Strawberry Fields Festival 2013 Saturday
I was greeted by the heavy rock sounds of Laguna Sunrise as I entered the Strawberry Fields main arena at 11:20 on Saturday morning. It was just what my withering ears needed to kick them into shape after Friday nights’ Jaguar Skills’ unforgettable show!
Laguna Sunrise were doing their sound check, but already there were a few people settling down in front of the main stage.
Most of my time on Saturday was spent in the Strawberry Jam marquee which was run by The Musician venue in Leicester. The venue were responsible for the line-up of artists, mainly through the Original Bands Showcase (OBS) competition that was held earlier in the year.
The Daydream Club, Strawberry Jam Stage at 11:15
First on the Strawberry Jam stage was Leicestershire based The Daydream Club, an acoustic/folk duo consisting of Paula Walker and Adam Pickering.
Having a respectable reputation locally, they performed their range of melodic acoustic folkness with imagery and passion that made for a compelling experience, which was a perfect way to start the day in the Strawberry Jam marquee.
With harmonies to die for and being one of the more popular folk bands to come out of Leicestershire, their performance was met by a healthy appreciation from the plentiful, enthusiastic audience.
Pamela Moo, Strawberry Jam Stage at 11:55
Pamela, a fine singer/songwriter from Leicester graced the stage with her guitarist, well respected in his own right, Ben Hartmann. Writing songs full of emotion and about affairs of the heart (including her ex), Pamela is gaining quite a following round these parts.
With her exquisite voice, dancing around the lyrics like a butterfly, Pamela captured the attention of the plentiful audience with ease. Her music was soulful, delicate and a joy to listen to, a real tonic for the ears, which was just the ticket at that time of day.
Click here to see her perform Blue at the festival.
Siobhan Mazzei, Strawberry Jam Stage at 12:35
Siobhan, an extremely popular singer/songwriter from Leicester, can be seen often gigging and busking around the city and is a regular at most local festivals, too.
However many times I see her, I never tire of her performance, always a treat to listen to with her distinctive voice, and amazing guitar playing.
Siobhan’s song writing seems to tell stories through the eyes of someone who had experienced more of life than you would expect of this young lady. She used to beat and flick the front of her guitar to make it sound like a drum kit complete with cymbals, but these days she is accompanied by Dale on an electronic drum pad kit.
Her dramatic vocal style draws you in to the underlying stories and life experiences that lie within.
The end of her performance always leaves you wanting more. At a recent festival, she almost caused a riot by having her set cut short, as the audience couldn’t bare for her to finish!
Click here to watch her perform at the festival
Laguna Sunrise, Main Stage at 13:00
Having heard them sound check earlier in the day, I made sure I saw this band open the main stage at one o’clock.
Laguna Sunrise, a six piece, post Metalcore, from Derby were obviously well up for the challenge of opening the main stage to a relatively sparse audience.
As people entered the gates, some of them approached the main stage with a sense of urgency so they could investigate the hard rock guitar riffs and screaming vocals that this band prowled around the main stage with.
Clearly an accomplished and highly entertaining band, even if you’re not keen on the harsh screamo style, it was done so well, and with each of the six members adding their own layer to the music, especially the keyboards, if you had a penchant for rock music, you couldn’t help but enjoy this performance.
As a result of seeing them today, they are now on my hit list of ‘must see again’ bands.
Martha Bean, Strawberry Jam Stage at 13:30
Martha Bean is a popular singer/songwriter from Leicester, who I must confess, I hadn’t seen before, so I was interested to see what all the fuss was about.
Performing a stripped-down set with Joel on the Wurlitzer and Adam on bass guitar, Martha’s performance started with a modest audience.
Her voice was soft yet powerful, gently absorbing and accompanied perfectly by Joel’s Wurlitzer. Harmonies that sounded greater than the sum of their parts and a delicate, hypnotic quality, her performance was engrossing.
Needless to say, the Strawberry Jam marquee had considerably filled up as passers-by were drawn in by this lady’s enchanting voice.
Click here to watch her perform at the festival
Charlee Drew, BBC Introducing in the big top marquee at 15:15
Saturday was ‘BBC Introducing’ day in the Big Top, so the artists had been chosen by the Midlands BBC Introducing host, Dean Jackson and his team.
Charlee Drew, a Leicester singer/songwriter and his band are one of the many Leicester musicians to have been tempted by the big twinkly lights of London and has now moved down there. He is, however, making huge noises in the BBC in general, including BBC Radio 1.
When Charlee performs in his home town, it is a sell-out event, so needless to say I was expecting at least a reasonable crowd in the huge Big Top. Unfortunately, however, the audience was minimal to start off with and grew only slightly during his performance. Although, it wasn’t only Charlee that suffered from this on Saturday, a number of bands had the same problem during the day. I think that could have been due to the placement of the marquee, as it was slightly off the beaten track and was possibly a bit too large for the festival.
Having said that, Charlee did put in a solid, almost choreographed performance with his fellow band members. There was no mistaking his fantastic voice and singing ability with the odd guitar solo thrown in for good measure.
The music was commercial sounding, potentially chart-topping stuff which went down well with the youngsters in the crowd.
Click here to watch him perform at the festival
The Simpletones, Strawberry Jam Stage at 16:00
The Simpletones a Barbershop quartet from Leicester are causing a bit of a stir these days. A more unusual genre, but done remarkably well. Their careful selection of songs, including covers, like ‘An Englishman in New York’ make for an unforgettable experience and lend themselves perfectly to being covered by these guys.
The Strawberry Jam marquee was full by the end of the Simpletones set which resulted in a rapturous applause.
The Simpletones were one of the more quirky bands of the festival, but always top priority on my list of ‘must see’ bands. Given their local popularity, I think they’d go down well on the main stage next year.
Midnight Wire, BBC Introducing Big Top Stage at 16:00
It was great to see Midnight Wire, a very popular four piece Indie band from Leicester, on the BBC introducing stage.
Regulars at most local festivals, Midnight Wire always titillate my indie taste buds, with the ultimate, confident showman in lead singer, Alex Van Roose and his band. Their music is 100% catchy, 100% original and 100% all round great entertainment. Always consistent in knocking out a top rate performance, these guys didn’t disappoint.
Mark Elliott, BBC Introducing Big Top Stage at 16:45
Mark, a charismatic singer/songwriter from Leicester, was an absolute treat to watch.
With his silky smooth voice, the world-class catchiness of songs like ‘Maybe she Will’ and a fun, sensitive and light-hearted personality that comes across between songs, his performance was hugely entertaining. Mark’s thirty minute slot was one of my stand-out performances in the Big Top Stage.
The Park Bench Society, BBC Introducing Big Top Stage at 18:15
The Park Bench Society, a four piece indie, acoustic, ska, alternative band from Loughborough. Difficult to pigeonhole these guys as their music is unique, but rather special.
The plentiful crowd appreciated the performance with outstanding vocals from Murray, accompanied perfectly and slightly unusually by the Glockenspiel and the rest of the band.
Having played Reading and Leeds festivals in 2012, they were clearly quite comfortable playing on large festival stages. They had a few sound issues this time round, but still, their performance was nothing short of wonderful.
Click here to watch them perform at the festival
Dinosaur Pile Up, Main Stage at 19:00
Dinosaur Pile Up were one of those acts that caught me by surprise on the main stage. Stumbling across unexpected acts is one of those fatures of festivals that I love.
Although not one of the more memorable performances of the day, visually, with the slightly static stage show, their music, however, spoke for itself. With lashings of indie rock, Nirvana-ish guitar riffs and respectable vocals, you could see why their next stop was Reading and Leeds festivals.
Click here to watch them perform at the festival
The Brandy Thieves, Strawberry Jam Stage at 21:00
The last performance on the Strawberry Jam Stage on Saturday was The Brandy Thieves, a four-piece Gypsy Punk band from Leicester known for lifting the roof off every venue they perform in.
The Strawberry Jam marquee was full and buzzing as the audience waited in anticipation for the mayhem that was about to ensue.
The Brandy Thieves burst onto the stage, with the tiny Andrea Kenny on guitar and vocals, what she lacks vertically, she more than makes up for in vocal and guitar-playing ability as well as pure energy on stage. Backed up by her band, there was no doubting the passion and enthusiasm that went into this performance.
The fun spewed into the audience as the marquee turned into a sweaty, dancing, skanking frenzy as the infectious rhythms and catchy overtones of their brandy fuelled, punk-gypsy-rock-ska performance blew the roof off the Strawberry Jam marquee.
The Brandy Thieves gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people on Saturday night at Strawberry Fields Festival.
Strawberry Fields Festival 2013