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Kendal Calling 2011 Review

For those of you who aren?t aware of this little festival?s existence, it is based in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District. A serene and refreshing location for a festival, it brings together half a dozen stages jammed full of both mainstream and lesser known artistic talent, from music to comedy, poetry to circus acts. It was awarded ?Best Small Festival? last year at the UK festival awards, as voted by the public. This list is an overview of my highlight artists from the 2011 weekend.
6 The Lancashire Hotpots
Achtung Gravy

6. The Lancashire Hotpots ? This unruly mob of Lancastrians played the
slightly smaller Kaylied Stage in 2010, and drew crowds that spilled out of
the tent and across the field, so it was no wonder that they were invited
back to play the Main Stage this year on the Sunday afternoon. Their sense
of humour, mixed with country infused songs such as ?I Fear Ikea? and
?He?s Turned Emo? roused the audience out of their mid-afternoon lull, and
geared them up for the bigger acts ahead. It goes without saying that their
musicianship wasn?t the most exquisite of the weekend, but who cares
when they?re singing about smuggling sweets into a cinema, whilst dressed
as pirates?
5Sonic Boom Six
City of Thieves

5. Sonic Boom Six ? The evening of the Saturday night was unfortunately a
bit hazy due to the lure of the real ale tent, but these guys stood out as
one of the night?s best acts. Their set drew in those kids whose
headbanging and circle-pitting quota hadn?t quite been filled by Echo & The
Bunnymen. Their King Blues-esque ska punk was a bit divisive, with the
older audience standing outside the tent tutting at the band?s social
commentary, whilst young teens beat the shit out of each other at the front
of the stage. Whichever way you looked at it though, their set was
incredibly energetic and had the audience worked up into a frenzy by the
end of the night.
4Zero 7
Simple Things

4. Sophie Barker ? Whilst meandering around the campsite with a couple of
friends, we came across possibly the smallest tent of the festival. The ?Get
it Loud in Libraries? stage had sofas and tables where you could listen to
singer/songwriters and poets, slightly away from the mayhem of the larger
stages. We caught Sophie Barker by chance, and had no idea that she was
one of the vocalists who collaborates with Zero 7 until she sang a brilliant
acoustic version of their hit ?Destiny?. With a criminally small audience of
around 20, she gave a great performance and was deserving of a larger
3Vintage Trouble
Bomb Shelter Sessions

3. Vintage Trouble ? I had no idea who this band were until a friend I was
at the festival with told me about them, having seen them recently on
?Later... with Jools Holland?. She dragged me along early on the Sunday to
see them, and although my head felt slightly delicate, I was glad she did.
They had played on a smaller stage the previous night and had continued
until the small hours of the morning. Word had apparently got out that they
were worth seeing, as they had a large crowd in attendance, especially
considering they were first out on the Main Stage. The vocalist did a hell of
a job, with a hint of Chuck Berry to his voice, and more than a pinch of
Prince to his stage antics. A tight performance from the band (with what
looked the spitting image of Viggo Mortensen on drums) and very catchy
songs ensured they stuck in the crowd?s memory. Also, kudos to them for
having the most sincere and least self-indulgent Amy Winehouse tribute of
the weekend.
2Chase and Status
More Than Alot

2. Chase & Status ? I wasn?t sure what to expect from one of the UK?s most
popular electronic duos on the Friday night, as their impressive plethora of
guest artists was always going to prove awkward to translate into a live
performance. However, for every song they played, there was a pre-
recorded video of each guest artist played simultaneously, which was
integrated seamlessly into the pair?s set. The addition of MC Rage kept the
audience ticking along nicely between songs, without being too intrusive.
Although I was personally disappointed by the lack of fan favourites
?Running? and ?End Credits?, the appearance of Liam Bailey on stage for a
rendition of ?Blind Faith? was a welcome addition, and the video and light
show created an electric atmosphere, setting a fantastic tone for the rest of
the weekend.
1Frank Turner
England Keep My Bones

1. Frank Turner ? Sunday afternoon was what I had been waiting for.
Following The Lancashire Hotpots, one might have thought Frank Turner
and the Sleeping Souls would have trouble keeping the audience?s
attention after such an amusing act. Having previously seen Frank Turner
live though, I knew what to expect. His energy and passion are both
infamous and infectious, as was witnessed by a crowd that grew immensely
throughout his set, drawing more and more people in from the surrounding
tents. Kicking his performance off with ?Eulogy?, the mood was set for the
next hour and a quarter as he ripped through the most popular of his
songs with enthusiasm. He always seems to do so, but once again he came
across like a really nice guy to the audience, engaging in banter and
singalongs, but just about managing to avoid the clichés of being a front
man. The finale of ?Photosynthesis?, where he got several thousand people
to sit down on the field, and then jump up and go mental at the chorus,
was one of, if not the highlight of the weekend.
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