British Wildlife Festival 2014 Preview
Entering it’s eighth year, British Wildlife Festival has been a staple of the alternative and noise scene ever since its emergence in 2007. The event is practically an institution in the local scene these days, and being picked to participate is a downright honour. Spread across one evening and two full days at the equally institutional Brudenell Social Club, the crowd will be treated to the bands head honcho Adam Nodwell “likes and wants to support, and thinks you should like and support too.” These bands are more often than not from the noisier, darker and often experimental side of the musical spectrum. The bands all want to grab you by the throat and scream in your face until you submit, willingly or not, or in some cases just freak you out. This year’s festival, running this weekend coming from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th of March, promises to be yet another belter of a day.
The award for best band names definitely belong to Friday’s opening night, with Shatner’s Bassoon bringing their uniquely disjointed borderline incomprehensible blend of jazz, rock and weird noises as the 8pm ribbon-cutting performance bound to make everyone suitably paranoid. The equally brilliantly titled Ice, Sea, Dead People (think about it) bring their rapidfire angry punk tunes to the fray. Cattle, the band formed by Magnapinna’s drummer and Super Luxury guitarist Chris, are a two piece drum and bass ensemble who occupy a musical space somewhere between Death From Above 1979 and Slint. They’re my pick for the Must-See Band of the day. After this noisier, abrasive start, things end on a more electronic note with P For Persia’s spacey oddly put together electropop and Electric Electric’s agitated fiddly version of HEALTH-esque electro noiserock.
An earlier start time on Saturday and two stages means more bang for your buck. Leeds mainstays Castrovalva have been knocking around for a few years now, but they still stand out of a busy scene as unique for their combination of Atari Teenage Riot breakbeat drums, alternately shouty and grime-influenced vocals and fat guitars. Like Hadouken! if they were far less shit. I’m Being Good come across like Don Caballero with vocals, cleverly switching between laidback melodic guitar interplay and aggressive riffage. Warm Widow have reverb-drenched vocals and enjoyably lo-fi surfer rock guitar lines, allowing everyone some chill out time. Bad Guys, if their album art didn’t tip you off, make old skool rock music in the vein of AC/DC and Motorhead and will provide some mid-lineup big dumb fun before Gum Takes Tooth and Lady Scraper pummel the life out of you and give you one last chance to get good and lost in the moshpit this Saturday evening.
If your ears are still functioning and you haven’t been whipped into a aural overload-induced coma by all this noisy awesomeness Sunday brings another full day of Main Room antics. Alpha Male Tea Party have some beautiful instrumental passages, the instruments gleefully bouncing off and around each other in contrapuntal glory. Cowtown make upbeat frantic music that sounds like an old 60s band gone mad, dancing around in cascading guitar melodies with manic organ backings. Dark Bells round things off with beautiful female-fronted dark dreampop, ensuring everyone will be brought back down to Earth in the nicest way possible in time for the contemplative walk home.
Goddamn what a hell of a lineup. And because I love y’all, here’s a Spotify playlist with all the bands I could find for your aural pleasure.
Tickets are £20 for the weekend and £8 for the Friday, available from Crash and Jumbo Records as well as usual online suspects SeeTickets and Skiddle. More info about the lineup, including Nodwell’s own brilliant writeups on the bands performing, can be found here with stage times handily available in Clashfinder format here.