Blackthorn Festival 2017
Preview part 1
With each passing year Blackthorn Festival continues to grow in size and stature and 2017 continues that trend for sure.
Main headliners Reef and Lightning Seeds will bring the singalongs and a touch of the 90s that is so very much in trend at the moment and, as usual, the festivals puts faith in the wealth of unsigned and emerging talent that the north and beyond have to offer.
Such is the quality of this years line up that our preview for 2017 is going to roll over 3 parts. The first of these 3 parts will be compiled of 7 bands whose 2016 Blackthorn sets will live long in the memory and are simply unmissable in 2017.
Kashmere: Upbeat, captivating and unpredictable, when it comes to live shows Kashmere will never, ever let you down. Their live shows are now well known for being a blitz of pure Indie and passion and they have a repertoire of real festival anthems particularly recent singles Blow Your Mind and Porcelain. Last year they tore the Paddock Stage apart but that was 2016 and the 2017 Kashmere is a whole new beast. Don't miss them.
Sly Antics: I was in the strange position of hearing but not seeing the Sly Antics set at Blackthorn 2016. I was with a jubilant Stillia side stage but the eminating sound was incredible and crowds energy was palpable. The buzz around the Blackthorn site after their set made it clear that they had just witnessed something that could easily be a real "I was there" moment in the bands promising career. Since last years festival Sly Antics have gone from strength to strength and you can expect a packed tent for their set this year. If bone rattling riffs are your thing then Sly Antics are a band you just can't miss. Be there.
The Jackobins: It's been all change in The Jackobins camp of late. New members and a fresh new logo have been welcomed but they remain the same big hitting and bold band that has enjoyed a superb couple of years at Blackthorn Festival and I fully expect them to continue that trend in 2017. They play with an unrivalled swagger that is captivating in its confidence and last year they demonstrated their main stage abilities with a polished and impressive set. They are about to start a nationwide tour that will surely act as the perfect momentum builder for Blackthorn and will ensure that we are treated to yet another blissful performance from the Merseyside masters.
Types: The best band in Manchester? If that conversation arises then Types certainly have to be mentioned. Turns out their unique atmospheric Post-Post Punk is exactly the kind of music that has been missing from my life and from the very moment I laid eyes on this band for the first time I knew I had just witnessed, and heard, something incredibly special. They were in the very infancy of their journey at Blackthorn 2016, it was just their second show, but their set was easily one of the stand out moments for me. Their star has been in ascension since last year thanks to more incredible shows, namely supporting Barron at Deaf Institute, and the release of their debut LP The Future Is Close Enough so expect Blackthorn 2017 to be another watermark moment in the career of Types.
Stillia: Rewind to the opening night of Blackthorn 2015 and the Blastbeat Stage. Having seen the name Stillia flying around my Twitter I decide to go check them out and so began my love affair with this band. In the 2 years that have followed I have been lucky enough to work with the band and witness first hand the unequalled progression that this quality band have been on. Riding on the crest of a wave thanks to signing a deal that saw Ben Taylor coming onboard as manager, a move that has seen them grow exponentially, Stillia blew minds during their Paddock Stage set in 2016 and I think it's fair to say that you can expect a bigger and better Stillia for 2017. With an album in the pipeline and recent single Let Me In, accompanied by the brilliant video directed by none other than Johnny Vegas, it's clear that big things are on the Stillia horizon. Be sure to check them out and see what all the fuss is about.
Larkins: Time never stands still for Larkins, they are an ever evolving outfit that constantly seeks ways to grow and improve, so chances are that by the time July and Blackthorn swing by the band will be bigger and better than ever and this is just one of the many reasons why you have to be at their set this year. Larkins meteoric rate of growth has allowed me to track this bands progress from an opening act in The Castle Hotel right the way through to, most recently, sell out headliners at Manchester's Gorilla and everything inbetween. Their Blackthorn progression has also been very similar, from the Blastbeat stage in 2015 to the Paddock Stage in 2016 and surely the Main Stage in 2017? You should by now be fully aware of Velvet and Wasted Years, Larkins most recent releases, but if not then listen loud and I'll meet you down the front at Blackthorn. It's a date.
No Hot Ashes: Lets get funked. Manchester music royalty is a fair summation of Indie Funk maestros No Hot Ashes. Now Blackthorn Festival veterans, No Hot Ashes, who bring their A-game to every gig, seem to take it to the next level for this festival and a fully firing NHA are a joy to behold. Last years Paddock Stage set (are you noticing a recurring theme about the best bands and the stage they played?) was absolutely mesmerising. They brought a sonic hurricane that left a pile of mind blown and funked up Paddock Stage attendees in its wake. 2017 has started very strongly for No Hot Ashes thanks to a nationwide run of shows with This Feeling including 2 sold out shows at Jimmy's Manchester and no doubt they will be flying by the time Blackthorn comes around. Expect greatness.
Part 2 of our 3 part Blackthorn preview comes soon. Eyes peeled.