Words & Photography by Kieran Webber
This year, under the banner of CLUNK I have been given some fantastic opportunities and have managed to write about and photograph some amazing artists. Throughout the year I have grown as an artist myself by capturing these artists performances on the stage. I am as ever completely humbled by the opportunities I have been given in 2017 and am excited for 2018. I also want to take a moment to thank the PR, management and musicians themselves for allowing me to shove a camera in your face and write about my experiance, it really means the world to me.
Although this year has been filled to the brim with live music, some performances stand out from the others so I have collected my favorite live performances of 2017 for you. Enjoy.
Slaves really took me by surprise at their Boardmasters headline set, I was expecting their show to be high octane but the pure, raw spirit they brought to the show was completely mind melting. Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman which make up the duo came to fuck shit up, and that they certianly did. Their electrifying set saw them running around like possessed demons, their rage untethered. The crowd reciprocated their energy twice fold creating a hot, sweaty collection of eager and amped humans. At its core their music and their live performance was an anarchic, animalistic explosion of punk energy. Few bands this year installed such a feeling through me with their live set as Slaves did, I went into their set as an observer and left a sweat drenched fan lusting for more of their infectious energy.
Pulled Apart By Horses
Pulled Apart By Horses are arguably one of the best live rock bands in the UK at the moment, they are completely wild, raw and unchained. Once this band are let loose there is no stopping them and no predicting what can happen. Lead singer Tom Hudson and guitarist James Brown are two of the most eclectic performers I have ever seen, both men throw themselves into their music and instruments. Watching them is a true spectacle and they never seem to disappoint. This year at their Boardmasters set they yet again brought the roof down, their amped, feverish rock filled the Land Of Saints stage and saw the band and crowd turn rabid. If these guys ever roll into your town/city be sure to visit them, they are not to be missed!
The Loose Salute had me pondering the golden years of music with their throwback sixties/seventies sound, a band that sits tightly next to the likes of Fleetwood Mac. From the moment they stepped on stage at The Great Estate Festival we were intrigued, mostly due to the lead guitarist was donning a cape and resembles a young Lemmy. However, once they started playing their music shone through their interesting characters. The romance tinged rock ‘n’ roll shone through their set, they were a true delight to watch and was a much needed rock ‘n’ roll experiance at this year’s Great Estate Festival.
Picture this – It’s a summers day in Cornwall, the heat lashes your face and a gentle breeze gently caresses you, you feel good, happy and content. You check your environment and you are surrounded by nature, green fields and high trees and creeping through that is the regal and ancient Scorrier House. You turn to the front and a barrage of psychedlia backed by angelic vocals drift towards you, you follow the noise and a flurry of delightful and transcendent guitar licks surround you, you are now immersed in the Sundowners sound, the doors to their realm are now open and as you take your first step you are thrown into a chasm of psych that is nothing but delightful. This was my experiance of the Sundowners at this years Great Estate, so it’s easy to see why they are in our favorite Live Acts Of 2017.
This year The Watering Hole, Perranporth had some fantastic artists come through it’s doors, from Lee Scratch Perry through to Tom Jones there was something for everyone. One of the great musicians that passed through was the one and only Seasick Steve, his storytelling blues rock was as to be expected and provided a night of tasty riffs, delightful licks and of course the laughter that is to be expected from one of Seasick Steve’s shows. When I first saw Seasick Steve I was unfortunately too naive to fully appreciate his music but this time round I was able to enjoy and appreciate his songwriting ability. However, his admiration for his fans and humble attitude is what stood out, everything around him is modest from his equipment to his persona. In a world full of flashy equipment and people it was refreshing to watch and enjoy a real artist.
This year a dream was made true when I was granted access to photograph and review Mac Demarco at his o2 Academy Bristol show (Thanks Phil). After watching hours of his live sets (dreaming of one day going) I had an idea to as to what to expect from his live performance and Mac certianly did not disappoint. His set was more of a communication between the audience as opposed to a musician playing, there were goofs, gags and plenty of laughs from both Mac and the audience. His indie-dream pop sound filled the venue and gently his beautiful music caressed us. As the set came to an end he treated us to a 20 minute covers jam where him and his band played songs from Black Sabbath, The Darkness, Seal and Red Hot Chili Peppers (to name but a few). Overall the night was all you could want from someone like Mac, a beautiful bundle of swaying, jangly dreampop delivered through Mac’s beautiful goofy charm.
Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show
Closing The Great Estate Festival was the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show and what a finish it was! Craig behind the decks threw out a huge variety of funk and soul that had everyone dancing and swaying, it was an incredible amount of fun. Watching Craig play was like watching a child play with his favorite toy, it was pure enjoyment for him and he was clearly in his element. At one point her played a brass band version of sexual healing and greeted the crowd, showing ture adoration to the revellers and fans alike, he even took the time to hug every member of the front rows.
I never thought I could get such an interaction and enjoyment from a DJ but Craig proved me wrong, his set was intimate, fun filled and oozing with passion, it was great to be a part of that moment.
As a relative newcomer to Jagwar Ma I was very unsure what to expect from their live performance, I had only heard a few tracks here and there and nothing really stood out for me. However, after experiencing them live I was mesmerized by the flurry of different sounds that leaked out of them. Whilst you are tickled by a wave of electric sounds lead singer Gabriel Winterfield vocals gently wrap themselves around you, assisting in the ethereal dance. Jagwar Ma operate in a different realm and their music is the key to traversing their electronic psychedelic universe.
Nestled in a small corner of the Boardmasters Festival whilst Alt-J begun their headline set on the Sunday an unknown band began their soundcheck, that band would turn out to be Banfi. By Sunday my old and exhausted body was beginning to crumble, Boardmasters was defeating me so I resided to a less populated area of the festival to have a cup of tea (rock ‘n’ roll I know). As I sipped, the indie-dreamwave sound took over the small tent and the powerful yet emotive vocals of Banfi filled the room. The band were incredibly tight, with each member pivotal in holding the wall of sound together. They were a professional unit that when playing acted as one, it was a truly beautiful experiance.