Fight Like Apes prove thie highlight of Friday at Kendal Calling

Kendal Calling 2009 review

published: Thu 6th Aug 2009

Fight Like Apes

Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August 2009
Lowther Estate, Kendal, East Cumbria, England MAP
£70 - SOLD OUT
last updated: Mon 27th Jul 2009

In it's fourth year and third home, Kendal Calling is shaping up to be a wonderful little festival, and a definite highlight of the North West music scene. After apparently biblical conditions at last year's event, the festival relocated to Lowther Deer Park, on the outskirts of Penrith, and it may just prove to be one of the best ideas in this young festival's short history.

around the festival site (2)
The park itself is a delight of a site. With patches of forest, rolling hills and an abundance of space, it is seemingly the perfect small festival location, and the omens were good before the first guitar had been plugged in.

Kicking off on the Main Stage were brass orchestra with attitude, Riot Jazz, who's bold takes on jazz and funk standards were the perfect way to kick off the festival in the early evening sunshine.

The close proximity of the stages meant that sampling a little of everything the festival had to offer was by no means impossible, and it was this proximity which led me to drop into the We Are Calling Stage to find Mazzoni playing to a packed tent, and for good reason. Their ballsy, bluesy indie had the early crowds dancing, and with tunes such as 'Don’t Look To Me For Your Answers' under their belt, the Whitehaven fourpiece were an early treat.

Captain Hotknives
Describing Captain Hotknives is easy – all you need to do is list a few song titles – 'Johnny Depp Wi Me Bird', 'Anti-Gravity Cats' and 'I Skanked Me Nana' are just a few of the numbers we were treated to during his all too short set on the Kaylied Stage, which kept a respectable crowd laughing throughout. What Captain Hotknives lacks in musical aptitude, he more than makes up in humour and warmth.

Goldie Lookin Chain
Your reviewer has long made a habit of avoiding Goldie Lookin' Chain, mainly due to the fact that whenever I have heard them they have made me want to give up music forever. However, with little else on at the same time, and a photographic obligation to service, I found myself in front of the Main Stage at the same time as they were on it. And they actually weren't bad. The Newport Massive entertained an enthusiastic crowd with a mixture of hits and skits, with 'Your Missus Is A Nutter’ and 'By Any Means Necessary' receiving the greatest ovations.

Striving to be as big as Razorlight could be seen as lofty ambitions, but where Out From Animals have gone wrong is that they have strived to simply look and sound like them. The resultant below par knockoff of a below par knockoff left your humble reviewer, and most of the crowd, cold, and when the time came to head back to the Main Stage for the headliner, there was an almost audible sigh of relief around the We Are Calling Stage, such was the dismality of this performance.

The Streets
The Streets have gained a reputation for an incendiary, exciting live show, and having seen Mike Skinner and company several times previously, this is what I was expecting. Something, however, went badly wrong. A below par Skinner appeared visibly out of sorts, and throughout the set, the performance was leagues away from the definitive show I observed in Newcastle last year. Usually exhilarating tracks such as 'Fit But You Know It' and 'Don't Mug Yourself' were ruined by muted, disinterested deliveries. Halfway through the set the crowd was visibly thinning, and like many others, I found myself wandering off in search of more exciting fare.

What I found was Fight Like Apes, a neo-Goth, synth driven electronic-indie wonder which may well have been the most exciting thing of the whole day. Frontwoman Maykay led her band through a fan-pleasing set which got the entire tent dancing, and ensured that the Main Stage abomination was quickly forgotten.

Singles 'Lend Me Your Face' and 'Something Global' were tonight's highlights, with the front row screaming along with the band whilst Maykay terrorised the pit photographers. It was hot, it was sweaty and it was exactly what we all needed. Rock and roll to the core, Fight Like Apes could be something of a shot in the arm for a stagnant industry, but if they remain our little secret, that's just fine by me.

Fight Like Apes
review by: Tommy Jackson

photos by: Tommy Jackson

Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August 2009
Lowther Estate, Kendal, East Cumbria, England MAP
£70 - SOLD OUT
last updated: Mon 27th Jul 2009


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