Handmade Festival 2018 Saturday

5th May 2018

at The O2 Academy, Leicester

Reviewed by Keith Jobey.

It was a tough choice immediately between Art School Girlfriend and Anteros. After a quick hop between the two, I settled at Anteros, mostly because the room was bathed in sunlight. This was one of the main issues with the festival; not the sun but deciding which stage to head for. There was generally only a choice between two bands but all too often that choice was a tough one. Still, that’s better than having no band you’d like to catch.

Art School Girlfriend in the Scholar Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Scottish indie-punks Rascalation are surely going to be moving up the bill quickly. They offered a lively early set that shook the dust down from the rafters at one point!

Rascalation in the Union Square Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Nottingham based all male trio Eyre Llew build layered soundscapes. It’s good stuff from a band to catch when you can.

Eyre Llew in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan

At Handmade two years ago we’d seen Laura from She Makes War perform a solo set, so it was nice to get a full band version this year.

She Makes War in the Scholar Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Time for another Nottingham all male trio, Crosa Rosa. Grungy riffs from a very likeable band that I always find myself drawn towards.

Peaness were a treat at last year’s event so I’d circled their set on my schedule early on. The all female pop trio have some catchy stuff, harmonise so well and seem to smile all of the time. Clearly enjoying it, they quickly won over the crowd and received rapturous applause and cheers as reward.

Peaness in the Scholar Photo: Kevin Gaughan

You’ll not get many smiles from Protomartyr, just great music. Singer Joe, spent a lot of time hanging around the festival prior to their set barely being noticed. He’s similar on stage, a dishevelled front-man with cans of beers in his jacket pocket, but a character that you warm to.

Protomartyr in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Dashing back to the Scholar for DIY punks Dream Nails. Calling for ‘girls to the front’ and asking men to step aside or move back a little was generally duly obliged. A most admirable band.

Dream Nails in the Scholar Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Future of the Left in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Despite the excellent Future Of The Left being on in the Main Hall, it was time to venture to the Attenborough Centre to see The Tuts, noise-pop female trio who were headlining the day there organised by Glitterfest. Again, we got the call for ‘girls to the front’, although it was hardly needed at this event since the crowd seemed to have formed that way regardless.

The Tuts in the Attenborough Arts Centre Photo: Kevin Gaughan

The Big Moon were recently nominated for a Mercury prize with their debut album. Hard to believe that when they appeared in this same venue as The Moon as part of a psychedelic festival hardly anyone turned up to see them

The Big Moon in the Union Square Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Drenge headlined the main stage and concluded the first day of the festival. A great example of the Cookie’s ethos of bringing a band through from the early stages of their career and letting them and their fans grow as they progress up through venues.

Drenge in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Drenge having first played at the Cookie to the proverbial handful back in 2013 and now headlining Handmade Festival. Tonight they showed they were worthy of the top slot, with a powerful guitar driven rock show.

Watch this video, by Kevin Gaughan, of Drenge, from tonight’s festival.
Watch another video, by Kevin Gaughan, of Drenge, from tonight’s festival.

Drenge in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan

See our review of Sunday’s Handmade festival 2018.

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