Festival Review: Bushstock 2015


London, June 13th 2015

Words: Lauren Grigor

Bushstock-Festival-2015-v4-11-Web-260x366Bushstock 2015 was a festival with an atmosphere I was not expecting. The streets were filled with teens and adults checking their schedules, freaking out over clashes and dashing from one venue to the next throughout the quirky West London Shepherd’s Bush. Even just getting off the tube station to see a bunch of kids dancing to the caribbean buskers, I could tell it was going to be a very fun day.

Between St Stephen’s Church (Where Communion’s New Faces Tour is held in London), The Courtyard, Defector’s Weld and Bush Hall, there was an abundance of choice for music fans no matter what they were after. After snapping on our wristbands we found getting into Samm Henshaw almost seemed like it would be impossible. We were lining up outside just as his set was about to start in the Courtyard. Luckily we made it in and grooved our way to the front to get up close and personal with this man and his talented band. The first full song I heard was Redemption; Such a good song with an amazing back up band. A great voice – soul with wonderful harmonies from a lovely girl on stage with him, he then lead into Best Song Ever from 1 Direction. It was funny because I think a lot of people in the crowd were singing along before they realised what it was. He also treated the crowd to Only Gonna Be With You and got us all involved with Better

Misty Miller made waves several years ago as a pretty wee blonde girl playing her ukelele. Times have changed, Misty is now a chirpy goth girl who is covered in her own hand-poked tattoos singing unabashedly about boys and the troubles they cause her. Despite this, she’s a feminist through and through and acts her 20 years perfectly. I’ve hear fans say she did a ‘Miley’ in shaking off her good-girl image. But let’s be honest – that’s not a bad thing. She’s badass and I love her. She played Next To You, Happy, Girlfriend and finished with Best Friend. She knows that her songs are real and doesn’t really apologise if some of them come across as sad. All in all, her set was high energy and Defector’s Weld was completely packed with people eager to see and meet Misty.

Photo: Lauren Grigor

Photo: Lauren Grigor

Vaults were The band I had to see. The brief moments I caught in Liverpool Sound City were incredible and in a smaller venue they will no doubt keep the energy popping and crackling. They were electric and avant-garde yet don’t appear to take themselves too seriously – a feat that not all musicians can achieve. It was great to hear their new songs Cry No More and Losing Games There’s vocal hints of Bjork and Joni Mitchell in Lead Singer Byrne with a rolling bass backdrop on glockenspiel style percussion. I’m not going to lie – I totally fangirled when I met Byrne after their set. I was upset that Vaults clashed with Nadine Shah (The internal dilemma lasted nearly all day) but in the end I was really happy with my decision.

Beach Baby were a very fun little four piece who had me dancing around during their set and then laughing, after they played, when I bumped into them outside which was fun. Charlotte OC completely blew me away. She was hypnotic, completely trusting in her deep alto vocal ability, she had the whole crowd enthralled. Though she had some band members on stage, there were a couple of moments when it was just her and an instrument that she wouldn’t even play fully. I knew she was good but I didn’t expect her to be so captivating. In saying that, it seems like she’s perfected her set for a smaller intimate festival crowd, so it would be interesting to see what she alters to keep a few more hundred people intrigued.

photo: lauren grigor

photo: lauren grigor

At the end of the day we managed to catch the end of All We Are who are always tight and on point, playing to a very appreciative crowd. Straight after them it was time for Lucy Rose, a much loved sweetheart who had a legion of fans ready for her in Bush Hall. She sort of reminds me of Jewel with a bit more attitude and he vocals were spot on the entire set, as she treated us to a few new tracks as well.

Strong Asian Mothers were the official after-party entertainment and they did not stop moving or making a shitload of noise for the full set. A lot of their songs blurred into one for me but I was more than happy to hang around than head home after such an exciting day

As with all festivals there is always a list of regrets, a “damn I wish I’d seen them too” feeling and these are the ones I’m gutted I Missed:

Nadine Shah: was really upset about this, but making it a goal to see her in the flesh before the year is out!

Port Isla: They sort of remind me a bit of Mumford and Sons (circa Babel) but would have no doubt got a crowd singing and clapping, belting out their songs
The Beach: I did only see him 5 days earlier so I’m sure he would have delivered a set just as strong

Nick Mulvey: Shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize last year, Cheeky Nick Mulvey was one of the secret special guests playing at the Wine Bar, sadly the queue snaked around the corner so there wasn’t much of a chance of getting in to see him play an acoustic set

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