Festival Review: Close Up 2021

cuf-square-pinkFestival Review: Close Up Festival 2021 

Colours Hoxton, 11 September 2021 Words & Photos: Amy Butcher
Live music has always been a big part of my life, and to have that taken away for 18 months was like a kick in the teeth. Entering the doors to the venue room at Colours Hoxton, getting the classic venue stamp on my wrist, and seeing the stage being set up for the next band was a familiar feeling. Live music was back and Close Up Festival 2021 was the best way to get back into going to gigs again! 0Twinkly notes, jangly guitar riffs & infectious melodies indicated the first act of our day: Devon. Though the venue wasn’t completely filled (as things were just getting started) that didn’t faze this singer/songwriter. Easing into his set, slowly but surely Devon really came into his own during ‘I Don’t Want 2 B Ur Friend’, moving around the stage and engaging with the crowd. For many artists these are their first non-socially distanced shows since before the pandemic, so it was great to see Devon enjoying himself. What followed was high energy, impactful rhythms and a glittering set that left you with a nice glow ready for the next act. All in all, a cracking way to start the day! I was intrigued to see what The Hubbards had in store for us, having not been familiar with their music but knowing they were one to watch on the bill, you could say I was excited! The Hull based four-piece did not disappoint; whether it was the sweet, addictive indie vibes or singer Reuben’s soulfully smooth vocals, their sound engulfed the room in the best way. I could tell this band were the dark horses of the Close Up lineup, and even with an earlier slot, The Hubbards’ set was certainly one of the more memorable ones from the day. The track ‘Seven or Eleven’ was a highlight for me. 0-1Valeras were next up and were the biggest surprise for me. From the ferocity of the guitar to the serendipitous vocals of singer Rose, the whole set was one hell of a show in itself! The incredibly high energy, oozing confidence as they played and loud, gripping sound blew me away. Whether it was the catchy melody of ‘Rita’ or hip swaying rhythms in ‘Intentions’; Valeras showed talent in their ability to not just write amazing songs, but songs built to go OFF when played live. Halfway into the day, already I was impressed with the acts we’d been able to see so far! Stomachs full after taking a break from the music, we re-entered the venue to catch the last few songs in Sad Boys Club’s set. What we did manage to catch was great, full of intricate guitar melodies in the verses and grittier sounds in the choruses. It is clear the band have spent time developing their sound, it shows in the fantastic performance they gave – however, as a new listener, at some points I did not know where one song started and another ended.

0-2Next came a vast contrast in energy from Trudy and the Romance. If you hadn’t heard of them before, you certainly would have once they started playing – I think even those sitting in the bar outside the venue would have wanted to get a look in. If you want Elvis Presley mixed with The Beatles doo wop that makes you melt and gives you a warm fuzzy feeling inside, then a Trudy and the Romance set is for you. My love for old school inspired bands is no secret, considering I’m an avid fan of bands such as Vala and Silvertwin, who also bring that classic doo wop feel to their music, so as soon as the band started, they had me and the crowd hooked. As they launched into ‘Doghouse’, we were clapping, dancing & smiling from ear to ear, Trudy and the Romance couldn’t have been a better fit for Close Up Festival. The Liverpool based band’s sound isn’t tight or smooth, instead they give you a ragged and rough around the edges style. Whether it’s the crooning slurred vocals, distorted guitar riffs or fast drum beats, every song took you on a journey and I bloody loved it. Trudy and the Romance were definitely my favourite of the day, and I’m itching to see them live again.

I find at festivals there is always one artist or band that you’re not so keen on than the rest but with Close Up, I enjoyed every single one. Bamily were the last band and headliners of the day, and again, I was not as familiar with their music before, though the way they performed mad evene the newest fan feel like an old friend. ‘Katata’ was a highlight for me with soft, fluorescent sounds, ambient synths and this beautiful melody scratching a musical itch I didn’t know I had! For the entire set, the room turned into one big party with everyone laughing, dancing and enjoying the vibes Bamily were giving – it honestly felt like you were watching a group of friends play a festival worthy set at a house party and rounded the day off fantastically. Close Up Festival was everything I expected and more – full of quality artists and bands, a euphoric crowd atmosphere, and the feeling, that even with the hardships live music faced over the last 18 months, it was back and better than ever, alive and kicking, ready to bring joy into people’s lives once again.

Like what you hear? Don't like what you hear? .... tell us... here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Popped Music Logo by…

    Ian Caulkett
    If you like our logo then check out Ian's site here: http://cargocollective.com/iancaulkett

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Also please do sign up to our personalised mailing list: http://eepurl.com/bejgpX

    Join 9,945 other followers

  • About Popped Music

    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

    All articles written by Elena Katrina unless otherwise stated.

    I'm very happy if you love what I've done enough or love the bands I've written about and want to share - go for it, but please be blog friendly and share the link or hit the reblog button. Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: