Words: Alex Salisbury | Header Image: Craig Taylor-Broad
This weekend saw Old Bakery Studios in Truro play host to Cornwall’s only alternative festival in the shape of Behave! Festival. The weekender, booked by Boneyard Promotions, showcased some of the best talent from across Cornwall and the South West.
There was a great array of styles on offer, and certainly something for everyone who enjoys the heavier side of music, whether that’s sweat drenched desert rock, ultra-techy math-madness or super heavy doom drone, and even some chilled out singer-songwriters in FARE, Rue and Daisy Clark on the Sunday.
The hot summer sun or the fact that it was the same weekend as Glastonbury couldn’t keep the crowd away and by mid-afternoon on Saturday there was a solid group of attentive music fans in attendance, appreciative and respectful that we’ve finally got something like this on our Cornish doorsteps.
Here are some of our highlights from the Saturday of Behave! Festival.
Fresh from playing Download Festival this female-fronted four-piece hailing from the deepest deserts of Cornwall brought that dirty rock to Truro early on Saturday afternoon and woke the crowd up. Their set was a massive pick me up and gave me goosebumps, watching a band that are so in tune with each other and really enjoying being on stage gives me a massive buzz.
Frontwoman Amy Abbott is like the wildchild daughter of Ziggy Stardust and Alice Cooper packed full of swagger, sneer and charisma, she probably had the best stage banter of any front person the whole day. The band itself sounds something like Aerosmith taking a long drive through the Californian desert; fuzzy, dirty and overflowing with sleaze. This was the first time I’d caught O’deus, but by god it won’t be the last.
Mother Vulture, the howlin’ mad children of classic rock, are simply one of the most exciting and exhilarating live bands in the South West, if not the whole country. These Bristol-based boys pack an almighty punch, are super tight and have one of the best front men in Georgi Ivanov I’ve ever seen.
His frenetic energy cannot be contained by a stage and he spends most of the time in the crowd, belting out his Robert Plant-style falsetto, under constant motion, and never wavering on his quality. In fact, it’s hard to know where to look when watching these guys play, because every single member of the band is a performer in their own right.
Lead guitarist Brodie Maguire channels Angus Young whilst lying on the stage firing out a solo, hammering his pedals with his fist. Bassist Chris Simpson, also of Blank Atlas who blew me away this weekend, stomps around like a maniac pulling some of the best ‘bass faces’ I’ve ever seen, whilst drummer Matt West tries to keep an edge of cool and calm behind the kit whilst the all this crazy unfolds around him.
Mother Vulture, remember the name and make sure you see them soon. They were the first band of the day that had the ‘what the fuck did I just see’ effect on people in the smoking area between sets.
Tinnedfruit are one of my favourite bands, full stop. Hailing from Falmouth, the slacker rock 3-piece play some of the wildest shows you’re likely to attend and this one was no different.
Moving from the main stage, to the small and intimate second stage, the room was packed and the first real pit of the weekend erupted as soon as these boys started playing. With the sun beating onto the windows behind drummer Alex Smith, it kind of felt like we were watching them in a greenhouse and this was by far the sweatiest and liveliest show of the day and probably my favourite set of the whole weekend.
They may have effects laced vocals, furious punk drums, wavy guitar from Danny Withers and the wide eyed madman Dan Ledley on bass but there is still a real pop sensibility about this band. Although their music is heavy there is a groove buried away underneath all the havoc which you can strut your stuff too and strut we did.
Truro favourites, and festival booker Karum Cooper’s band, Hypophora drew the largest crowd of the whole day on the main stage and it was an audience that was thoroughly invested in the math-rock outfits homecoming set.
This four-piece are pretty much the tightest unit I’ve seen in a long time, and considering their drummer has only been with them a couple of months it’s a testament to just how good these guys are. Every track sounded great, Katie McConnell’s insanely powerful and commanding vocals and Karum’s intricate guitar licks were on point and each song was greeted with huge crowd responses, like the hometown kid done good, returning triumphantly, being welcomed back like a king.
The adoration and praise showered upon them was part for the band, and part for Karum and his team’s excellent efforts over the course of the weekend. If you’re a rock fan then catching a Hypophora gig should be made a priority, their sound is massive and if they keep following the trajectory they’re on, you might not be able to catch ‘em much more in Cornwall.
What is it with killer live performances and bands from Bristol at the moment? Phoxjaw, are, um, well, insane, quite frankly. Where they sit on the musical spectrum is a tough question, they’re heavy and ferocious, but can do softer stuff, are experimental but also conventional at the same time, I got flavours of Deftones, touches of Doom and Drone metal, but then also some indie vibes, a real genre-hopping musical experience. All I know is they completely enveloped me in their enthralling live performance.
Packed full of charisma and personality they are hard to take your eyes off, whether they’re onstage or in the pit with the crowd mid-song. I heard a lot of exciting things about these boys after a wild show in Falmouth and I was not disappointed on Saturday.
Neither were the crowd, who had well and truly bought the ticket and were taking the roller coaster ride of a Phoxjaw live show as well. A lively pit, people nodding along left, right and centre when they got into that heavy as fuck groove they can achieve. All I know is that if I see a show with Phoxjaw on the bill, I’m in, plain and simple.
All in all, the Boneyard Promotions team, and especially Karum Cooper who booked the festival, should be insanely proud of their achievements. The vibe of the whole weekend was great, bands mingling with fans, people from all walks of life conversing about the crazy music they’ve just seen and a reinforcement of the idea that Cornwall has the audience there for good alternative music.
Keep your eyes peeled for Sundays review dropping later this week.
By Craig Taylor-Broad