My initial reaction to the 2019 Kendal Calling line up mainly revolve around the exhilaration at dancing fantastically badly in my polka dot wellies to Nile Rogers & Chic after enough fruity cider to both rot my teeth and send me into a full blown alcoholic fuelled arms in the air crescendo of “Good Times” in Lowther Park.
My second reaction was to re listen to every single Doves tracks including “There Goes The Fear” three times over knowing that epic instrumental ending will surpass any already high expectations and make passing out in an ineptly put up tepee and waking up under my friends hairy armpit entirely worth it.
But the strength of the KC line up doesn’t just lie in its ability to combine with the wile Welsh wonder that is Tom Jones who could send my Grandma into state of hot flushes even in her 90s, with Gerry Cinnamon whose no nonsense lyrics that are a nod to the likes of Dylan and Simon and Garfunkel who is set on a meteoric rise through the charts and festival billing alike. The festivals true joy lies in the smaller stages and tents where you will discover your new favourite acts while wandering lost through the woods.
So on honour of this here’s ten picks of the lesser knowns bands that need to be added to your Spotify play list and found away from the main stage….
This pop punk London trio sweat cool from every pore. For those that miss the days of Karen O crawling across stages like a caged animal in fish nets Dream Wife will more than be your fix. With just the right amount of sass combined with a strong message of celebrating individuality this band take you back to the days of legend L7 and The Breeders.
Yes he’s George Ezra’s little brother, yes we’re all collectively eye rolling like bored teens in a maths class last thing on a Friday at seeing older Ezra on what feels like 80% of all festival line ups this summer but don’t hold that against Ten Tonnes as he is more than just a mini George. He possesses a similar breezy, seemingly effortless ability to fashion snap-crackle lyrics and earworm melodies but it somehow feels more authentic and sincere and isn’t currently marred by radio over play that his older sibling is now starting to suffer from.
The 99 Degree
I’ve now had the pleasure several times of having the surf punk bastard love child band The 99 Degree propelled upon me. They truly are a live onslaught with every guitar riff assaulting your ears in a messy mix of abandoned bliss and post set ear ringing discomfort. Throwing together surf, punk, rockabilly, garage and the cherry on top of the occasional spaghetti western style sound tracks watching The Degree is a must have experience at Kendal calling.
The Pagans Shepherds of Humanity (S.O.H) are a rock rap five piece hailing from the Black Country they fuse together with both flair and dynamism elements of hip-hop/funk/punk/ska/metal/jazz/reggae to create a truly original vibe smashing through the barriers of each genre. This band ticks all the boxes, including ones you never knew you needed, frenetic freestyle rapping which effortlessly jumps to falsetto and crunching funk guitar riffs creating a sound which has more twists and turns than a David Lynch film, this is the most exciting band to bounce out of Brum in years.
Eliza and the bear
After an initial world wind from their debut album which saw “we’ve got friends, we’ve got family here” be a staple on every sunshine infused indie playlist Eliza and the bear rise took on an unexpected twist, they parted company with the music giant Universal and became a four piece. In 2018 The band released their long awaited second album and have not only embraced a more dance tinged vibe but have become more open and honest with their writing, coming clean about issues about anxiety, depression and asking for help in a relatable way, while still keeping their radio friendly sing along style.
Zuzu is a self confident sci-fi loving singer songwriter, producer, director and comic book artist whose lyrics are beautifully littered with space references and self-pitying tendencies. She is truly a unique artist and uses her scouse accent with pride and is undoubtedly the female lead the Liverpool music scenes needs.
Beans on Toast
For those searching for folks in the fields Beans On Toast is the stage name of British folk singer Jay McAllister from Essex, who rose to prominence out of the UK folk scene in 2005. His songwriting openly deals with his criticism of politics, struggle with drugs and highs but often crushing lows of love. To date Beans On Toast has released ten studio albums and has been likened to the song writing socialist Billy Bragg and modern day troubadour Frank Turner.
Infusing rock riffs and rap bars Manchester alt pop act Y.O.U.N.G has been gaining momentum and crowd through their no hold bars energetic live shows. Their single ‘Exposure’ was described as being like a “Lethal Bizzle fronted Royal Blood”. Weaving their own stamp on the alt pop genre this could be the last chance to catch the band in a more intimate festival setting before they are called to take to main stages.