So, here we are again. Galtres Festival! One of Yorkshire’s finest gatherings of musical talent. The best in new stuff from Hull to York, with stages curated by the BBC and charitable organisations like The Arts Barge. All this, and it’s family-friendly too! From the beginning until the very end, come rain or shine Galtres caters to all music fans, more than any other festival we’ve been to this summer. This weekend, we see the best in everyone; from the elderly community singing on boats to punk, folk and indie bands all sharing in the spotlight with no pretension or pomp – Galtres is the true festival spirit. It is a festival for the people, and there’s some cider too. Good cider, and that’s just awesome.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 23
Getting straight into it after a full day of travelling, we rock into the Black Howl Stage to check in with Bull. Now, it’s well documented that when we first reviewed these guys we didn’t really “get” them, but with more listens, we have been really turned on to them. They make beautiful alternative indie that attacks the senses in the same way as early Pixies or The Pumpkins. Bull were made for big stages. Absolutely. Galtres 2013 marks our favourite show from this lot, and great things are on the horizon. As ever, the clear highlight of the set is ‘Newt’. Stunning.
Come on now, who the heck doesn’t love Reef (over on the main Duke Stage)? What? You’ve not heard of ’em? Place your hands up! Place your hands up! No? We’ll remind you in a sec with a nice video. We bet you’ve heard it before. Tenner? Anyhoo, Reef have a cult following in Brit-rock and tonight they prove themselves worthy of a Galtres headlining slot. Other hits like ‘Naked’, ‘Consideration’ and ‘Don’t You Like It?’ are powerful parts of the set, and the band’s energy throughout is admirable. The crowd here is impressive too – it just goes to show that good music fans still appreciate classic stuff. We’d love to see Reef again in York or one of the surrounding areas. Good ol’ fashioned late night party music. Yeah!
Nipping over to the BBC Unsigned Stage now, we are excited to experience La Petit Mort live properly for the first time ever. We’ve heard good things, of course. The music does sound brilliant on record, but nothing could prepare us for how mint this band is live. How we love big djembes, and LPM have ’em. We also love fuzzed up progressive rock, and this group of local lads do that very well too. Exceedingly well in fact. La Petit Mort have all the tools to do very well in the music industry, and not because they look good (they do dress well, actually…), or because their music is of a great standard, but more because of the effort they’re putting in – they’ve taken their show way beyond York, and made it a great spectacle that should be enjoyed on an international level. Good luck to you lads.
Next up, we head back to the Black Howl Stage to see A Joker’s Rage. This is proper rock music – with all the good stuff in it; massive guitar licks, sexy drum beats and a buttload of scary clown make-up – it’s like Kiss meets Insane Clown…no, it’s nothing like that. That’s bollocks, it’s like everything good from the last fifty years of rock and metal music mixed in with some colour and a great light show. This is one of our shows of the weekend, as we expected. Having already supported The Darkness, these boys are no strangers to a big audience. ‘Epiphany’ is our tune of the night and it has everybody jumping around like we’re at some kind of House Of Pain gig, or something…we’re not though. It’s Galtres, this is AJR and we are buzzing. What a great bloody show, and a great end to our first night. Ace!
SATURDAY, AUGUST 24
Oh, man. We’re still here, and we’re alive! Aliiiive! We start this thing off with an acoustic set from that mighty We Could Be Astronauts lot. We’ve been long time fans of this group, and it’s our belief that they deserve to be touring around the world right now. We’re glad to see them here at the Black Howl Stage this afternoon – there’s lots of long hair, and some great melody. This show sets the tone for the rest of the afternoon. We Could Be Astronauts play great music that’s geared toward all types of festival audience. This becomes very clear as three young children begin dancing around and enjoying the great sounds. One of, if not possibly the highlight of the weekend. Yorkshire starts them young, obviously! The best track from this set? It’s got to be the cover of ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd – that’s always a good option for a chilled out festival like this, and a great way to access old and new fans. Another highlight is ‘Lost At Sea…’ (a song about being a musician based in our fair city of York…) with it’s epic building chorus. It’s certainly a treat to hear this stripped down.
Following up we head over to the main Duke Stage where we go to see Laurel Canyons. While these guys have all the potential to do well in the future, their performance for this writer, today falls flat and where the other bands on this stage and bill look to be having a good time and enjoying themselves, Laurel Canyons seem to take themselves far too seriously.
Next up, we get a little bit of grunge action over at the Hull Takeover Oxman Stage from The Holy Orders, who channel everything from early Weezer to Nirvana within their raw and emotive sound. This band bleed passion through the vocal chords. It’s just proper raw, and damn good. If you’re into alternative rock, then we wholeheartedly recommend that you listen to some of the stuff from these East Yorkshire natives.
Sunderland’s Frankie & The Heartstrings grab us (not literally, mind) next and we are back over at the main stage for their charming set. With their Britpop-influenced sound, the band entertains the crowd and evokes great memories of powerful UK sounds. ‘Nothing Our Way’ stands out for us as part of one of the biggest surprises of our day. Since the band are also playing Reading And Leeds, we’re pretty impressed at the stamina being showcased. Awesome.
For something a little different now, we head over to The Arts Barge Project’s Stage so that we can see Alice Ostapjuk, and she is bloody brilliant. Completely charming and utterly adorable in her delivery of class indie-folk tunes, the music really works in this environment – the setting is perfect, and tracks like ‘Samuel’s Secret’ come across brilliantly.
We really cannot emphasise just how great Counting Coins are. This band are without question our favourites of the entire weekend. They bring the party and the folk and reggae-influenced noise in the most delightful way imaginable (a little bit like a Yorkshire Gogol Bordello – from pirate dancing (and getting the audience to dance as pirates). An absolutely fantastic show. We can’t wait to see this lot perform again. It looks like we’ll get chance too. They’re developing quite the following, and have been doing the rounds at various other notable fests (Blackpool’s Rebellion for one). Nice.
Neeeext, and we find ourselves back over at the Duke Stage for a headlining set from the mighty Northern monkeys that are Maximo Park. We’ve seen this lot in the UK countless times, as well as in Europe at Sziget Festival, they’re always impressive, and the songs are, as ever anthemic and upbeat. ‘The National Anthem’, ‘Books From Boxes’ and ‘Apply Some Pressure’ get the crowd going and for at least the length of this set they can forget any worries. Maximo may indeed be the North of England’s greatest indie band (and snappiest dressers), and an adoring festival like Galtres where all ages can appreciate their accessible sound is their ideal playground. If you get a chance, you really should see this band before you die. Always good fun.
Another surprise comes next for us, in the form of Leigh-based reggae outfit, Jeremiah Ferrari. These soon to be Soundspheremag favourites have such addictive material – it’s playful and innovative (which is still a compliment, even at a diverse festival such as Galtres). We’re proud to have caught this band today. They’re definitely going places. That’s a cliched statement for sure, so see and hear for yourself.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 25
It’s the last day of Galtres, and we fancy something a bit more chilled to start things off today. Checking out York local standouts Holly Taymar with Chris Bilton. Fortunately we find their soothing mix of jazz, folk and country tones (as part of the Sunday Sessions on The Black Howl Stage) totally healing. It’s just what anybody should need to start their day right, whether they’ve had more than a few beers the night before, or not. A highlight of the set is the group’s cover of Foster The People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’.
Following on, we fancy ourselves a lovely bit of Josephine And The Artisans’ weird and wonderful mix of classic, hip-hop, jazz and rock influences over at The Duke Stage. This London-based fusion band create something that really fits the vibe and mood of what Galtres is about – crossing genres and generally creating a quite fantastic racket. If and when they come up North again, it’ll be well worth your time to check them out.
And next we are back checking out Hull-based ska-funk band The Talks who are a welcome addition to the main stage today. What’s clear, is that this band is hugely proud of their hometown, and the efforts that it takes to succeed when you come from what was once voted as “the grimmest place to live in the UK”. The band dedicates some of its set to their home city, and songs like ‘Can’t Stand The Rain’ lift everyone’s mood and remain stuck in our head for the rest of the weekend. Hull’s greatest export since The Beautiful South? Maybe. One of the best bands to come out of Yorkshire in the last decade. For sure.
You’ve got to love …And The Hangnails (pictured)! I mean, you definitely would if you knew them. We know them, and we love them. Soon, you will too. ‘Fear Only Fear’ is always a great bet for an introductory tune and it goes down very well here today. This garage rock band have all the tools to fill the gap left by bands like Jet – we’d love to see them do some more tours! They seem to fit in easily on any rock bill, and can cope on any sized stage; that’s the mark of a great band. One of York’s best in the last decade for sure.
Oh man, what can we say about The Undertones? That they are bloody awesome, that’s what! There’s nothing like a feel good dose of this lot to put you in a great mood for the week ahead. ‘Teenage Kicks’ (obviously), and ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ are fantastic standouts of a great set that will go down in Galtres’ history as one of the best the festival has seen. Such infectious energy.
Another band that Soundsphere magazine loves with all its collective parts is Hope & Social – they’ve got to be the hardest working indie band in Yorkshire, right? They make incredible music that needs to be heard by millions, but we’ve been saying that for years. Today, armed to the teeth with wonderfully addictive tracks like ‘Darkness Now Is Coming’ and ‘Stuck Like Glue’ we are left, as ever spellbound by their own unique brand of piano rock. While we’re here, anybody remember Four Day Hombre? Google ’em. Trust me. Headlining next year, Galtres?
And so it has come to this. We are here. It’s the end, and we’re watching The Stranglers with their anthems that sound just as fresh now as they did when the band first started out. Besides all that, seeing ‘Golden Brown’ is a pleasure that every music fan should experience at least once in their life, ‘Peaches’ also has the crowd motivated and feeling awesome (once again, the age range of Galtres is fantastic – and there’s a very broad representation of audience on offer here). Absolutely brilliant stuff. Another band ticked off of our bucket list too!
Thank you Galtres for chilling us out. It never happens until we come and get our groove on with you. See you next year. Peace!