Bring back pub rock! Not as in a load of Dad’s struggling to form anything resembling a groove as they try to portray their love of Eagles, but pubs showcasing homegrown bloody talent, brother!
Maidstone Fringe Festival is the yearly gathering showing that the town of Maidstone, Kent, can be alright sometimes, with most of the events being free entry. Drakes is usually where the best artists, in sound and energy, can be found; same old, same old. And this year, Factotum Productions is again the one supplying the talent. Same old, same old.
Southampton’s Burning House would lull the audience into hushed awe if they weren’t so goddamn loud. Like their gods My Bloody Valentine, Burning House’s blistering feedback obscures their emotive pop songwriting. It’s a wonderful mix of headbanging ferocity and earnest love of pop tunes; ‘If You Won’t’ almost has a genuine guitar riff that wraps around the song, while their finale reaches a punishing groove that resembles Dinosaur Jr.’s ‘You’re Living All Over Me’ in intensity.
Meanwhile, homegrown boys GURU, who have since moved to Brighton, provide nothing but the good times. Sweet-ass rock & roll tunes is what they choose to play, and that’s what they do. Garage flavour rock nuggets, each song having its own individual flavour to make sure no one gets too bored. Everything is played with genuine enthusiasm, the only problem is the guitar being too low in the mix; otherwise the finale would have been Sabbath-level heavy.
RADIDAS, who last year dropped the wonderful ‘Dream Button’ EP, are here to play their first show of the year, having been cooped up cooking up new material. Which is all that they play. So you won’t be hearing any festival smash-hit singalongs from post-rock wunderkind duo RADIDAS anytime soon. ‘Dream Button’ was a mostly wordless dive into psychedelic textures amidst post-rock grooves that could crumble mountains; sledgehammer chords processed through a million different guitar pedals. Tonight, RADIDAS move in the absolute correct direction; they add beats. A lot of the songs have genuine late-80s house music flavours to them, and with the crushing force of heavy drums and heavy guitars they absolutely slam. A whole EP of this would be well sick, and it’s genuinely exciting to hear RADIDAS knowing how to grow and evolve.
Here’s where you would read some words on how London’s False-Heads are well on their way to stardom, but unfortunately you won’t because they had to pull out of tonight’s slot. Instead, we have locals Best Intentions, who recently released their debut ‘Good Advice’ EP, five headrush indie rock songs that display a clear love of the lives of contemporaries like The War On Drugs and Deerhunter, as well as the classic ’70s post-punk groups. Unfortunately they don’t manage to replicate that studio energy into a live setting, the songs coming off as tired and amateur. Maybe they’ll get it together proper soon. Let’s hope. You do need hope to live in Maidstone.
Maidstone Fringe Festival is held every year during the last weekend of April.
Photo Credit: James Newmarch