If you are one of yesterday’s men (or daughters) and you want to hang on to those past sweet summer memories then you will, of course, have enjoyed Glasto and Reading – but for those of us who want to celebrate the joy of discovering new talent and fresh sounds, and who wish to assess what is going to be hot (and what’s gonna be cool) in the years to come …… then there is no summer festival finer than Surrey’s Redfest. Now in it’s fourth year, Redfest has gained a solid reputation for show-casing emerging musical talent. And boy, did this year’s festival just roll out that talent. In abundance.
For example, on the main outdoor stage – that looked like a giant jesters hat in the rolling green fields- we had the alt/folk rockers Kurran and the wolfnotes. Those smooth and shiny main vocals from Kurran were given splendid counterpoint from the gorgeous J-Lo look-alike on keyboards – the ravishing stomp-mistress, Natalia.
The K&W songs are complex structures, they are tapestries of sound. Churning waves of emotion given form and life by delicate strings, sweet harmonies and always eloquent and memorable tunes. Songs like ‘Your Four Limbs’ have a natural ebb and a gentle flow that stir up sweet emotions within the listener. But sometimes, just when you start to think that the structure of a song is sparse and fragile, great waves of brittle, menacing sounds greet you like a sudden summer storm. The effect is both exhilarating and breath-taking.
Lead vocals (Kurran – formerly K-Bomb out of ‘Trash Fashion’) ‘are ‘West Coast’ scenic and are reminiscent of Paul Simon – singing along with band Love. Sparkly guitars from Kurran and Tim tend to be from the poppy side of folk-rock – but there are plenty of generous sound structures reminding me of Fairport Convention. Songs like ‘Set You Off’ tend to remind me of R.E.M (circa ‘Out of Time’) and perhaps have a harder, leaner sound at times. The chugging rhythms and earnest steadfast beats make the happy Redfest crowd sway and clap in joyful harmony. Tribal percussion is beaten, thrummed, trampled and crashed out by Chris on drums (but never brutally) and is often augmented by other members of the band who cooperate to create a solid yet luminescent wall of sound.
A band to remember …