Off The Cuff – Saturday, The Flapper, Birmingham 28/07/12 | Counteract | National News with a Local Edge | Counteract is a Birmingham based music magazine covering the latest and best news, reviews and interviews.
Even if the general feel of the day’s bands were a little more technical and subtle than the blockbusting rawness of the Friday, Saturday started off where the previous night left, with a whole lot of energy.
Opening up were Birmingham quartet The Traps, who treated the early risers to a set packed with bouncy, grown-up indie, occasionally interspersed with middle-of-the-road rock. It was a nice an easy way to start the day, and, with the sunshine blazing and the cider flowing, the unfortunately minimalist crowd was sure to explode as it went on. The Traps were followed by another Birmingham band, Funeral Suits, and whilst, as predicted the crowd had gained a fair few more members, it turns out that a better audience doesn’t equal better music. Who knew?
Upstairs, history was being made as Birmingham’s own Jack Weston, AKA Kid Conventional, became the first ever act on Off The Cuff’s latest addition, the BrumNotes Acoustic Stage, and they couldn’t have picked a better person to open it. The Kid’ took immense advantage of the accumulated coincidences of a poor band downstairs and the positioning of the stage next to a heaving bar, to dazzle the collection of revellers with his impressive array of vocal and song-writing talents.
Another act who put on a massively impressive turn on the Acoustic Stage was Anna Palmer. Taking to the stage after Weston, Palmer bewitched the audience with her haunting melodies and huge, sweeping refrains, made all the more impressive by the confines of her three piece set-up. Tracks such as ‘Dramatics’ and ‘Neon’ really showed off what a talent she is, making her upcoming album ‘Annoushka’ a definite one to look out for.
Back downstairs and it had all started to pick up again, with underground heroes and Brum’s answer to Friendly Fires, the enigmatic Free School bringing their patented blend of balearic beats and indie swagger to the show. There is truly no-one like Free School on the Birmingham scene at the moment, and they proved it once again with yet another enjoyably eclectic set. They were followed by Alarm Bells, a huge dose of up-and-coming Scottish mayhem.
As the day went on, it became clear that the addition of The Acoustic Stage was inspired; it was the perfect foil for the Cellar, adding balance to the maniacal and frenetic nature of many of the bands with a smooth flowing breeze of chilled out indulgence. So, whilst bands like Alarm Bells whipped up an adrenaline-fuelled whirlwind downstairs, upstairs, the likes of Young Runaways’ Matt Pinfield and Dakota Beats expertly transferred their full band repertoire into a softer, more lucid sound that went hand in hand with the stunning weather and relaxed, jovial nature of the more reserved revellers.
Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun
Leciester based phenomenon MabyeSheWill signalled the run up to the end of the main-stage with an incredible set. Reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky, the atmospheric five-some washed over The Cellar, sending heavy reverberations of electro-instrumental bliss coursing through the audience. Elsewhere, fresh from his amazing experience at the Olympic Opening Ceremony when he accompanied Frank Turner, Jim Lockey and his band The Solemn Sun became the first ever headliners of the BrumNotes Acoustic Stage. Complete with their characteristically jangly and folksy gait, they filled the bar with their free flowing summer tunes.
Penultimate act of the evening was the absolutely breath-taking Tall Ships. Opening with their latest single ‘T=0′, the lads from Falmouth well and truly blew the crowd away, utterly underlining their credentials as one of the best new bands around. They had easily the largest crowd of the weekend so far, and stole the show so thoroughly that once again, like Friday, the headliners, in this case the NME championed Three Trapped Tigers, just didn’t seem to carry the same kind of gravitas or quality of the preceding acts.
Three Trapped Tigers
Technically they were superb, and on paper an ideal closer for a day that was predominantly top-heavy with indie-dance, but as with Shapes on the previous day, they were overshadowed by the incredible quality of the line-up as whole, and instead of standing out as a headliner, they were just another great band on an amazing line-up.
Photography by Jonathan Morgan
Click here to read our review of Friday.
Click here to read our review of Sunday.
About Luke Deakin
Music is awesome. Well, some isn’t, but most is. I personally approve of Foo Fighters, Weezer, Sum 41, The Cure, Metallica, The Sex Pistols, Muse, NOFX and White Denim amongst many others