LIVE: Radstock Festival at Liverpool Academy [30/03/13]

By Lais

Today sees the very first Radstock Festival take place at Liverpool Academy. It’s a new venture, and overall a successful one. With bands playing over three stages in the same venue, it’s easy to get around and a lot less chaotic than other mini festivals of the same kind. The line up is fantastic, and the day has a great vibe. Aside from a couple of technical difficulties, Radstock is bloody brilliant.

The earlier part of our day is spent doing interviews, so we only get stuck into watching bands when the mighty Don Broco take to the main stage. If anything, it’s a travesty that they’re playing so early on in the evening, because there is no doubt that they could headline this festival. They are seasoned pros when it comes to live shows, and whatever you may think of them, you cannot deny their sheer brilliance as a live band. They’re incredible fun to watch, they possess energy and charisma most bands would kill for (frontman Rob Damiani has a swagger that knocks all other frontmen out of the ballpark), and most importantly, they’ve got some wildly catchy tunes. Band of the day, without a shadow of a doubt.

Blitz Kids have the unfortunate job of following a band that could’ve headlined this whole festival, and coupled with the fact that they were playing on a bizarre makeshift stage in the sky and they have to deal with some sound issues, today is not their finest set. It’s clear to see their potential and the singalongs for ‘Never Die’ are great, but they definitely have better shows to come.

Back on the main stage are We Are The Ocean, who actually sound pretty damn great. They could be a completely different band to the WATO of old when Dan Brown was the frontman, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If anything, their talent shines through more now they’re a little mellower, but they do lack a bit of the excitement that made them a really good live band previously. Nevertheless, tonight they sound fantastic, and frontman/guitarist Liam Cromby has an undeniably brilliant voice.

Next up in the second room are stage headliners Bury Tomorrow. Sadly they also suffer with technical difficulties, meaning a late entry to the stage and a show that doesn’t manage to convey their full potential. It’s by no means a bad show, but because they are so brilliant every time they hit a stage, even the slightest technical difficulty is a blow. For most other bands this would’ve been considered a great set, but Bury Tomorrow are so talented that it’s slightly disappointing for them. They still have brilliant onstage energy and passion, their songs are still incredible (see ‘Lionheart’ and ‘Knight Life’) and the crowd still absolutely love them, but it’s just a shame that sound problems hinder them from their usual flawless performance.

Last but not least: the festival’s headliners, The Blackout. The Welsh wonders are undoubtedly one of the UK’s best live bands, and this is down to a combination of energy, charisma, humour and catchy as hell songs. They’ve been going for a long time now, but they’re still just as much fun to watch as ever. The crowd go absolutely wild for hits like ‘Children Of The Night’ and ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’. Then comes Save Ourselves’, another of the band’s biggest hits, but instead of the usual crowd participation moment where everyone kneels on the ground, The Blackout play host to an onstage marriage proposal. It’s a lovely moment and it only adds to the sheer euphoria in the crowd when they play their last song, ‘I’m A Riot? You’re A Fucking Riot’. Victory!

Today has been an absolute triumph (with the exception of a couple of technical difficulties), and if all goes well, we should cross our fingers for Radstock 2014. Great work, Liverpool.