Friday the 26th of May, marked the start to the second May bank holiday and it was advertised as being one hell of a start. With posters, banners and roadside placards promoting the event for the months prior, this event had a huge build and potentially a large pay off if it all went well. Thousands gathered at one of Lincolnshire’s most prestigious outdoor venues to see three bands perform and do what they’ve done best for years. Mid 2000’s indie giants Reverend and the makers began the evening, with Welsh hit machine Feeder bridging the gap in the middle and the night’s headliners would be the incomparable Razorlight.
The weather couldn’t have been any better for such an occasion as revellers basked in the sun for the first few hours of the festival, enjoying the ample selection of bars and eateries that were also in attendance. While the bands were getting ready to perform, changing over and after the headline act Mojo20, Back to Mono’s Jim Sonic and the Engine Shed’s Michael Redpath were on hand to provide a soundtrack to the evening, consisting of Transmission worthy indie DJ sets that had the crowd dancing all night. The organisation and presentation of the whole event was second to none and all involved should be endlessly proud, but anyway, on to the music…
As previously mentioned, Reverend & The Makers kicked things off, with a fast paced, heavy, and extremely interactive performance as lead singer John McClure, or The Reverend, constantly engaged the crowd and got them involved and ready for what was to come. Powering through indie rock hits including tracks like ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’, he took a moment to praise and thank the crowd for their attendance and for not shying away in light of last Monday’s tragedy in Manchester, basically telling terrorists everywhere what he thought of them. Feeder would hit the stage around 8 o clock and with an awesome new look for Grant Nicholas, the two original members of the band, accompanied by their fantastic touring members, hurtled through classics like ‘Come Back Around’, ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’ and ‘Buck Rogers’ before finishing their set with a riotous rendition of ‘Just A Day’ which had the thousands in attendance in a summers evening frenzy. Absolutely brilliant. Even better was the odd moment at the end of the evening when everybody had left and we ended up at Feeder’s tour bus, and my girlfriend was even shown around the bus by Grant personally. What a guy.
The headliners finally hit the stage and as a fan of Razorlight since their debut, I was hoping for the best, hoping for something incredible and of course a set list that would feature everything I wanted to hear. I waited and listened patiently from the sound booth and was not at all disappointed, in fact I could never have asked or imagined for anything better than what they did. With one of the most fun, energetic, tight as hell performances by any band I’ve ever seen live, Razorlight had the crowd in the palm of their hands and smashed their way through huge tracks, one after another. Kicking things off with ‘In The Morning’ from their second, self titled album, we immediately knew that good things were on the way. First album brilliance like ‘Stumble & Fall’, ‘Up All Night’ and ‘Dalston’ made an appearance taking me straight back to 2005/2006 and the summers where that first album was the soundtrack to our lives, spending countless hours in Quayside, Lincoln abusing the jukebox. I’d have expected ‘Golden Touch’ to be further up the set but only four songs in, unannounced, here it came and served as an early treat for everyone. Despite my hopes I never expected to hear songs like ‘In The City’, ‘LA Waltz’ and ‘Back To The Start’ but wouldn’t you know it, they got played, and in brilliant fashion to. They closed the show with ‘Somewhere Else’ and made their way offstage but returned soon after for an encore, featuring ‘Rip It Up’, ‘Hold On’ and then ultimately, ‘America’. Emotionally exhausted and beaming with joy, the gig ended and we got back on the decks to keep the crowd happy, but what a performance. All three bands proved to be masters of their game and all of them proved they can perform live as well as anyone else, the difference being that these guys all had a back catalogue that reads like a greatest hits compilation. Razorlight however, are a different deal all together, why they’re not still at the forefront of modern rock n roll, I’ll never know and I implore Johnny Borrell to get a new record written as fast as possible.
What a night.
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)