LIVE: Handmade Festival 2016: Sunday

By Andy Leddington

See what we made of Saturday here

Alpha Male Tea Party prove to be a rip-roaring start to the day. Their experimental, instrumental rock is nothing if not intense (and incredibly loud) and although they could have benefited sonically from having a cleaner, brighter sound, their incredible amounts of energy and charisma on stage more than made up for it.

Johnny Lloyd, upstairs in the Academy2, prove a slightly less entertaining prospect. Although not a bad band, and certainly fun while they were playing, they proved a bit too mellow and slightly uninspiring both in terms of show and music.

However, in the tiny Academy3, Colour Me Wednesday were putting on an incredibly infectiously energetic show. Their unique blend of pop, rock, punk and indie proved more than enough to get a decent chunk of the crowd to bop their head and dance along, even if they’d never heard of them before.

Back round the corner in The Scholar, Narcs were showing off their strange blend of indie and punk. Although the vocals could have seriously benefitted from not having as much effects, you could still tell the singer was really giving it the beans when it came to their louder bits. Coupled with their interesting lead guitar work, and you have a band that really made for an interesting show.

Waking Aida’s post-rock followed in a similar style. Although they had no vocals, they managed to put on an incredible show. Waking Aida played not with energy, but with a very visceral life force that captured their recorded intensity and brought it forward in a fantastic live scenario. Their creation of soundscapes and multi-instrumentation from multiple members was a clear reminder that music is an art form, and Waking Aida are incredibly skilled artists.

Unfortunately for USA Nails the PA seemed to go downhill after this, leaving them with a pretty rubbish vocal sound. The only member being outwardly energetic was the drummer, but the entire band played with a sort of quiet intensity that more than complemented their occasionally furious music, particularly the new tracks that they demo’d at this show. Much of the crowd was going absolutely mad for USA Nails and it was always abundantly clear why.

Closing out the festival in The Scholar, Three Trapped Tigers were an unmistakable force of nature. It was occasionally difficult, in the best possible way, to tell where one instrument began and another ended; they blended the guitars, and multiple synths and samples together with unparalleled skill, building whole songs around one hook or cadence to create a post-rock masterpiece with moments of electronica and trance. Three Trapped Tigers are incredible musicians, capable of insane guitar shredding, intense and powerful drumming, playing a guitar and a keyboard at the same time, and creating some of the most artistically interesting music whilst also putting on one hell of a show.

Whilst upstairs Swim Deep were closing out the main stage of the festival with their unfortunate sounding, Depeche Mode-like electronic rock, the Academy3 was roaring with laughter and dancing along to acoustic solo punk Beans On Toast.

Although perhaps not quite as artistically interesting as some of the other acts that had been on over the course of the last few days, Beans On Toast somehow managed to fit in incredibly well. Whether it was his honest renditions of songs about politics, religion or war, his outstanding commitment to everyone in the room having a good time, or just his entirely unique blend of folk, hippie and punk, Beans On Toast managed with just an acoustic guitar and some good songs to put on a more entertaining show than many bands could hope to achieve with all the production values in the world.

As people filtered out of the O2 and began winding their way home, there was hardly a grumpy face to be seen or complaint to be heard. Handmade Festival is already establishing itself as a vital part of the cultural setup of Leicester city, and the fact that this year’s one was bigger and better than any previous is a very promising sign that greater things are yet to come.