Festival Review: Handmade Festival, May 2018

Although still being considered a small festival, Handmade Festival seems to pull in the best bands around year in year out; 2018’s line-up was no different!!

It was an absolutely sweltering day in Leicester but that did not stop the hundreds of people converging on the O2 Academy to party with their favourite bands! First up on our list to see were punk duo Kamikaze Girls, who drew in a considerable crowd for such an early set; their emotional punky tunes were the perfect way to get everyone into the spirit of Handmade. The song ‘Teenage Feelings’ with its dreamy guitar licks and constant heavy hitting drums resonated with so many different people in the room, made us reminisce of angsty teenage days of past years!

Next stop was the very energetic Babe Punch, an all girl punk outfit who give it their all every show, another filled room for these girls which was good to see as they were playing on the Attenborough Arts Centre stage which was slightly away from the main venue. A pretty raucous set with even time for a quick ABBA tribute which got a resounding applause from the crowd.

The post-apocalyptic duo Black Futures were next on the bill, with four biohazard suited people stood on stage and starting the set by hitting a huge custom gong, this was by far the most imaginative set we had seen so far! Huge energy from start to finish and bringing in half the festivals attendance shows that these boys are going to be going places in the coming year! ‘Love’ was by far everyone’s favourite of the set with head bangers positioned on the railing and every other person busting a move to these chaotic post-punk anthems.

After learning of the news that Strange Bones had to pull out a few days prior to the festival we were slightly disappointed but they were replaced with Kagoule a slightly more mellow trio; never the less their summery guitar notes and upbeat lyrics fitted nicely into the array of bands that were at this year’s festival! The party was then started up again with the incredible Sports Team, who’s upbeat funky songs had a smile on everyone’s face! For fans of bands like SHAME, they definitely didn’t disappoint, every song from their latest EP ‘Winter Nets’ went down a treat; a definite classic! Much like most bands that were playing this weekend we hope Sports Team only get bigger and bigger, because after that performance they deserve it!

Psychedelic rockers Turbowolf were up to grace the second stage with their funky guitar music, frontman Chris swaggering onto stage in his iconic white suit greeting the audience with enough enthusiasm you would have thought he knew everyone personally! Gigantic hits like ‘Rabbits Foot’, ‘Solid Gold’ and ‘Cheap Magic’ had the whole crowd jumping so much it was shaking the room! Turbowolf are playing a range of festivals this summer, so we are hoping to catch them again at some point and we highly suggest you do to!

Not long after Dinosaur Pile-Up took to the second stage to keep the party going; their energetic rock n’ roll always brings the house down and tonight was no different! There was a very obvious mass of Dinosaur Pile-Up fans in the crowd, from t-shirts to handmade cardboard signs asking to play certain songs to the deafening chants of “DPU DPU DPU”! The set was filled with a solid mixture of all three of their albums; by far the highlights had to be ‘Nature Nurture’, ‘Traynor’ which got the biggest moshpit of the weekend so far & of course the iconic ’11:11’ which is a staple part of any Dinosaur Pile-Up set!

After a pretty intense year playing shows and festivals across the globe and even supporting Foo Fighters in London, IDLES were back to close the second stage here at Handmade 2018! The room was packed, it seemed like 90% of todays participants decided to come witness the carnage that was about to unfold. As Joe Talbot and Co. took to the stage a huge scream from the crowd erupted, ‘Heel/Heal’ was the first song which sent the crowd insane! Quickly followed by the aptly named ‘Date Night’ which had us grooving around the room, its obvious to see how big IDLES are going to be in the coming years; they put the same amount of energy into every performance be it five people or 5000! ‘1049 Gotho’,’Divide & Conquer’ and ‘White Privilege’ made their appearance halfway through the set and it was a major turning point in the set, from pretty wild to full on warzone! The set concluded with classic ‘Well Done’ and even a brand new song ‘Rottweiler’; what a band and what a show!!

Before we wrapped up the day we had one more band to see, the mighty Circa Waves headlining the main stage! A good amount of the crowd from IDLES made their way downstairs to check out the Sunday headliner; I’m sure they realised they made the right decision as Circa Waves put on a hell of show! Kicking off with ‘Wake Up’ to get the audience pumped before going into a ‘Young Chasers’ heavy set, only splitting it up a few times to play some more recent songs from ‘Different Creatures! The high points of tonight’s final set had to be ‘Fossils’ with its funky guitar riff and smashing chorus; then the last two songs ‘Fire That Burns’ and ‘T-shirt Weather’ which blew the roof off the O2 Leicester!!!

This weekend was amazing, so many bands to choose from we felt a bit spoiled for choice to be honest! Every year Handmade seems to get better, we don’t know how they do it but we aren’t complaining!

Words and Photography by Joe Dick