After the success of last year’s excursion to the faded seaside resort of Margate, Sports Team decided to double the size of the bus and bring more along for the ride.
A typically English drizzly morning set the scene for this epic pilgrimage to Margate. Our journey begins at the Wetherspoons in Liverpool Street, where fans and bands alike congregated in anticipation for the day ahead. Veggie sausages sizzled and pre-excursion pints were sunk, as the masses trickled in - including the bleary-eyed members of Walt Disco, fresh off an overnight bus from Scotland.
The building atmosphere was palpable: think of the excitement of a school trip with the coolest teachers, where everyone clambers onto the bus to sit on the back seats. T-shirts were passed around on the bus, with many choosing to don theirs as soon as they got hold of it - further increasing the level of excitement amongst the day-trippers.
The double decker slowly carved its way through the quagmire that is London’s traffic, and headed for the sandy beaches of Margate. As the skyscrapers disappeared, the noise levels became louder - sadly there was no sunlight splashing off the bonnet of our double decker bus, but no matter: the golden glow from the reflection of the Old Blue Last tinnies passed around the bus kept us warm. KISS radio soundtracked our journey, with Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ uniting all passengers in song. Excited chatter filled the bus, with introductions and old friends reminiscing alike: it’s something special when a band has the power to both reunite, and introduce, a group of people.
Upon our arrival in Margate, we were greeted by some hungry looking seagulls eyeing up everyone’s chips, and a rather intense game of football on the beach (Sports Team definitely lived up to their name). We then shook off the sand and headed to the venue for the evening, Elsewhere.
Taking to the stage first are Scottish powerhouse Walt Disco. A carousel of arresting art-pop and glorious glam-rock, synths slither out of the venue speakers alongside singer James Potter’s celebrated warbling vocal delivery with dynamic guitar lines tying everything together. The band sound like they’ve got one foot rooted firmly in the 80s, whilst the other dips it’s toes in the present day. Fresh from the release of latest single ‘Past Tense’, we’re already anticipating what’s to come next.
Next up, a band no millennial party is complete without: The Rhythm Method. Poised and ready with a bag of bangers, the likes of ‘Something For The Weekend’ go down a treat with their tongue-in-cheek lyrics and twinkling keys, but it’s the juggernaut cover of Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ that really changes the pace, and the game.
Swim Deep turn their half an hour set into a career-spanning showcase with both ‘She Changes The Weather’ from their debut album and new cut ‘Sail Away, Say Goodbye’ conjuring up the same level of enthusiasm from the indie contingency watching them.
Last to take to the stage are Sports Team, and everyone appears to be very much in the grips of the party spirit. In the words of Alex Rice, we’ve “been working up a sweat”, and this is the culmination of our seaside excursion. Hurtling through a concise but considered set list, the Margate audience made sure everyone knew the lyrics even if the venue’s speakers weren’t quite up to the job.
Summing up the day afterwards, Sports Team’s lead guitarist Henry Young comments, “As the wind howled and the hordes of seagulls circled closer, you might have thought - just for a second - that the joke had gone too far. But from searing heat last year to relentless drizzle this time around, we just about kept the show on the road...big thanks to all the bands and DJs for going along with our crazy plans - particularly Walt Disco who caught an overnight Megabus from Glasgow to London just to make it in time for the double decker. A hat tip to our man behind the wheel as well, possibly the most laissez-faire driver for hire in the country. Never setting foot in Margate again ... until we do it all over again next year! Dreamland?”
Long live Sports Team, and bands who endeavour to bridge that gap between artist and fan, all while making great memories along the way.