6th May 2018
at The O2 Academy, Leicester
Reviewed by Keith Jobey.
Another sunny day begun with Timmas in the Scholar. The Leicester based rock duo overflowing with talent and energy.
Timmas in the Scholar Photo: Kevin Gaughan
A quick dash down to the Attenborough Centre next to catch Earls, another local duo but with the controls set to punk. They delivered a blistering set packed with attitude, social satire and some fine singalong anthemic lines. A highlight of the festival.
Earls in the Attenborough Arts Centre Photo: Kevin Gaughan
Magique feature a melting pot of Leicester musicians, fronted by former Clubs vocalist CJ. There is a touch of Clubs still in their sound but delivered with a little more upbeat 80’s feel, think ABC or McAlmont and Butler.
Magique in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan
Black Futures kept the crowd intrigued as to what the four people in hazmat suits would do. Stood in a line across the middle of the stage while the band played they appeared to contribute little more than adding to the look. Still at a loss as to what they did but the electro psych set was enjoyable
Black Futures in the Union Square Photo: Kevin Gaughan
News had filtered through that Strange Bones couldn’t play but would be replaced by a Handmade regular. After sightings of Lucy from Kagoule at the festival the day before speculation that it would be them was quickly confirmed. So instead of heading off to see Nelson Can (who were reportedly very good) I opted to see Kagoule again. Another tough call.
Nelson Can in the Scholar Photo: Kevin Gaughan
Kagoule in the Union Square Photo: Kevin Gaughan
I had The Orielles picked out early, partly because I’d heard plenty by them but had yet to see them live. Pleasing pop-rock tunes from another band that are surely only going to get bigger
The Orielles in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan
The first thing I note about Findlay is the sparse crowd. Playing the main stage with only an Attenborough Centre band to compete with you’d think it would be really busy. But it’s not bands that Findlay is competing against, it sunshine and food.
Findlay in the O2 Academy 1 Photo: Kevin Gaughan
Emerging from the darkness of the main hall we find the terrace outside Union Square at near capacity.
The harder rock sounds of Turbowolf provided the entertainment while we had some food, the sitting area just outside Union Square proving to be a good spot to listen while eating.
Turbowolf in the Union Square Photo: Kevin Gaughan
The Spook School always manage to make people smile and dance and today they did just that. Unofficial sponsors of a certain brand of vegetarian sausages and dressed in school PE kits I never tire of this band.
the Spook School in the Scholar Photo: Kevin Gaughan
IDLES undoubtedly were the big hit of Handmade 2017 so it was great that they had been invited back. There was speculation that the Union Square stage would be at capacity for their show, and that if you left to see another band you may not get back in. There was no problem though as far as I could tell, the open terrace at the back providing additional space and an escape from the moshing and sweat.
IDLES in the Union Square Photo: Kevin Gaughan
During the last song while a conveyor belt of crowd surfers passed overhead and occupied the security staff one cheeky chap (we won’t say who) made it onstage, picking up the spare guitar and confidently adding to the mayhem. Festival highlights (and legends) are made of performances like this.
IDLES in the Union Square Photo: Keith Jobey
So there we have it, another brilliant Handmade Festival over and done with. This being my local festival I’m possibly biased, plus there are countless people I know attending so it is a huge social event, but there is no other festival I’d rather go to. Also don’t forget, this is a DIY festival. Still very much organised and staffed by volunteers. It deserves to win awards, it deserves success, it deserves recognition, but most of all it deserves our thanks.
See our review of Saturday’s Handmade festival 2018.