Leeds Music Scene

Gig review of Dan Croll + Lulu James + Esben and The Witch + Thumpers + Egyptian Hip Hop + Big Deal

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Reviewed on 22nd August 2013.


Dan Croll

Live at Beacons Festival 2013 on Thursday, 22nd August 2013

Beacons Festival 2013 - Day One

Jimmy the imposter went strolling into a festival, through the back door, in the early afternoon sunshine. Lush fields and rolling hills in every direction: it felt more like a Sunday walk in a verdant beauty spot than a festival. The boot full of alternative layers and replacement clothing reminded him why he was there though - even if he was a day tripper.

The sound and colour hit me as we approached the main arena. What a place! Sadly the distance between the "ELFM" tent and the "Loud and quiet" and "You need to hear this" stages soon meant my ambitious quota for gigs was going to have to take a hit for me to catch full sets. Reluctantly I struck a couple of my list and cracked on. Big Deal were nothing to write home about but I've listened to some stuff since and maybe it was just too big a space for them to fill. Egyptian Hip Hop raised the bar a few notches shortly afterwards though and restored my confidence that the day was set to improve. The big surprise was a band I hadn't planned on seeing. Thumpers had a brilliant and fun presence and were everything an afternoon set should be. Diverse influences channelling Arcade Fire, Yeasayer, Peter Gabriel and a host of others in between and beyond; they were the first band I needed to know more about.

Esben and The Witch blew my socks off and eardrums away shortly after. I love bands where percussion is as important to the instrumentation as it is to the rhythm and their guy definitely played a big part in forming the energy and pulse of their set. Disappointment followed though after we grabbed a front row view of Lulu James. What a diva! There were actual tantrums in the direction of the poor guy (best afro since the late Baby Huey) for bad levels in the mix. I was really looking forward to seeing her sing - she has a great voice - but her "performance" soured things and the songs all started sounding a bit samey which didn't help matters either.

The day ended on a high though with Dan Croll and his band. A brilliant set throughout and I was a happy new convert to his charms. Despite some annoyingly overenthusiastic fans jostling for a space as close to their idol as is humanly possible when the entire crowd is in fact separated by a six foot press pit - it was the best thing I heard all day.



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Big Deal