Tag Archives: Signals

Bestival 2014: 10 local acts that you won’t want to miss!

The UK’s summer festival season comes hurtling towards its conclusion next weekend, with the Bestival taking place at Robin Hill Park on the Isle of Wight.

While the likes of Outkast, Beck and Busta Rhymes have justifiably dominated much of the build up to the event, there are also a host of local acts set for action, Dom Kureen takes a looks at ten of the best (including two adopted ‘Caulkheads.’)


1. Claydon Connor (Bandstand: Friday, 10am)

Yes, I know – 10am on Friday at the Bestival is usually when the previous night’s revellers are contemplating hitting the hay for their daily power nap, or latecomers are lugging tents and booze towards their desired patch of turf, but Claydon Connor is a singer/guitarist well worth rousing yourself to witness.

An erstwhile scholar at the Isle of Wight’s Platform One music college, the 26 year old’s debut album, ‘Feels Like Home,’ released in 2009, provided a glimpse of the predominantly acoustic indie-rock musings of a raw artist who didn’t sound entirely comfortable with the genre.

A welcome evolution towards country/Americana rock is evident in Connor’s summer 2014 LP, ‘Under The Big Sky,’ where subtle, captivating instrumental strains accompany increasingly confident and sentimentality dripping vocals – a fact borne out by some rousing, evocative recent live performances, including a memorable Kashmir Cafe set at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival.


2. Buddy Carson (Bandstand: Saturday, 12pm)

When it comes to spoken word (or poetry to give it the ‘non-kid friendly’ moniker), Bestival regulars Kate Tempest and Scroobius Pip are indisputably once again the marquee names on the bill.

There are some real hidden gems amongst the other performers though, with Buddy Carson a must-see for anyone who enjoys intoxication by rhythmic rhetoric.

Hailing from these shores, the talented wordsmith’s work with Flip The Script and Stand Up For Lyricism has not only allowed a myriad of youngsters to benefit from his wisdom, but also brought his regularly anecdotal based introspections to a fresh audience. Even more annoyingly he’s a bloody marvellous singer, nifty with a Cajón drum and regularly donates money to charity without tipping buckets of ice water over himself!


3.  Plastic Mermaids (Matua Stage: Friday 2pm & Bandstand: Friday 8pm)

Mermaids have given this writer a lot to be grateful for: A 1984 film where Tom Hanks gets jiggy with a fish, a cartoon to put on when my niece is getting out of hand and of course that movie simply entitled ‘Mermaids’ with a Cher soundtrack that traumatised my childhood in the early 90’s during what seemed like a 400 week run at the summit of the charts.

Recently I discovered one more delight; this time in the shape of wonderfully experimental 5-piece Plastic Mermaids, now in their fifth year as a collective. Oozing eccentricity, the band’s increasing profile has ensured regular sell-out gigs around the UK and an expanding appreciation from other sections of the industry, with their tracks providing the backdrop for a slew of campaigns and websites.

Dropping début EP, Drømtorp, earlier this month (think early Syd Barrett meets Röyksopp), the quintet were apparently directly earmarked by Bestival top brass as a must-have psychedelic component of the festivities. They play twice, so there’s no reason to miss out.


4. Ba.Dow (Main Stage: Friday, 12pm)

Ba.Dow delivered the goods under intense pressure to deservedly win the Bestival battle of the bands competition earlier this year, having seen off pre-comp favourites Pleasurade and Duveaux.

Starting life as a four-piece, the departure of original front-woman Charlie Jones meant that drummer Jodie Amos was thrust into a dual role, a move that proved a catalyst in accelerating the remaining trio’s development, her spine tingling diction exquisitely supplementing the frequently catchy guitar riffs of Sam Morris and Bradley McGinty.

Expect them to emulate last year’s band competition winners Signals and deliver a stellar half-hour set, gaining a multitude of new devotees in the process – Ba.Dow will be in their element on the main stage.


5. Wille and The Bandits (Bandstand: Saturday, 1pm)

For many attendees the highlight of the 2014 Rhythmtree hippy free-for-all was provided by the high-octane, unpredictable performance of soulful trio Wille and The Bandits, a group consisting almost entirely of big hair and ear popping instrumental sequences.

A 2011 Daily Telegraph write-up describing them as one of the most exciting unsigned acts in the country has been followed by a range of other ringing endorsements from the likes of BBC Radio One and The Independent newspaper earlier this year.

It’s clear that Wille and his bandits have been placed on a pedestal by a clutch of illustrious media outlets – hype vindicated every time they set foot on stage. Despite not being natives, the Isle of Wight has become the guys’ home away from home, as well as a location that accounts for a decent chunk of their rapidly expanding fanbase.


6. Fine Lines (Bandstand: Thursday, 4.30pm)

Fine Lines are an Isle of Wight folk/alternative rock sextet who are something of a local super group, with the majority of members having resided on lofty solo perches before combining forces to create a musical equivalent of The Avengers.

The three singers’ voices mesh well and those who witnessed them at Chorderize in 2013 were unanimous in their praise of the eclectic talents on show, there’s no chance of the ensemble becoming typecast with the likes of Floella Grace, Hester Chambers and Gareth Ashworth each bringing wide ranging interpretations to irksomely catchy compositions.

Half of the band can sing and half can play the guitar – but which halves? Only those who dare to visit the Bestival site as early as 4.30pm on Thursday will ever know.


7. Too Many T’s (Main stage: Friday, 2pm)

Hip-hop like it used to be, Too Many T’s, aka Ross Standaloft and Leon Rhymes, mix shtick with the occasional bout of seriously deep retrospection, atop a series of catchy backing tracks courtesy of DJ Savage Henry.

Since forming in 2011, the pair have built a reputation as one of the most authentic old-school rap acts on the British circuit, winning critical acclaim from a host of highly respected authorities on the genre, including the Bestival’s own curator Rob Da Bank.

Performing on the main stage, expect a blitz of lyrics and beats that’ll have even the grouchiest toddler head banging from their push chair. Essential listening for hip-hop fans.


8. Duveaux (Random open mics)

There’s more than a hint of The Divine Comedy about the way Dan Duveaux theatrically fronts the band that carries his surname, although that’s where the similarities end.

A nattily attired five-piece, the indie-rockers performed more than half a dozen times during this year’s Isle of Wight Festival and have remained impressively active throughout the summer, never afraid to experiment with a pleasingly reliable stream of new material.

Simultaneous with that unrelenting work ethic has been an inevitable increase in stage presence and while it may be the front man whose name is on the posters, there’s no doubt that it is the collaborative talent on show that makes Duveaux such a must-see band.


9. The Ohmz (Roots Reggae Stage: Thursday, 6pm & Bandstand: Saturday, 2pm)

In their own words: The Ohmz formed when five goats from a farm wandered into a reggae and tea night at the local, discovered they shared a love of tea (and reggae) and decided to write some songs about that.

Mutual adoration of tea aside, this reggae five-some might be the closest thing that the Isle of Wight has to Bob Marley and the Proclaimers, despite local crooner Derek Sandy’s claims to the contrary.

Booked to fill afternoon and early evening slots, The Ohmz will undoubtedly create a couple of the grooviest, most laid back atmospheres of the entire weekend.


10. Signals (Bandstand: Saturday, 1pm)

Signals are a math-pop, female-fronted four-piece from the Isle of Wight… That’s what all the press releases say.

What the hell is math-pop you ask? Although it sounds like something akin to Carol Vorderman giving live birth on Countdown, it’s actually a genre of music – that’s right, another genre – f**k, I’d only just learned the old ones.

Genres aside, Signals are an explosive, exciting band with a brilliant lead singer in Ellie Price and one of the finest bass guitarists that the Isle of Wight has ever produced in the shape of Alex Vanblaere (he’s the one rocking the hipster look.) They were the first Platform One band that really seemed to blaze a trail beyond the safety of their island and today provide a benchmark for the rest to strive for.

Like the list? Think someone’s missing? Let us know in the comment section below and please like our Facebook page! Most importantly, please support all of the bands mentioned and go and see them if you find time.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Single Review: Signals – Sleep Talk

Female fronted four-piece Signals are back with a new single release, ‘Sleep Talk’, Dom Kureen gives his thoughts on the emerging quartet’s latest offering.

Ellie Price of Signals
Ellie Price

The past twelve months have witnessed an impressive, if not yet meteoric, rise in popularity for Ellie Price and her Signals cohorts, with a UK tour and several festival appearances affording the talented group plenty of exposure.

To suggest that the marked upsurge in admirers is merely due to a commercially viable, aesthetically appealing package would be doing the band a major disservice, indeed their inaugural LP, Square Wheels and follow up Facial Furniture, were each creatively rewarding and emphatically raw.

IOW Festival 2014 Signals
Mikey Webber

Their latest cut, Sleep Talk, a single with an official UK release looming on Sunday, is another step in the desired direction for the Platform One graduates, embellishing their auditory concepts for the first time with a shiny music video.

The new track plunges straight into comfortingly quintessential Math-Pop, with Price’s distinctive vocals glueing together a complex composition with a captivating chorus.

Blending seamlessly with the front-woman, the duel backing harmonies of bassist Alex Vanblaere and guitarist Mikey Webber add gravitas to proceedings and establish the blueprint for an unpredictable junket.

A generous dose of piano scaling garnishes some solid percussion from the highly talented Ryan Beachy, who would be the brooding, intense one if Louis Walsh got his expressionless chops involved.

Admittedly, the sporadic nature of Sleep Talk might not appeal to everyone’s ears, bustling along with a dozen separate visions seemingly colliding as it advances towards a conclusive crescendo.

This is chaotic, unceasing music that may benefit from the occasional bridge over turbulent waters.

Even with that petty admonition, this is another triumph for Signals, who are rapidly threatening to de-seat The Bees as the Isle of Wight’s premier musical export of the Millennium.

Sleep Talk is another gratifying addition to an already impressive body of work constructed by four ultra talented musicians who will only continue to refine their act as their experience level increases – get to a live show if you can, you won’t regret it.

Another noteworthy release from the Signals crew, Sleep Talk reveals a maturing interpretation of the math-pop genre.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Isle of Wight Festival 2014 Highlights. Part One: Local Bands.

The Isle of Wight Festival kicked off the 2014 summer season of live music with a posturing, strutting cocktail which catered for everyone who entered Seaclose Park during the course of the four days. Dom Kureen and photographer Sophie Robinson were present to check it out.

Ellie Price of Signals

Following last year’s disappointing ticket sales and mixed feedback, Isle of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings knew that he had to flip a Royal Flush this time around in order to mend the reputation of a previously highly regarded event.

In 2014 Giddings and his fellow organisers got it right, providing a fully warranted spotlight for a burgeoning crop of local talent that is the most exciting in decades, whilst cramming the main stage headline slots and under card with an eclectic menu that surely had something to satiate even the airiest hipster.

Local Highlights

The “Platform One” and “Kashmir Cafe” stages in particular promoted the cream of Isle of Wight talent, allowing groups from the area pleasingly extensive exposure.

Fresh from their Bestival competition success, Ba.Dow hit the P1 stage three times over the course of the weekend, their catchy guitar riffs accompanied by Beth Ditto-esque vocal interpretations that resonated courtesy of lead singer/drummer Jodie Amos and ensured that they once again confirmed their status as one of the five most promising bands on the island.

Signals excelled in their final set of the weekend inside the Kashmir Cafe, despite front-woman Ellie Price suffering from a bout of laryngitis.

The four-piece, who have only recently returned from a successful UK tour, had the packed venue leaping around incessantly with a memorable rendition of the uber uplifting “Square Wheels” with bass guitarist Alex Vanblaere in his element within the crammed venue, upping his usual ferocity to compensate for Price’s enforced throaty reticence.

Ska practitioners The Ohmz engaged spectators with their customary high-tempo unpredictability and their place upon the “Life’s a Beach” stage was undoubtedly one of the booking masterstrokes of the entire festival.

Dan Duveaux
Dan Duveaux

Pleasurade disappointingly opted to call it a day, announcing they were set to go their separate ways following a conclusive gig at the festival.  It brought the curtain down on a four year stint that had gradually gained the talented quintet a decent following in local circles.

Their adieu wasn’t all sunshine and lounge chairs, with Adam Gaterell’s guitar refusing to play ball for the band’s send-off, fortunately he had a replacement in tow!

Others who stood out from the local acts were Duveaux who were booked to play a mammoth six times, yet still managed to attract hefty crowds until the end and Floella Grace, whose emotional recital left a lasting impression upon everyone who was there to enjoy it – she’s one to watch in the next couple of years.

On a broader level, Platform One and those who come from its conveyor belt have evolved massively during the past few years.

Where in the College’s infancy the output was diluted by a host of wannabe Nirvana tributes, there’s no doubt that the contemporary artists all have the potential and originality to thrive on grander stages.

This was the first Isle of Wight Festival that truly showcased the magnitude of local talent on offer, for that John Giddings and his motley crew should be commended.

Check back for part two, where Dom will be looking at the ‘big names’ who performed at the 2014 Isle of Wight Festival!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.