Words: Karl Johnson
Ones to watch guides are horrifically difficult to write, where do you start with the sheer amount of artists on the bill? Over 450 bands over the festival’s four days! This is seemingly where gut feeling and a decent tip helps to form the lay out of your festival experience as a new music fan. Half of the bands that you want to see you’ll miss, and the other half perhaps won’t have even been on your radar to start with, this guide aims to provide a backbone of the sets we feel are unmissable.
THE MVT STAGE: 3:15pm Friday
PAGANINI BALLROOM (THE OLD SHIP): 10:30pm Friday
Playing on home soil, you’ll be lucky to find a more exciting live act than Opus Kink. The Brighton six-piece can’t put a foot wrong at the moment and have notched up some of the best singles and music videos of the last year (see below for their latest ‘Dog Stay Down’). Blurring the lines between spaghetti-western punk, swampy jazz and soulful and heartfelt songwriting, an instant love affair with their live set is unavoidable.
HORATIOS: 11:15pm Friday
Momma join the ranks of those unearthing the grungy pleasure of 90’s alternative rock. Dual singers/ guitarists Allegra Weingarten and Etta Friedman dig out a sweet spot between the ferocity of peak-era grunge and melodic guitar-focused pop songwriting. Off the back of live dates with indie hotshots Wet Leg, the Brooklyn duo have made their first trip to the UK this month, with new album ‘Household Name’ arriving this summer on Lucky Number.
TGE BEACH STAGE: 3:30pm Thursday
CHALK: 9:15pm Friday
The Brooklyn five-piece have emerged from NYC’s talented underbelly winning. Their debut album ‘Audio Drag for Ego Slobs’ arrived in October last year on Royal Mountain, bringing with it a bag full of hope and hype, now the band get to play it live in the UK. Akin to bands like BODEGA, ESG or Parquet Courts, this NYC act brings all the power of groove and barbed guitars alongside a vocal performance that is incredibly captivating.
HORATIOS: 9:15pm Friday
The songwriting duo of best friends Louise Macphail (Bristol) and Kristin McFadden (Chicago) are writing some of the most hook-laden new alternative pop songs at the moment (they’ve only released four). ‘Chew My Cheeks’ is an upbeat of tale of unrequited love, ‘Invisible Hand’ a slow-burning country ballad – the bolstered live band bring an atmospheric presence to the intimacy of the recorded songs.
HORATIOS: 11:20pm Thursday
Glasgow five-piece VLURE will be the band on the lips of those in the know, bringing a heavy electronic sound and light show alongside anthemic choruses. The Scottish act delve into religion on stand out hit ‘Shattered Faith’ and their live shows bring a sense of poeticism to a rave environment – not for the faint at heart.