The Wickerman festival now in its 9th year and still as strong and alternative as the 1st opened it’s doors to the festival goers on Thursday 22nd July at 12 noon, by 6pm the campsite was half full with eager music lovers looking forward to noon on the Friday when the event finally opens. The award winning festival is still a high point in the alternative festival calendar. With its family based atmosphere the event play host to wide range of bands from all genres from folk to rock.
The event opened on the Summerisle Stage in blazing sunshine with soundtrack competition winners Polarsets with a full-on approach the 3-piece playing through their song catalogue including the outstanding song “Dance Like No Ones Around”. With catch riffs and rhythms they had the crowd dancing at the front of the stage.
Next up on the Summerisle stage was Glasgow Rockers “The Raw Kings”, playing a mixture of rock with an indie country twist the stormed through their set with catchy songs “Think I’ve Falling In Love With You” and “Girl” the band had the crowd in their hands delivering their songs with commitment. A band well worth watching out for them playing a venue close to you.
A short trip up the hill we head over to the Scooter tent to watch The Clash tribute “The Counterfeit Clash”. Playing through the hits with passion and pride, saluting the work of Joe Strummer they played some of the band finest work in repeat fashion and dedication to the Clash and Strummers works. Highlight songs from their set included “Tommy Gun”, “Safe European Home”, White Man in Hammersmith” & “ I Fought The Law” before ending with the epic “White Riot”. The Tent was bursting at its seams and the fans of The Clash got what they came for from Scotland Top Clash tribute band.
The Strawberry Blondes took to the Scooter tent to deliver songs old and new from Fight Back to Rise Up. The 4 piece band fronted by Mickie Stubs delivered a powerful set with highlight songs coming from their first album. The songs were delivered with great harmonies and strong and powerful lyrics from the south wales outfit.
A short walk across to the Solus tent was Make Sparks fronted by Craig Parker the Alt rock band played to a full tent packed with fans of the band and also regular festival goers wanting to see the band much talked about in the Scottish music scene. With the bands influences showing from other Scottish bands such as early Idlewild to Biffy Clyro. Well worth checking out the Scottish 3 piece.
Over at the acoustic Village’s main stage the excellent singer songwriter Andi Neate took to the stage playing through songs about her travelling and places she enjoys. Tattooed Andi playing acoustic guitar with her wrist strapped up from a recent injury pleased the crowd in the tent with “Witches Cat” & “Fly Me” and finishing off with the excellent “Shine” to a standing ovation.
Summerisle Stage featuring Glasgow’s Teenage Fanclub played through the hits and had the crowd singing along to songs including “Everything Flows” & “Too Young”. Doing it in Fanclub fashion they delivered the perfect set giving the crowd the perfect warm up to the main stage headliners.
It was time for the day one festival headliners to the main stage and the crowd from young to old were waiting patiently for what was to be the perfect end to a perfect day of music. The Charlatans entered the stage to a warm Wickerman welcome and played a great hit set featuring fans favourites and more. Tim swaggered onto the stage and the intro to “Then” and the this had the crowd bouncing and idolising Tim and the band as the broke into the opening lines of “Then” followed by “Weirdo” along with the string of hit songs. Tim was feeling the energy from the crowd and this was transformed in to an amazing set the perfect way to end day one of the festival on the Summerisle Stage.
Up the hill at the Scooter tent the headline band was playing to a full tent with many more fans locked outside listening on to the Buzzcocks playing hit after hit including “Whatever Happened to?”, “What Do I Get” and “Orgasm Addict”. Highlight song was “Ever Fallen In Love”.
To finish off the evening there was a host of tents featuring DJ’s from Dance Techno to Reggae in to the wee small hours.
Saturday the festival grounds woke up to light rain and a mist coming in over the hills, a perfect setting, for the climax to this years festival.
First up on the main Stage local band More from Jim playing they Ska songs and entertaining the crowd with on stage antics. The festival crowd at the front of the Summerisle stage having fun skanking away to the music. Their song “Dream Come True” stood out from the rest of their tracks as on the day it was a dream come true to play the main stage.
Glasgow based ska band Esperanza made a welcome return to the festival after missing out on playing last years event they returned in triumphant style with a few changes to their line up Jake the bands front man was on top form the word go. Playing through their own catalogue of songs with highlight song “Two Tone Terror” had the Scooter Tent skanking away to their music. The band dedicated a track to their Guitarist Mark that was leaving to go to Australia in the next few days. The band are one of the few ska / reggae bands that are worth watching coming out of the glasgow music scene.
A short walk across to the solus stage we witnessed a delightful set from The OK Social Club playing to a full tent the band were on top form delighting their fans and giving them a set to remember.
A surprise band that delighted the scooter tent audience was Edinburgh based MetalTech, stage costumes and gimps that had influences of Anti Product and the Prodigy running through their set. Handing out glow Sticks and party poppers to give their audience their part in the show that brought colour dance and rock to the scooter tent. The rock dance fusion in their music had the audience hooked and wanting more and they delivered a remarkable set that will sure win them more fans. Highlight track that stood out from the rest was “Sell your Soul” from the bands EP Automatic. Well worth keeping a look out for the band if you are wanting something that little bit different.
A short trip across to the Solus stage “There Will Be Fireworks” playing anthem style songs that would have come straight from any album by Belle and Sebastian or Frightened Rabbit. The 6 piece band delighted the audience with tracks “Midfield Mistro”, “Tonight” and a tribute to The Cure “Close to me” in their own style which was a surprise to a good few people in the audience. Well worth checking out and could be the next inline to follow Belle & Sebastian.
The Summerisle stage Sons and Daughters treated the main stage audience with songs old and new with highlight songs “Gilt Complex” & “Blood”, Adele Bethel was on top form treating the crowd to a stunning performance on the Summerisle stage.
Solus tent witnessed a band tipped highly to break through in the same way Glasvegas have done with their own style of Indie alternative dance. Glasgow 3 piece GoGoBot took to the stage with confidence flowing through them from the first note of “Is This Love?, the crowds flocked in to the tent and were not disappointed by what they heard. Gogobot’s frontman Marko delivering each lyric with passion. The expressions and actions had the audience gripped as the played through songs about what they believe in “Do you Remember”, “Survey Says Dance” to the new song “Turn the World Around”, emotional lyrics, ballad style verses to the ultimate build up that had the audience in their hands and wanting more of the same. I can now see why they are highly tipped they did not disappoint well worth checking out.
When walking around the festival site there was a great number of green t-shirts wondering around with the Saw Doctors logo brazened across them. The Summerisle stage was set to witness Ireland’s Saw Doctors. The band took to the stage and after the first few songs the hype of what was expected had died and it was a very slow downbeat set from them. High points of their set was “Clarie Island”, “I’ll Be On My Way”. The band played a few new songs including “Friday Town”. The atmosphere for the band that was buzzing was more a sing along not what the fans had expected. With out of tune guitars and poor vocals it has to be the biggest disappointment of the festival.
It was now the choice of picking the headline band to watch a choice between Ocean Colour Scene and the The Undertones we decided to head up to join the queue to gain entry to the Scooter tent that was getting very close to full. We managed to get in and waited till the band took to the stage and they did not disappoint the audience playing old and new from their back catalogue. The audience was in full voice singing along to “Jimmy Jimmy”, “There Goes Laura”, She’s A Run Around” & “My Perfect Cousin” before giving the audience the epic song that made the band what they are today John Peel’s number 1 “Teenage Kicks” with the audience age from 14 to 50’s they left them something to remember. The perfect end to the festival
The festival closed the way it started on the Friday in a blaze of glory with the traditional burning of the 30ft high Wickerman with stunning firework display to end an amazing weekend of music and dance. Now looking forward to the festival’s 10th birthday in July 2011, will you be there ???
Reviewed by Scottish Music Network