Sat on the train to Oxford for a day of truly exceptional talent, we can’t help but have a little “we’re not worthy” moment...
Shaking it off and down to business, first thing we head over to the Bullingdon to catch the excellent Melt Dunes kick off Ritual Union’s debut line-up. With ferocious intensity and thrills akin to a horror film, the coast-hailing young chaps are an impressive opening act. Each hazy track slips seamlessly into the next as Melt Dunes embody the exceptional hopes we hold for the day.
We stick around at the Bullingdon a while longer (mostly by choice, although our feet are also a little stuck to the already beer-y floor), and The Lizards are the next to take it away with their gritty psych-punk concoctions. The crowd then fleshes out considerably for the immaculate TRAAMS. The trio proceed to obliterate the audience with their relentless tunnels of immersive sound before bringing their set to an awesome close with ‘A House On Fire’.
After a whip through Tesco reminiscent of Supermarket Sweep, we’re refuelled and it’s time to shimmy down to Truck Store and take a look at who the surprise set is. To our delight, two members of Low Island are performing a delicate acoustic set in preparation for their midnight performance at the Bullingdon. Their stripped-back version of ‘Recent’ as well as new track ‘Hot Air’ are particular highlights, as the band treat us to a much more chilled out and electronic-based sound compared to the day’s other offerings thus far.
Mellow Gang then live up to their name in all but their clear dedication. Frontwoman Harriet Joseph awes the Bullingdon crowd with her beautifully earthy vocals - these guys are definitely ones to watch.
As evening approaches the dreaded clashes begin to seep in. Tearing ourselves away from the magnificent Ulrika Spacek (but not before catching ‘Mimi Pretend’ - if you haven’t heard the track, stop wasting your time) we head over to The Library. Denmark’s finest Baby In Vain are setting up in all their glory, and boy is it a set to remember. Witnessing these ladies in such an intimate venue is an unforgettable experience to say the least; standing two feet away from such impeccable talent can’t fail to induce the pricking of tears through pure gratitude that such music exists. Bone-rattling guitars, delightfully raw vocals and unstoppable energy, Baby In Vain absolutely smash the set and synonymously their UK tour.
We take a sharp turn for the psychedelic in the form of Josefin Ӧhrn + the Liberation, stirring up an eager crowd with their fantastic sound. TOY then spoil us to their dreamy rhythms over at O2 Academy2, and as always exhibit their exceptional stage presence and maturity for a relatively recent band.
Last (but in no way, shape or form least) up on our agenda are Black Honey. It’s fantastic to see the level of support the guys have drawn after the hard work they’ve put into working the circuit the past few years. The crowd are absolutely lapping up singles ‘Madonna’ and ‘Hello Today’, singing every single word. The Brighton four-piece are completely at home playing the biggest stage of the festival, and give a fantastically captivating performance. Sadly we only get them for thirty minutes, but in that time we're treated to their forthcoming single, and even manage to squeeze in a lovely chat with vocalist Izzy Baxter whilst she dishes out free merch. They do know the way to our hearts.