2Q Festival, Lincoln, UK – 9th November 2019

Posted by Bianca on Saturday Nov 9, 2019 Under Festivals

Review + Photography by John Hayhurst

2Q Festival in Lincoln goes from strength to strength with its best line up and year yet. The best way to end your festival season.

My first ever trip to Lincoln and to a metropolitan festival that is celebrating its 3rd year. I’m desperate to keep the festival season running into another month, so have a huge plan to see loads of bands over the day and as the venues are quite close to each other, it was easy to do just that.

As I was in the queue to get my wristband at The Engine Shed a couple started talking to me about their son’s band Serena Joy, I hadn’t really got anything at 12:00, so away I went to see what they were made of and discovered a young group of lads playing some nice indie Arctic Monkeys styled music. What’s not to like, they weren’t quite “The best thing you’ll see all day” as one of their Mums explained to me, but they will certainly do for midday in a nightclub where your shoes are already sticking to the carpet floor. The venue was Moka and along with sticky floors came a makeshift stage in the corner on the top of some stairs, not great for viewing but the sound seemed ok.

Serena Joy

I’m keener to get to two venues in the same building – Home and Loft, because on my itinerary I may as well set up home here as the line-up is quite superb all day. With Saint Agnes at the top of my must not miss list and October Drift just behind, I needed to suss out the rooms so I could get a good spot for both. On stage in the larger Home was Sam Varlow, a local singer/songwriter who had a decent band with him, no less than 3 guitarists so his blues numbers sounded a little more epic than if it were just him on his own. Still felt too early in the day for the blues, but really enjoyed his calm assured voice. Upstairs in the Loft I couldn’t get in the room for Demob Happy never mind see them. The Loft was a tiny space and the stage was almost non-existent, it was on the floor level in the corner, so unless you were on top of the artists at the front (no barrier) you wouldn’t see them at all. How on earth were Yonaka going to cope with that? To have them headlining later on that tiny stage was surely going to be crazy, and I couldn’t help but think that 2Q had potentially booked bands bigger than the rooms here.

Sam Varlow

Yonaka

Across the road at Red Five, which was essentially a big pub This Feeling had curated a fantastic line up on stage which was to start at 12:30 with The K’s – except they hadn’t shown up due to a mix up with timings and they have been supporting The Rifles on their tour this week. In the meantime, I checked out another venue Liquor for a noisy 3-piece called Concrete Ships, they delivered a powerful psychedelic sound with some obscure muffled sounding vocals that made it feel like you were listening underwater. Local band from Lincoln and warmed the early audience up nicely. I finally got back to see The K’s for their last 2 numbers and it was rammed in Red Five, apologetic for being late and made sure they played with as much energy as they could and ‘Glass Towns’ sounded superb. These lads are starting to make a name for themselves and had they not been playing elsewhere tonight they would have been on a bigger stage at this festival.

TheK's-2

TheK's

Concrete Ships-2

Concrete Ships

I stayed at Red Five because up next were Crystal, from Glasgow and I was lucky to stumble across them at Stockton last month. They have an infectious feisty groove to their music, not quite all out punk or grunge but sensible elements fused together which form a tangy taste of power pop. Opener ‘Speak of the Devil’ is probably my favourite track, it’s bold with a shouty chorus of “You Don’t Seem to Care” before launching some riffs worthy of any grunge rock band. Anna Shields does her scout around the room staring at anyone willing to give her eye contact whilst singing ‘Sex Rich’ towards the end, she might be smaller than average but she packs a punch and quite intimidating when she’s only 2 ft from your face. I stayed for the whole set which I would only do for another 2 bands today. Popping back to Home and unashamedly funky and very pop Deco were in full flow, a little too sweet for my liking but they pulled enough of an audience to show their talents too, and actually they stood out as a different genre on that stage particularly with new song ‘Too Much TV’.

Crystal

Crystal-4

Deco

Hourglvvs were another interesting discovery, centering around 2 female singers who definitely won the prize for ‘most glamourous’ at today’s event, and they set the scene for a more soulful performance – imagine the 2 sultry singers in a smoky jazz club – except here we were in a pub in Lincoln. Sophie-May Williams and Katherine Benbow both clearly have vocal talents and combined it reeks of Amy Winehouse with a little of Elisabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins) thrown in for good measure. Stumbled across them and now noted for 2020! That’s what I love about these festivals, sometimes when you veer off the beaten track or your plan, you come across something that is completely different and brilliant all the same.

Hourglvss-2

Hourglvss

Having experienced the limited viewpoints in the Loft I decided to sacrifice Calva Louise (a band I love) in Home to get a spot near the front for Saint Agnes. It worked a treat, there were still a couple of folks in front of me, but I could see the stage and as this band were top of my must not miss for today, I’m a happy lad!

Saint Agnes

Kitty Arabella Austen is one of the finest frontwomen you will see today, she stalks the crowd like a cat and every now and then does this “hurgh” sound not unlike a feline with a furball problem. ‘Welcome to Silvertown’ booms out and we are beckoned into the dark and slightly dangerous world of Saint Agnes. It is quite dark in here with virtually no lights to speak of, but that doesn’t matter – Kitty is holding the side wall looking out for where she will eventually throw herself into the crowd. ‘Move Like a Ghost’ is sublime, new track ‘Brother’ is infectious and dirty, with a fuzzy guitar sound from Jon James Tufnell that could have been lifted from a Jack White outtake it’s that virulent. Half an hour does not do them justice and as I managed to catch Kitty again for the 2nd time this year I vowed I must see a full set sometime in 2020, sadly their headline tour for this year has finished but watch out for them playing next year.

Saint Agnes-2

After that I thought anyone now was going to fall a little short, but October Drift proved otherwise, they came out of the starting blocks as if they were on fire, the movement and power from the front 3 members was of such hi energy I thought they were going to fall off the stage. Kieran Roy (vocals guitar) is everywhere, frequently surfing the crowd with or without his guitar and Daniel Young strikes every riff like it’s his last. Cliché’s aside, they are a phenomenal sight live and come across with sincere passion, building a fan base through hard graft and a DIY approach has led them to a packed festival slot at this festival and judging by the comments on the various Facebook groups, one of the most requested “Can we have them back next year please” comments.

October Drift

October Drift-2

October Drift-3

My first visit to the Engine Shed, the biggest venue at 2Q was to see Black Honey, I’ve seen Izzy Baxter Phillips and Co a few times over the years but never has she looked so Country and Western than tonight. In her cowgirl hat, shirt and tight red trousers, she appeared more like Judy Garland performing at Nashvilles Grand Ol’ Opry than playing an Engine shed in Lincoln. I’m transfixed, it’s a great performance and after ‘I Only Hurt The Ones I Love’ and ‘All My Pride’ I’m sold with the whole new look. ‘Dig’ sounding epic meanwhile and sadly I have to leave halfway through the set so that I can catch Working Mens Club and The Blinders at Home.

Black Honey-2

Black Honey

Black Honey-3

Working Mens Club are a strange beast, starting as a low fi miserable bunch with very little movement on stage, then after a few songs lead frontman Sydney Minsky-Sargeant has his top off and is chastising the strong lighting on stage whilst having an on/off relationship with his guitar. There are elements here of The Fall or early Joy Division perhaps, and you really need to remember that Minsky-Sargeant is still a teenager as his political lyrics are spewing out across the floor. Heaven knows we need the youth to speak up these days, and perhaps this band could well be the next reinvented post punk movement – Coming from West Yorkshire, they are supporting Fat White Family on their tour right now!

Working Mens Club

Meanwhile in Red Five, Rats are closing their set with ‘Figure it Out’ and if you want a slice of current indie guitar boy band, that was it. Like The K’s before on this stage, they have pretty much taken the formula and added a little twist here and there. Pleasant enough but having seen Saint Agnes, October Drift and eventually Working Mens Club working a stage, this familiar indie fodder just doesn’t feel any different from what other bands have produced since the 90’s. The Clause are up next on this same stage and at least they are looking a little dressed up, smart suits and hopefully something more refreshing. Disappointingly it was a little similar and despite the suits and Alex Turner vibes from frontman Pearce McMenamin, the lure of The Blinders was all too much to keep me here.

Rats

The Blinders-2

The Blinders-4

The Clause

Tonight The Blinders felt a little subdued, even the traditional black-eyed make up on Tom Haywood was a subtle affair, however, with songs like ‘L’etat C’est Moi’ and ‘Ballad of Winston Smith’ kicking us off, it wasn’t long before the eager crowd were jumping around to spur Tom and Charlie on. Having watched them over the last 2 years turn into this amazing rock’n’roll 3-piece live, it is suprising when you realise Columbia has only been out a year. ‘Brave New World’ remains their only real commercial hit and this was demonstrated when they played it tonight, as the whole room seemed to be bouncing up and down at the same time. Perhaps they need the winter break to start firing on all cylinders again and come back brighter with some new music.

We were then in headlining territory and whilst I wanted to see Yonaka, there was no real chance of it, a quick trip to see the tale end of stalwarts Spector at the nightclub Moka, that carpet was getting even stickier, I’m here really to check out Mattie Vant for a couple of songs, as his band have been on hiatus for too long now. Unfortunately, they started late due to some drumming technicalities, so other than opener ‘Mary Don’t Mind’, which did sound great, I can’t really comment.

Vant

Bizarrely, having decided that we wouldn’t get to see Yonaka in the Loft, I manage to get through some other private doors and stairs in the venue and accidentally end up walking out on stage just behind the band. Proved to be a big mistake as the guitar tech moved us on from our side stage position after the first song ‘Punch Bag’. This was rapidly becoming a disaster, so in order to actually watch more than 1 song, we went downstairs to check out Sunderland’s finest – The Futureheads. Haven’t seen them for years and it just felt like old times as ‘Decent Days and Nights’ was kicked out at their opener. Obviously looking a little older, they still have their on stage banter as the venue was described as something like The Crystal Maze. Curiously, it did feel like they were the old men of the festival and despite attempts to keep everyone entertained it wasn’t until the well-known cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’ that we really felt that way. Red Rum Club had rammed Red Five with fans, crazy that they were not in a bigger venue as how they all fitted in the corner of that pub I’ll never know, I caught a glimpse during ‘Honey’ of Fran Doran and a side view of trumpeter Joe Corby, that was about it. Sounding incredible though and as they played ‘Angeline’ people were standing on chairs and tables at the back to get a better view – surely one of the best new bands in 2019.

The Futureheads

The Futureheads-3

Red Rum Club

As we had hit the peak earlier in the day we decided that the best idea would be to call it a night, we briefly called in back at The Engine Shed for The Twang and they were in full flow but not really to my taste.

What a great metro festival this was, as a new punter here I will be back next year, you can guarantee it. The venues are small but the bands occupying the stages were massive in quality, there really is something for everyone’s taste and to keep your festival fever going into November, this is a must as an end of season party.

Roll on Live at Leeds 2020, when I can start it all again!

LISTENING:

Saint Agnes – Welcome to Silvertown Album released 3rd May 2019

Crystal – Speak of the Devil

WATCHING:

October Drift – ‘Forever Whatever’ Live

Saint Agnes – ‘Move Like a Ghost’ Live

Leave a Reply