.com/53Lz4nNLCm
— Mark Radcliffe (@themarkrad) March 30, 2019
A quick dash next door allows us to catch Islington born rapper Little Simz speaking with Lauren Laverne. Currently riding an exciting wave after releasing her excellent third studio album Grey Area this month, there’s some big noise surrounding her.
The UK female Rap & Hip Hop scene is bursting with talent right now, with the likes of Ms Banks, Stefflon Don & Flohio leading the way in a typically male dominant genre. Whilst artists such as Stormzy, Skepta and AJ Tracey have hogged the mainstream limelight recently the tides could well be changing in the right direction.
Little Simz pulls in a large crowd for her chat, speaking eloquently she draws on her musical influences from her mother’s love of Fela Kuti, noting the Yoruba led vocals resonates and inspires within her own sound, other influential tips went to Missy Elliot, Tupac and The Fugees. As busy as she is following the album she’s talks about enjoying juggling the music with her acting career letting slip of an upcoming series to be brought out on Netflix.
Signed to 6Music stalwart Giles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label, Skinny Pelembe is undoubtedly an artist to keep an eye on right now. Having dropped 3 EP’s to date on the label, the Johannesburg born, Doncaster raised singer, MC and producer is a joy to watch perform.
Beautiful string sections was on the agenda for Pelembe’s set. His style pleases, with a scintillating blend of Neo-Soul to Afrobeat and a hint of psych. Gorgeous harmonies sail through 2018’s single Not Your Friend, Not Your Enemy. Pelembe’s subtle lead vocals almost act as a fill-in for the wonderful musical connection between him and the band. There’s a hypnotic elegance in his sound throughout, before raising the tempo with latest single No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish.
Having barely drawn breath following the recent Move Through the Dawn tour, James Skelly, Paul Duffy, Nick Power, Ian Skelly, Jack Prince & Paul Molloy take to the stage introduced by Craig Charles. No strangers to headlining festivals within their hometown, last year’s Skeleton Cost Festival as well as 2016’s Sound City seen The Coral take centre stage.
Drawing understandably the biggest crowd of the day, the band get their set away with Sweet Release, an all out crowd pleasing choice on setlist ensued including Jacqueline, with old favourites, Pass It On and Bill Mccai pulling the loudest cheers.
— Stuart Maconie (@StuartMaconie) March 30, 2019
A fantastically instrumental exchange during Goodbye displays their ever evolving sound, delighting all before rounding off with Dreaming of You.
We stick around the main stage for the final act of the day, and glad we did for a rapturous set from London based three-piece The Comet Is Coming.
Fronted by Sons of Kemet lead Shabaka Hutchings, these a band on the verge of reaching he duly deserved breakthrough heights. Backed by synth and keys maestro Dan Leavers, and drummer Max Hallet their sound is undeniably original, gloriously complex with unorthodox sax and synth sections, this is Jazz on a whole different level.
— Paul Diggory (@paulwdiggory) March 30, 2019
Signed to the prestigious Impulse Records sharing this accolade with none other than John Coltrane they are mesmerising on stage, their style evokes a nauseous spill over between conventional jazz, to break beat, to deep electronic in the best possible way, the packed room are now in full dance mode throughout the performance.
Who’d have thought a couple of years ago a Jazz band would be closing off a festival session, but this is a new era for Jazz music and Shabaka Hutchings with his extraordinary bands are certainly leading the way.
Images by Getintothis’ Kevin Barrett