The Blinders, Primal Scream, The Twang shine in Warrington
Jessie Atkinson
13:48 29th May 2019

Up in Warrington this weekend, another Victoria Park was pulsing with festival sounds. You could forgive the person who travelled to London for E3’s version of the WA4 park festival (All Points East took place in London’s Victoria Park, while NBHD Weekender took place in Warrington's park of the same name.) For those who didn't make the mistake, a mostly bright weekend up north brought some of indie’s most popular names to the masses. With three stages, including the commemorative Viola Beach Stage, Neighbourhood Weekender brought together indie and rock names old and new for its age-diverse crowds. But who came out on top: established, or emerging?

EMERGING

Sea Girls

Last year, Sea Girls played in the smaller tent, and because it was raining, the place was full. Used to 100 cap venues, the NBHD Weekender 2018 proved a baptism of fire. But since then, Sea Girls have simply blown up, and this year, they open the main stage. I spot a couple of people wearing their merchandise on the way into the festival, and their modest crowd (many are still queueing outside) know all the words. Just this month they signed to Polydor records, and their stage presence today does the enormity of that signing justice. They fill the stage, flinging themselves around with feeling, their songs catchy and likeable despite the similarities between each. 3/5

Vida

For a festival like this, Vida are a perfect fit. There are a lot of parkas and bucket hats in the crowd at the Viola Beach stage, and a fair few spread arms. This is Manchester; you know the drill. But, while they introduce themselves with a strong Scottish accent, Vida proceed to play some extremely formulaic Britpop - Scotpop, if you’re in favour of independence. Their tunes are pleasing enough, and do descend into some nice moments of psychedelia, but there’s not much else that sets Vida apart as ones to watch in 2019. 2/5

The Blinders

Real rock ’n’ roll comes galloping onto Stage 2 courtesy of The Blinders. Their devil-may-care riffs and powerful stage presence are the highlight of day one. Since last year’s set on the smallest stage, The Blinders have released an excellent debut LP and climbed to the rafters to become a must-see act, especially amongst Mancunians, who sell them out every time they tour here. Carnal basslines and dangerous licks combine with confident vocals for a sexy, exciting, excellent set. 5/5

The Snuts

Yeah, The Snuts might be just-another-indie-band, but in the live space, they’re distinct enough. Here at Neighbourhood Weekender, they’re in their element, as is the case for so many bands of the same ilk and genre. They trot through some nice-sounding tunes, including brand new one ‘All Your Friends’ which has a killer bassline - the crowd lap it up. Nothing groundbreaking, but good enough, and perfect new fodder for indie die-hards. 3/5

Total: 13/20

ESTABLISHED

Gaz Coombes

With the swagger and the entourage of someone far more American, Gaz Coombes and band bring languorous rock ’n’ roll to an attentive crowd at Stage 2. The former Supergrass frontman emits extraordinary confidence, breezing through a strong thirty minute set that touches on all of the reasons why the band that made him famous were so well-liked. Oh yeah, and his solo stuff is pretty good too. 4/5

The Twang

Even if you’d never seen them before, you’d still have a tremendous time seeing The Twang. Take me as your example. The first time hearing The Twang is a very good time, and by the looks of the crowd, every time after that is even better. Barely needing to sing, but doing it anyway because there’s so much passion there, the crowd know every word of this discography. Tight and addictive, the band exhibit cheeky, bouncing rhythms and a surprising amount of groove for a band billed as ‘indie’. Pure, tremendous fun. 4/5

Primal Scream

A strong booking with more than enough hit-power to take over George Ezra’s bubblegum mantle, Bobby Gillespie and co. put on a fantastic show of crowd-pleasers. Classics like ‘Movin’ on Up’ and plenty more from Screamadelica draw classic rock fans out of the crowd, and get them singing along for a bright spot in Day One’s line-up. 4/5

The Futureheads

Smart and confident, The Futureheads take up the Second Stage as live-bait Gerry Cinnamon fields flares on the main stage. The tent is busy for the quartet, who create some excellent sense out of the noise they make with their instruments: it’s an angular crescendo that harks back to 2006 without a hint of dust on their discography. If it weren’t for the die-hards in the crowd, you’d be forgiven for thinking The Futureheads were a relatively fresh band. 4/5 

Total: 16/20

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Photo: Jon Mo