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Kendal Calling 2012 Reviewed

A review as submitted by Catherine Marr

The Cumbrian festival known for its small size, mix of acts and twee features kicked off its sixth year over the weekend of the 27-29th July 2012.   The event, set in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District, opened up to thousands of festival goers yet again, providing them with a weekend of new and not so new music to get their teeth into.
Kendal Calling creates it's own little world of live music and is spread across eight stages -including one that is tucked away in the woods, fairground rides, giant toadstools, daffodils and fancy dress dress code.

Friday provided the crowd with some musical favourites and a handful of underdogs.   Ghostpoet was minimal in his interaction with the crowd and seemed content to let the music speak for him.  The disjointed tune and relaxed delivery pleased his already eager audience.

Spoken word artist Scroobius Pip played two sets over the weekend and the first was on the Main stage.  Playing with his band, Pip brought rock to the park.  Fans vibrated as he dictated his songs back to them, buttering the crowd up for his next performance with DJ Dan Le Sac.

Maximo Park closed the Main Stage, their catchy indie pop songs and prancing around the stage made the audience follow suit, dancing and singing until closing time.  Lead singer Paul Smith genuinely appreciated the crowds response as seen by the the massive grin cemented to his face.
Saturday started off with a dose of sunshine both on and off the stage, with Jamaican Superstar Little Roy. The artist now nearing his sixties sang rhythmic reggae songs and Nirvana covers.  The reggae sound surprisingly complimented the shoe gazer grunge anthems and were a hit with the crowd.

Eighties looking band Spector also trod the Main stage.  Bringing an army of teens to the front to watch them, they played their blend of indie rock songs to the crowd.  The band who were a little more coy than front man Frederick, warmed up as the set went on and eventually communicated with the audience.  

Thomas J Speight were one the few acts to be playing the stage in the woods.  The enchanting and intimate little stage was the perfect platform for the artists.  Their soft tones rippled through the forest and left their audience spellbound.

Shed Seven were a treat for the slightly more mature members of the audience.  The York band fronted by Rick Whitter, brought the audience a healthy dose of nostalgia and songs from the past for them to singalong to.  

Dizzee Rascal appealing to the slightly younger generation headlined on Saturday.  Showing how he was discovered, he spat on the mic at warp speed without missing a beat.  His show was full of wow moments including fireworks, bursts of coloured smoke and a predictable but effective ticker tape explosion. 

The mood was slightly sallow in the park on the Sunday, the previous day’s partying seemed to have suddenly caught up with the audience.   The audience were woken with a dose of the Lancashire Hotpots, the spoof act brought the laughs to the festival.  The crowd looked on transfixed as the band sang songs about chippy teas.  The flat capped band brought on long conga lines and faux Lancashire singing accents.  

We are Scientists lead singer Keith had put on his bandmate Chris's jacket and Chris asked the audience to donate layers, after being mocked for bundling up after travelling over the pond.   The crowd at the front echoed every word and sat on each others shoulders in order to get a glimpse of their heroes.

The Calling out stage was reserved for the quirkier acts first of all a set of what seemed like an impromptu, but impressive jam session.  Played by Hyde and Beast, a band who included two members of the Futureheads.  

Random Impulse seemed like a punt to someone who had discovered the act by accident.  The rock-rap outfit fronted by London MC Random Impulse, played a collection of hybrid songs.  The front man and ultimate multitasker, sang, rapped and played the guitar.  He recruited a small but highly entertained crowd.    

King Charles had the tent in the palm of his hand, his eccentric dress and manor was a hit.  He sang the most original love songs around, enthralling his dedicated audience. His beehive hair, out there fashion sense and Adam Ant style songs made him an act hard to forget.  

Feeder made the older generation feel fifteen again.  Waiting to throw themselves around to Just a Day the crowd were enthralled.  Despite being a little older the trio bought the audience back and made the more youthful members of the audience envious.  

Closing the main stage was an easy job for the band James, who seemed to have brought the whole festival to watch them.  Tim Booth with his unmistakable voice took the crowd on a journey down memory lane, a let them indulge in it for a couple of hours.  The strain on his face and the standard of the band showed that the act were more than worthy of closing the festival.

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Catherine Marr
2nd August 2012
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Kendal Calling 2012 Reviewed

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