Interstellar Food Drive Online Festival Review.

Thirty three new artists played the online festival to raise money for UK food banks.

LIVE REVIEW | INTERSTELLAR FOOD BANK | WORDS BY KARL JOHNSON

The two things that come to mind having watched the entirety of yesterday’s Interstellar Food Bank Drive (Online) Festival. One, what a fantastic way to raise funds and awareness for a charity, and two, what a neat opportunity to witness live sets from bands around the world. That’s six and a half hours of live music in total. You can support The Trussell Trust with a donation right here.

In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. We support more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.

The Trussell Trust

First up was the Aussie section. Melbourne’s Sunfruits opened the show with tight-knit world rhythms and hypnotic vocal harmonies. ‘Bonsoy’ – what a tune! Dear Doonan followed shortly after with an electrically charged and psych-tuned burst of energy, a heavy-hitting and mind bending set of instrumental psychedelic rock – trumpet, flute and vocal chants. Melbourne’s Badgers opened with their debut single ‘Make It Rain’ operating on a blistering garage rock level, with a sound steeped in rock ‘n’ roll history it was their touching harmonies and feel-good rhythms that locked on and didn’t let go. Dead Rabbits‘ set was based around a crystallised and reflective visual, a short but beautiful piece of slow-burning psychedelia.

Between April 2018 and March 2019, food banks in our network provided a record 1.6 million food supplies to people in crisis, a 19% increase on the previous year.

The Trussell Trust

Barbudo is a name you may well know already, the Portsmouth trio were seemingly born with groove in their step. I loved their homemade disco set up with the rotating and multicoloured disco ball. The vocals, harmonies and all out funk groove was unstoppable. Sat upon his bed, Jimmy Stuart (Is Bliss) crafted dreamy, bass-driven and truly atmospheric elements of shoegaze and psychedelia. Portsmouth multi-instrumentalist Tom Bryan used his guitar percussively alongside the use of delay, picking up the harmonica one second to putting down a drum beat the next creating a thoughtful and intricate soundscape. Next up was the fantastic Lily Hayes, opening with new single and folk gem ‘Soft On Me’ then joined by two other members on the delicate ‘Still Young’, … hold up… was that Griffiths brothers aka Speedboat??

We know it takes more than food to end hunger. That’s why we bring together the experiences of food banks in our network to challenge the structural economic issues that lock people in poverty, and campaign to end the need for food banks in the UK.

The Trussell Trust

Public Body have made a dent on the London scene of late, their split-screen approach, each playing from their respective bedrooms, showed firstly, how many good songs they have and secondly, how tight and intricate their sound has become. As far as I’m aware, TV Priest haven’t had a chance to play live yet? Their two releases in lockdown have both been mega and I’m happy that their live sound is as chaotic and beautifully scrappy as I’d hoped. Two Tribes brought their industrial electronica to the bedroom, reduced to a three-piece but every inch as hypnotic – certainly a band to catch live when were back to it. Mammoth riffs and a backbone of rigid drumming, the duo sounded somewhat like The White Stripes, there was also something very 70’s and Bowie about the sound too, welcome Freya Beer.

In the last five years, food bank use in our network has increased by 73%

The Trussel Trust

Next up was UGLY who’s set up was complete with two office swivel chairs, two guitars and seemingly a mini vocal booth. It’s great to hear UGLY as a bare-bones set up, the lyrics were beautiful which can sometimes be lost in their chaotic live shows. Streaming from an aquarium near you, Tiña played tracks from their recently announced debut album. Josh has recently recovered from a broken collarbone (get well soon!), but still managed to be his charming psychedelic cowboy self. Even in such a basic setting, Rosie Alena‘s vocal is sublime. Moving between keyboard and guitar at ease, she’s a songwriter with bags of potential and enjoyable to watch every time. Leggs provided a live set of their recent gig at The Windmill, London. There’s bags of energy on stage and the band’s rolling rhythms and social commentary are electric.

During the past year, 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis in the UK; More than half a million of these (577,618) went to children. This is an 18.8% increase on the previous year.

The Trussell Trust

Breathe Panel‘s self-titled debut record didn’t get the attention it deserved, I’ve said it. Complete with one electric and one acoustic guitar and live in the stairwell of their home, their dreamy melodies and interlocking guitar sequences are beautifully hypnotic. Tugboat Captain treated us to a ‘best of’ set live from lead singer Sox’s lamp-lit bedroom in South East London, equally excellent acoustically as it is live with the full band. Vienna’s Lucy Dreams (complete with mask), took us through a set of AI-led intergalactic electro-pop including new single ‘Know My Number’.

There were too many incredible sets and not enough time to review them all. It was a pleasure to be a part of the organisation of the festival, and to raise awareness to The Trussell Trust and to point people towards donating to such an important project. Read more about The Trussell Trust and donate here. Also, if you missed it, watch the full video back above.