Underage Festival '09
02.08.2009 / Victoria Park, London
Cameron Gilmore was chosen by Red Bull Reporter to report on the Underage Festival at Victoria Park in London. He was joined on the day by James Brown, who captured the likes of Hadouken, the Horrors, Mystery Jets, None the Less and My Passion perform an electrifying set on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage...much to the delight of their screaming underage fans!!!
Written report from the Underage Festival
Brighton band, The Auteur also used their surroundings to their advantage by asking fans to pick up hay from beneath their feet and launch it into the air, resulting in allergy chaos and adding some rock'n'roll flair to an entertaining set of pop punk tunes from a band with potential to become huge in their own right. In a short interview, they described the set as "Off the hook". Having received critical acclaim from publications like Kerrang!. I asked if their was any secret formula;" We pass songs and song ideas back and forth around the internet until they start to sound good." There you have it- a recipe for pop punk success. 18-year old Lykez, brings something different to the stage in between all the punk mayhem with her rap/grime songs proving a popular alternative for some of the less hardcore fans in the audience. To add to the diversity, we have electro-pop starlets 'I Haunt Wizards', who manage to convert a crowd who started the day with a 'Wall of Death', to break into some disco dancing with their 80's influenced pop songs. Despite some initial faults with the microphone at the beginning of the set- they continued to churn out an antithetic and exciting performance. Singer Helen Kirby explained;" The crowd seemed to enjoy it, they were really going for it." I was compelled to ask about the bands remixes of 'Bring Me the Horizon' songs they told me it was inspired by.." Beyonce and Lil' Wayne". You're never too young to enjoy a bit of sarcasm. Afterwards, we are treated to more delights of noise with None the Less who got the crowd going with their set of metal based songs. Next on the bill, 'My Passion' arrive in the uniforms of Pete Wentz and with emopop songs which Fall Out Boy themselves would give a nod of approval to. Performing to a homecrowd they attracted a large number of dedicated fans to the bandstand and then after treating them to an ecstatic set, came out to meet them from the Red Bull backstage area.
The largest crowd of the day however, turned out to see stage headliners 'Saving Aimee'. The six-piece came onstage to a huge cheer from the crowd and immediately launched into heir energetic set with the singer, Luke Quinn screaming- " I say saving, you say..." whilst the crowd continuously responded screaming, "AIMEE!". Half-way into their first song, I witness the strangest thing in the fact that they had a moshpit outside the central moshpit, like an outer electron energized by joyous electro pop punk. Appropriately titled, 'Level on Up' makes the crowd if anything, more wild. They finish with 'Small Talk' which sees Quinn descend into the crowd, to continue his constant headbanging amongst the bands faithful. On reflection of the performance he said.. 'Oh it was brilliant, totally rock and roll!" I asked him about the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Scheme as a whole, and he stopped me mid-sentence to say, "Listen, it's been absolutely amazing for us- it's really been great for our opportunities as a band." Most of the bands who performed on the stage today, had entered the Red Bull Bedroom Jam by sending in videos of themselves performing in bedrooms, so if you're in an up and coming band- it may be something worth thinking about. Who knows? Maybe next year you could command your own 'Wall of Death' or Hay War', or even go for THREE separate moshpits.
Elsewhere in the festival, I was lucky enough to come across Teeside band, The Chapman Family in the hospitality area. I was only looking for a hamburger, but instead got an interview with one of the most exciting new bands in the U.K. I asked them if they thought the festival was a good opportunity for up and coming bands; Bassist 'Pop' Chapman answered,"I would say so for young bands, as it puts them in front of a audience of a similar age, but we can't even get out of hospitality.." They played the Converse Music stage, and delighted a large crowd with an enthralling set of indie-punk, which was epitomized by highlight-"The Kids are not Ok", where singer Kingsley Chapman got down on his knees and let the music carry him as he screamed down into his microphone. Surprisingly, the set was a lot of fun despite presumptions about the black attire of the band. Later on, we have Hadouken!, who appease the masses with their indie-electronica orientated tunes such as; 'Get Smashed Gate Crash', 'Crank it Up' and one of this generations anthems, 'That Boy That Girl'. On the Artrocker Stage we had one of the festival highlights in the evening set by The Horrors. The capacity crowds reaction to the band was amazing, as one minute they seemed completely hypnotized through songs taken from the bands recent cult second album, 'Primary Colours' like Scarlet Fields and Mirror's Image, then bouncing along screaming the lines(and the synth riff!) to 'Count in Fives'. Singer Faris Badwan commands the large crowd almost effortlessly to begin with, then starts hurling round his mic stand, dancing on the stage. An emphatic set of contrasting emotions to say the least. Whilst backstage, I managed to interview drummer Jimmy Naylor, from headliners,The Pigeon Detectives. When meeting rock stars, it's always very important to ask the major questions-so naturally I asked him what the bands favourite cheese was;"Mozzerella. We have it in sandwiches a lot, it's really good!" Satisfied with the the appropriate answer to this pivotal question, I continued to ask him the more mundane questions demanded by mainstream music journalism like if they had any plans for a new album; "We've been doing some writing, but we haven’t started recording yet and we haven’t booked anywhere- so we don’t know for just now." So it might be a while before another Pigeon Detectives album. The band took to the stage just shy of 7'o'clock and were the last to play the Converse stage. The thousands who made their way to the main stage were not to be disappointed, as the Pigeons delivered a euphoric set of hit after hit. The crowd went mental upon hearing songs like; 'Romantic Type', 'This is an Emergency' and 'Take her Back'. Frenetic front man Matt Bowman jumps and runs around the stage, further sustaining his mark as a phenomenal showman. At one point, he even scales the stage, going a good 70 feet up before pausing and returning back to the ground. They close with 'I'm Not Sorry", which unsurprisingly goes down fantastically with the young audience.
All in all, The Underage Festival should be considered a huge success, and hats' off to Red Bull for supporting it, and new live music. Any event that's age specific may struggle to bring in a lineup as diverse and prestigous as this, but Underage has pulled it off with aplomb. Youthful vigour combined with energy- this is one festival that is a force to be reckoned with. Watch out Glastonbury- the kids are after your crown.
Images from Underage Festival
Check out James Brown's pictures from the Underage Festival, and in particular, the bands who featured on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage ....