Returning for a second year of sunshine-soaked entertainment in the grounds of Warrington’s Victoria Park, SJM Concerts’ Neighbourhood Weekender confirms its two-day residency for Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th of May. For all attending the festival will provide a full roster of musical highlights alongside a fantastic selection of local food and drink.
With the acts now announced, it’s our job to fill you in on all the excitement that shouldn’t be missed. Outside of headliners George Ezra and Richard Ashcroft (their starpower goes without saying), the must-see programming would usually lie in the lower ends of the billing but as it is the Neighbourhood brand we’re talking about here, the norm, indeed, doesn’t apply. Throughout both days the talent is impeccably high and consistent, spanning across three stages and celebrating many forms of live music the festival promises good value, good times and good company.
Saturday boasts a variety of mainstream successes matched with homegrown up-and-comers, then Sunday correlates just as strong with a masterclass of local names and national heroes to close out the weekend. Focussing on a few staples we think deserve a closer look, we’ve put together a short whistlestop guide of who to see and when. Investigate below.
Yonaka // Saturday
Fusing hard rock riffs with pop and hip hop, this band of Brighton musicians is at the top of our list because frankly they are an exciting prospect. With their debut album dropping soon after the festival and a plethora of big tunes already released, Yonaka remain a must see. Even if it’s just to hear Theresa Jarvis’ incredible pipes one more time.
Fuzzy Sun // Saturday
Bringing the grooves of disco and the funk of pop, Stockport natives Fuzzy Sun will definitely lighten the load after a day filled with stage-hopping and dodgy festival loos. Their live show is just as dazzling as their music, providing fun banter in between bouts of soaring synths, melancholy lyrics and boogie downs.
Sea Girls // Saturday
You’re never far away from an energetic chord progression or an infectious hook when at a Sea Girls show, the four-piece revives the tenacity of indie’s heyday and updates it for current audiences. Their sets have become hazy, emphatic signifers of group sing-alongs and wild synergy, they already have many epic hits to their name so expect a lively bombast of punchy riffs and huge choruses.
Anteros // Saturday
With a debut album now in hand, the revelry powered by indie pop newcomers, Anteros is one that’s certainly hard to match. Steered by Laura Hayden on vocals, the band’s unpredictable live presence finds new methods to be memorable every single time they jump on stage. Always a joy to watch, Anteros’ set will be an excellent way to spend half an hour.
Shadowlark // Saturday
Lingering on the atmospheric side of pop, Leeds trio Shadowlark call on the romance and bohemia of the ’80s to create a poised, enveloping sound that celebrates modern creativity. Their performances tend to be rapturous affairs of lustrous musicianship and soaring mesmerics, but don’t underestimate the emotional rapture of their lyrics and singer Ellen Smith’s engrossing vocal talent. It takes some time to get over a Shadowlark encounter, but it’s one experience you’ll truly savour.
White Lies // Sunday
Five albums in and this London band hold a considerable back catalogue of indie classics and surging anthems to their name, with new songs to showcase from their latest LP, ‘Five,’ that honour the band’s continued urgency to diversify and evolve, it’s vital that you mark this engagement as a priority. With songs that are made to be heard in festival fields, it’s hard to turn down the appeal of joining a main stage crowd for a mid-evening nostalgia trip through such powerful historic territory as Death, To Lose My Life and Farewell to the Fairground.
The Slow Readers Club // Sunday
Hailing from nearby Manchester, this four piece will bring three albums worth of content to a live set brimming with indie excellence and emphatic rallying calls. Already well established across the country, the Slow Readers Club’s army of dedicated fans are sure to pack out any stage the band occupies – and their Neighbourhood Weekender debut is sure to be no exception. You’ll need to arrive early if you want to ensure a central vantage point. Really there’s nothing else to say, it’s going to be a massively enjoyable performance so don’t miss out.
Clean Cut Kid // Sunday
Euphoric with heartfelt underpinnings, Liverpool’s Clean Cut Kid are forever a must see. With plenty of tracks at their disposal, this outing is especially exciting as it will one of the first times that they play new cuts from their new album, ‘Painwave.’ Energised by multi-harmony dynamics, amped up riffs, invigorating emotive lyrics and a retro filter, the band don’t deal in half measures. It’s well worth warming up the voice before attending.
APRE // Sunday
Creating infectious music with a surrealist tone, London duo APRE maintain an allure that most won’t (or can’t) carry off. They’ve already released a host of impressive and captivating singles, their live show is wildly engaging too. So is there anything unfavourable to say about this band? Probably not. We’d like to hear more music, for sure, but that’s a given. Best option is to check out the band’s set for yourself, get a slice of the action in before they move up to bigger stages.
Orla Gartland // Sunday
This Irish songwriter proves the power in doing it yourself, starting out on YouTube as a covers artist she’s now touring the world with her own accomplished originals. Her talent goes beyond learnt skill, it’s an innate practise she must have be born with, songs like Why Am I Like This? and Between My Teeth easily reflect this. Her natural eye for detail is part of the charm and the striking presence of her as an artist, her live shows range from solo to full band yet each rest on Gartland’s irrepressible presence. Essential viewing.
Tickets are on sale now via https://nbhdweekender.com/ and available to buy in person without booking fees at the Warrington Parr Hall Box Office.
Photo Credit: Flare Collective