If day one of iNDEPENDENCE packed some surprises in the likes of East India Youth and Cold Ocean Lies' sets, day two blew it out the water with some undeniably incredible line up choices. Even with London psychosis rockers Yak stranded logistically in the wake of the attacks in Paris, the line up remained one of the best things to grace Southampton since Graziano Pelle first signed a year or so ago. (you can read the DAY ONE review here)
The Sunday morning hangovers were blasted away with first band of the day, Bel Esprit, who proved an early highlight with a scintillating set. Whilst their sound is essentially your average indie rock stomp, their set was so energetic, and guitarist Fahad Siddiqui's playing so mesmerising that you couldn't help but be knocked for six by Bel Esprit.
The roars of Theo Verney made his set of psychedelic trucker rock pretty damn mesmeric, as his full band got a serious heavy groove on for the whole of the set; think Springsteen gets really stoned and puts together an album of Leadbelly covers. By the same token, The Black Tambourines - a band who have a core following in their hometown of Falmouth but all too little coverage elsewhere - were incredible, and whilst not at the best I'd seen them, their thrashy garage sound of surfy nuggets was just the ticket. As they're a band who put so much more into their live performances, their fizzy stage presences made for such a great performance of the songs off of their brand new Freedom album.
The next two artists I saw were Tigercub and Kagoule; a bit of a battle of power trios. Tigercub were solid, with their sound just a bit of a sonic punch in the face; emphasis on 'power' there'. But Kagoule were truly mesmerising, one of the best and most incredible live bands I've seen all year. Tracks like Glue and Gush were probably the highlights, but the band's brilliant stage presence was more than enough to get me running to check out the Urth album, which I kinda overlooked on its release a few months ago.
TOY's headline set was very, very good, with that collected psychedelia they do ever so well sounding as cool as ever. With a new album well on the way, the most interesting tracks to hear were new'uns like Jungle Games and Clear Shot, which look likely to be on their third full length, due early next year - both of which proved that it's definitely just business as usual for the turtleneck wearing dreamlords. They closed their set with a pummeling, swirling version of Join the Dots, a fizzy krautpop number from their sophomore record of the same name. Looking seemingly like they could produce these sounds in their sleep, TOY's set was just proof that they're rightfully kingpins of the psychedelic underground scene.
iNDEPENDENCE was a great chance to see some the UK's best bands in one place, so here's hoping it happens next year - a genuinely great festival happening in the heart of Southampton. Of the few urban festivals I've been too, this was probably the best, with such a good line up it was mad and a really nice unrestricted feel, you were missing out if you weren't there.
(written by calum cashin)