Festival Season is almost here and at Halfway 2 Nowhere that means getting the tent cleaned, digging out the wellies and building endless Spotify playlists getting us ready for the fields over the summer months. Our festival season this year kicks off in Norwich (a mere 196 miles from my front door as I write this) with Neck of the Woods Festival, a brand new one day event featuring some of the best indie-bands in the business.
This year’s Neck of the Woods features over 30 top artists and it would be easy for us to write a guide telling you to go and singalong with The Kooks, go and have some fun with Sea Girls or go and vibe with The Snuts, but that’s not what we’re about here at Halfway 2 Nowhere. We know you all know who they are and will be seeing them anyway, so we’re here to bring you the picks on the lineup you might not have otherwise gone to see, our fresh artists, our favourite talents, these are our five to watch if you’re heading to Neck of the Woods 2022.
Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison
Making a slightly shorter journey than ourselves to Neck of the Woods is Tom Lumley and the Brave Liaison, the Cambridgeshire based band, whose debut album “Everything’s Affected” which broke into the UK Top Ten Rock Album Chart in 2021 is one we have on repeat at H2NHQ!
The band have made a name for themselves on the circuit as one with huge rock and roll energy and since being tipped by Huw Stephens in 2020, they’ve gone from strength to strength. The word “anthemic” gets thrown around a lot but with Tom and the band’s music, it’s one that is wholly suitable. Huge tracks to check out ahead of their set include “Fake Friends”, “Crawling” and fan favourite “Casual”, all of which will be known by the local (ish) crowd. No newbies to the UK festival scene, TLATBL are seasoned pros in the fields and if you’re a fan of high-energy rock music, this will definitely be for you.
The Royston Club
It’s not often we get really excited about new artists at H2N. Some blow us away with live performances yes, but most fail to live up to the hype, such is the saturated market of indie-rock music. One band though that continue to keep us wanting more, are Wrexham based The Royston Club. They first captured us with their 2020 release “Mrs Narcissistic” which took us straight back to the indie sounds of the early 00s; this nostalgia-esque moment hooked us immediately and ever since, with “Cold Sweats”, new single “Old Man’s Knees” and debut EP “lying here, wasting away”, they’ve continued to grow and develop as a band. We’re not one for aimless comparisons here at H2N, but if you’re a fan of The Kooks, who are headlining NOTW, then you’ll love The Royston Club.
The Liverpool music scene is finally really starting to take-off when it comes to guitar music. Long in the shadows of the 60s, we always found Liverpool a strange place for new music, but in the last 5 years with the emergence of Circa Waves, the resurgence of The Wombats, and the growth of Red Rum Club, it seems finally there are plenty of young talented musicians, being inspired to get out and play. One of them bands we love from the great city, are Bandit.
The four-piece self proclaim influences including Fontaines D.C, Cage The Elephant and The Strokes which combine to create energetic rock music that has a good bassline and huge choruses. Jack Saunders (BBCR1) said of the band “A great example of when you’re making music, just going out and giving it all your energy.” I couldn’t put that better myself, with huge releases “Mean Streak” and “Goonies” you hear this straight away! We can’t wait to finally see them live at NOTW and think you should be getting excited too.
The Goa Express
Ian Dunphy, my co-author at H2N, has been raving about The Goa Express for years, but somehow their live performances so far have alluded me; well not this year!
The north-west based band are something special and whilst Manchester and the sounds of the north-west are ever present in their music, they have a distinctness to their sound that I’ve not heard in this generation of musicians. They describe themselves as a “fuzzy wall of sound” and I completely agree with that assessment. Whenever I listen to one of their tracks, whether it be “Second Time” (almost at 1m Spotify Streams), or “The Day”, I get something different, a different energy, a different blend of instrumentation but what you always get is something well refined and produced. They are producing music well beyond their years and will be top of our list at NOTW.
During lockdown (remember those dark dark days), H2N put on a charity online festival featuring over 15 artists throughout the day playing live on Instagram and Twitter from our account. The 30 minute set that drew the most donations, was that of RATS’ lead singer Joe Maddocks and we’ll always be massively appreciative of him joining us. The band, they’re a 4-piece from Liverpool that are a ready made recording artist but they come into their own on the live stage. With a number of singles released already, they’re a real favourite on the This Feeling circuit and have already bagged some big support slots including recently The K’s. I don’t want to give much away about RATS, I think you should just go and listen to them, but trust us when we say these lads are destined for big, big things and you will not want to miss them at NOTW.
There you have it! What a day this is going to be. The freshest talents coupled with stalwarts of the indie scene. We can’t wait to be down the front in Norwich and think you should bag your ticket too. Just £45 for a class day out and the weather will of course be perfect. See you in the fields.