Festival Review: Bushstock!

City festivals are great things, and what makes them even better is great weather and no queues. Bushstock had both of these things, plus a lovely atmosphere and incredibly good line-up. Couldn’t really have asked for much more!

Bushstock is Communions first festival, hosted across 4 venues in Shepherds Bush, St Stephens Church, Shepherds Bar, the Goldhawk and Ginglik. These 4 venues hosted 30 bands, some Communion signings such as Michael Kiwanuka and Treetop Flyers, and a few other Communion favourites such as Sarah Blasko and the Guillemots. There was a hell of a lot of clashes, some bands unfortunately had to be missed, but overall my day was wonderful and I managed to see a host of brilliant music and made it to all four venues.

My afternoon started with the haunting sounds of Daughter, who I have been more than raving about in the last few weeks. I have seen her in St. Stephens Church before and it suits her perfectly, her voice echoing around the room, wonderful.

Daughter- Candles

Michael Kiwanuka next, who warmed our hearts to a mixture of songs from his (very good) EP, Tell Me A Tale, as well as a few new songs and a Bill Withers cover. It was a lovely lazy, soulful set from a young man who could definitely have a bright future ahead of him.

After a lovely start to the day in St. Stephens Church, I walked down the road to Goldhawk, next on, Louise and the Pins. Louise treated us to a few solo songs first, before the band gradually built up throughout the set. As usual, it was the full bands songs which translated the best. ‘Love your Lover’ putting a smile on everyones face.

One of my must sees of the day was The Staves who played in St. Stephens Church. It was stunning, their voices blended together flawlessly and rang through the church. A highlight of the day no doubt. I got a copy of their EP ‘Facing West’, it’s a wonderful listen. I hope there is lots more to come from these ladies.

The Staves- Facing West

Next for Marques Toliver, who I am not a big fan of on record, but live totally blew me away. He has quite a ‘pop’ voice and mixes it with often quite classical sounding melodies on violin, glockenspiel and autoharp.  After a few songs at the front of the stage, he unplugged his violin and played acoustic in the middle of the church, which was lovely. He has a lot of passion when he is playing, it was great to watch and so unusual from a lot of ‘folk’ singers.

King Charles also performed in St. Stephens Church. I was unsure how his crazy performances would translate in such a venue but he played solo, unlike the other times I have seen him. There was no epically long guitar solos or jumping off drum kits. Instead pretty love songs and an accapella number. I enjoyed it a lot, although missed the slightly unpredictable, slightly surreal aspect to his performances.

Next I went to see Cloud Control, who are my favourite band at the moment, and its an understatement to say I was excited. Cloud Control are brilliant! Their record ‘Bliss Release’ is wonderful, a mixture of psychedelic inspired summery pop songs. Live, they are even better. They play with an incredible amount of energy and they did not disappoint me at Bushstock. Throughout June and July they are doing a residency at The Social, playing four different nights under four different promoters (including a Communion show). I’m sure its going to be wonderful so be there!

Treetop Flyers next, who as i’m sure you know, were also winners of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition this year. Its strange to think that in two weeks they will play the Other Stage at Glastonbury, the same day the likes of Friendly Fires and The Chemical Brothers will play the same stage. I’m sure they are going to be wonderful, and their Bushstock performance more than proved they are ready to step up to the plate. Great band!

I finished my day with Goldheart Assembly, who reminded me a little of Treetop Flyers, but without so much of a Crosby, Stills and Nash vibe. The audience was pretty small, they unfortunately clashed with many of the headliners, but the people their seemed to enjoy it, I wasn’t convinced though.

Overall, a great day. I certainly hope Bushstock will be back in 2012! See you there?


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