Live: Hit The North Festival 2018

The organisers of this years’ Hit The North Festival did not leave themselves an easy task of making the main festival the stand out day. With three incredible opening parties and a truly brilliant Meet The North you’d be forgiven for expecting the main festival to not live up to expectations. What is for sure though, is that with a combination of stunning weather and a well crafted lineup, Hit The North 2018 was a huge success and surpassed all expectations.

We kicked off the day in the company of a true local – Sam Fender (HHH) started things to a packed Think Tank crowd, wooing us all with his pure vocals. A great North-East talent, Sam performed a range of nice tracks that were a lovely way to start the afternoon. Feel like the guy has a lot more potential and isn’t stretching his limits musically yet but is a certain one to watch. Downstairs we also caught some of the Team Picture (HHH) set. I have to admit I loved the diversity in their sound but at times found the band difficult to watch. There was no cohesion on stage which did detract from the great music that was being created by the band. Bearing in mind this is likely an unpopular opinion, I can’t wait to see (hear) more of Team Picture going forward. Their live sound is very unique and stands out against the backdrop of indie-rock that’s coming out of their home city of Leeds currently.

One of my personal favourite artists anywhere in the world right now is Louis Berry (HHHHH). After seeing him live for the first time nearly two years ago, I believed for the first time in my lifetime that rock n’ roll music has an artist that is championing and owning it. Berry’s high energy rock music is fuelled by Southern America whilst being mixed with his Liverpool roots. On the day, he was faced with a terrible turnout, due to the change in time, but not once was he unprofessional and after admitting his terrible mood, performed the set of the day. Two new songs stood out, “Rockstar” a killer, traditional Berry song and “Man Down” a much more heartfelt deep track; it was great to see the way in which he is taking his sound and I for one cannot wait for his debut record. Long live rock n’ roll!

How do you follow that? Well by heading to The Boiler Shop (which felt more like a greenhouse) to check out another local band who are making serious noises right now The Pale White (HHHH). The Geordie rockers smashed their set to a packed crowd; the show was full of tracks from their 2017 self-titled EP and their recent 2018 releases and every song played received a strong reception from the home audience. The lads have been getting rave reviews from across the UK recently and they’re currently leading the way for Newcastle rock music, hoping to be the band to put the city truly on the music map.

We had high expectations for Tom Grennan (HHH) and Flyte (HH) but unfortunately neither quite reached the potential we thought they would. Grennan’s set was cut short which was a shame but his tracks were performed as well as you could have expected whilst going through the motions. The surprise act of the day though were without doubt Boniface (HHHH) all the way from Canada. Playing at the quiet Bridge Hotel, the Killers/Walk The Moon-esque band performed a note perfect set. Taking the punt and playing a string of UK dates, vocalist Micah Visser and his band really impressed us. He seemed extremely ambitious and he and his band alike were very musical making for an enjoyable show. We are so excited to see what happens for these guys in the future because they deserve a long career based on these early tracks.

One of the sets of the day was Bingley’s Marmozets (HHHH) who brought their new album to the toon. Becca was outstanding on vocals and the rowdy crowd added to the enjoyment. Also performing to a sizeable crowd at Jumpin’ Jacks were Sea Girls (HHH), a band we’d not come across before. Catching the last few songs of their set we predict big futures from them.

The set of the weekend though, unquestionably came from JUDAS (HHHHH), without doubt the most exciting upcoming band globally right now. Whilst disappointingly not playing any of their older releases, fans were given a glimpse into the future of the band and where their sound is heading. Based on this short set, the future is ridiculously bright for this band. Big Mouth and Some People received great fan reactions whilst new song Wonderland prompted an audience sing along, despite being a brand new track (a truly magic moment for band and crowd alike). The track of the weekend was JUDAS’ finale Ceasefire. One of our favourite tracks from 2017, it never fails to disappoint and rounded off the weekend perfectly.


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