A fantastic example of local promoters and venues working hard to put on interesting and value-for-money events. Ceremony2 is the second all-dayer put on at Bedford Esquires, and for £30 a ticket it provides a first-rate day’s entertainment.
A new venue for us – a name we of course recognise from the circuit and today we were able to experience all aspects of the venue, from the outside courtyard that today had two food franchises and a small outside stage, to the three inside rooms. The smallest stage (not used today) is in the corner of the bar area and, as venue promoter Kevin explained, provides an area for intimate, 80 cap, shows. The bigger rooms accommodate 180 and 280 so excellent scope for bands new on the circuit to find their level. Excellent, tidy facilities throughout.
Today’s line up was a mix of bands fresh from The Great Escape and some local acts, timetabled across the three stages to allow us to enjoy almost all 16 acts on the bill if we’d had sufficient energy. As it was we spent a thoroughly enjoyable day watching 12 bands
Tallows – a solo acoustic performance rather than the usual band, fought manfully to deliver his tunes against the chatter and excitement of people arriving and grabbing early afternoon beers.
Enjoyable Listens – is Luke Duffett, stylish in Bryan Ferry mode, singing solo with support from Jamie on guitar and loops. Every song is drenched with Divine Comedy humour, and delivery reminiscent of Hamish Hawk. A thoroughly entertaining, amusing and beguiling package.
Anyone’s Ghost – normally revved up but an acoustic set today on the small outside stage with a small PA. Left us wondering how they’d sound if they were let of the leash.
Low Girl – fresh from dates supporting Pom Poko, Low Girl is a band fronted by Sarah Cosgrove (along with Toby, Tom & Brad) playing lo-fi indie rock. On record their dad plays sax - apparently in attendance today but sadly didn’t take to the stage.
Damefrisør – their name suggests Danish origin, but in fact this band emanate from Bristol; the name simply being something they liked the sound of, having spent time in Denmark. A very different sound from many guitar bands around at the moment. Damefrisør deliver tunes in the Joy Division groove but with the angst dialled down. A really enjoyable set, culminating with current single 2-HEH-V.
Beattie – Female singer songwriter with Cameron providing keyboard accompaniment. Her first home-town show.
Low Hummer – Six-piece band from Hull. Lead singer Aimee Duncan cuts an aloof sullen figure reminiscent of Debbie Harry. Outstanding track was The Real Thing, featuring a double cow-bell
Dos Padres “We’re Dos Padres – we’re not supposed to be here but we thought we’d drop by and play some blues” – and good quality blues it was too from this duo on guitar and standing-up drums.
Keg – the vision I have is seven blokes on a train all separately heading for an audition for Black Country New Road, who got chatting together and decided to bin off the audition and form a band of their own. They simply have amazing fun on stage. Lead Singer Albert Haddenham living every jerky key change and time signature flip whilst trombonist Charlie Keen entertains us royally with strident brass interjections and conch shell.
Hallam – 4 piece guitar band from Portsmouth. After the anarchy of Keg this was a more straightforward listen. Thoroughly enjoyable guitar tunes that filled the room with anthemic stadium-filling riffs.
Big Joannie – Far and away the best harmonies of the day, and the tallest cymbal stand! Black feminists looking to smash capitalism with a smile on their faces.
Pip Blom – Accomplished indie rock n roll from this Dutch quartet. As is the nature of these events, the main auditorium was more sparsely populated for the headline act as many of the other bands had departed. But this signalled no application of the brakes for Pip, younger brother Tender and the band. This was the last date on a 2-month tour and they were in end-of-term party mode blasting out an energy-drenched set.
Hats off to all involved in curating and staging this festival. Definitely on our radar for similar follow-up events