Summer time means one thing in music world – festival season. In the UK there are dozens to choose from including the huge events that are Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, V Festival and Download as well as the slightly smaller Slam Dunk, Rebellion and Boomtown festivals. The anticipation on the line ups of these festivals is always huge and various websites are full of different rumours and hopes of who will be playing where. This got me thinking “what if I was in charge of a festival line up, who would I have play my stage?”
The opening slot on a stage is always one of the hardest to play. Typically starting at lunch time the crowd will more than likely still be half asleep and not ready to go crazy just yet. For that reason the first band of “Colin Fest” will be Brightons Gnarwolves. Gnarwolves are probably the UK’s biggest punk band currently and have a cult like following. Playing aggressive high energy pop punk this three piece will get the crowd going nuts early and will be a tough act for the rest of the line up to follow.
Up next I would put my current favourite UK band, ONSIND. I can’t speak highly enough of this duo from Durham. The set itself won’t have the crowd going as wild as it would for Gnarwolves but the sing alongs will be as big as any band playing the day. The thought of a whole field singing along to Heterosexuality Is A Construct puts a smile on my face.
The third band on will be the best thing Australia has given us since Mile Jedinak and Kylie Minogues bottom – The Smith Street Band. This four piece from Melbourne really put everything into their sets and their energy and enthusiasm is infectious. The Smith Street Band are a group that live to play live and will have everyone smiling and dancing. Expect front man Wil Wagner to join the crowd for the usual closing song, Young Drunk.
Band number four will be Philadelphia’s The Menzingers. I’ve not been to many gigs where a band can get the crowd going quite like The Menzingers do. The Menzingers are one of the most prolific bands going, constantly releasing album of the year contenders so will have an amazing amount of great songs to choose from to make the Colin Fest crowd happy. Expect stage dives and crowd surfs galore.
After The Menzingers I would allow a short interlude in the proceedings for people to go eat, drink and do whatever else they might do whilst there aren’t any bands playing. After the slight break there is only one band I can think of to get the party going again – London’s Imperial Leisure. This London alternative ska band throws a party like no other. Expect an energetic, frantic and fun show filled with skanking galore.
The next band up to help keep the party going will be some veterans of the UK ska punk scene [Spunge]. Having spent the past twenty years touring up and down the country, this four piece band from Tewkesbury know all about playing festivals. During the career they have graced the stages of Reading and Leeds, Download and Slam Dunk festivals to name but a few. Expect a set full of nostalgia with some classic [Spunge] songs and a few bonus cover songs.
Following [Spunge] would be the first of two headline bands. The first of these arguably the biggest punk band on the planet right now, Against Me. Having started out playing in launderettes to gaining a huge underground following to this year getting air play on main stream radio they are currently on top of the world. An Against Me live show is full of no nonsense, fists in the air, passionate punk rock anthems.
The final headline act can only be one band. Forming in Florida in 1992 it’s the kings of ska punk, Gainesville’s Less Than Jake. For me Less Than Jake are the best live band I have ever had the pleasure of seeing and are the perfect way to finish my festival. Another band with over twenty years worth of songs to play it will be another nostalgia filled set. Despite it being late in the day expect Less Than Jake to keep the energy going right through their set, encouraging massive mosh pits and the occasional circle pit. Crowd participation is a must at a Less Than Jake show so don’t be surprised if they invite various members of the audience on stage to dance, play games or just make out with each other for prizes. Less Than Jake won’t wind the festival down slowly, they will finish it off with a bang sending everybody home with massive grins on their face.