With festival season fast approaching,
Liverpool has been given an early treat in the
form of HUB Festival 2011. Acclaimed as the UK’s
“finest action sports and music festival”,
it runs for two consecutive days on the banks
of the very blustery River Mersey. This is the
first year that HUB has joined forces with Liverpool
Sound City, ensuring the best up and coming bands,
skaters and BMX-ers.
HUB succeeds where many other festivals fall at
the first hurdle: the price. For two full days
of music, skating and break dancing you will pay
DRIVEN OVERBOARD (3/5) are given the unenviable
task of opening the festival, a task they take
head first and handle with aplomb. Their riff-laden
set goes down very well with the deluge of teenagers
gathered before the Liverpool Sound City Stage.
Next up are competition winners DROPTHEGIRL! (3/5).
Their squeaky-clean pop-rock encourages the first
crowd participation of the day, a very promising
set from the young Liverpudlians.
You get the impression that DECADE (4/5) are on
the cusp of something huge. Their Set Your Goals/Four
Year Strong inspired brand of pop-punk is a huge
hit and despite a few technical hitches, they
exit the stage with their heads held high.
YOUNG FIRECRACKERS (4/5) attract the biggest crowd
of the day so far and tracks such as ‘Alive’
and ‘Neon’ prove just how exciting
this band is. Frontman Adam Campbell commands
the stage with confidence, and rightfully so.
Today must be a very exciting day for WE ARE THE
IN CROWD (4/5) as it marks their first ever UK
performance, and what better place to start than
at HUB? A flawless half-hour set complete with
Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’
sends an already bonkers crowd a little more excitable.
Although the obvious Paramore comparisons will
be made, Tay Jardine and co. stand firmly on their
own two feet. After today they might be wishing
they’d hopped across the pond a whole lot
Since the release of their debut EP We Lived last
year, things have been on the up and up for FRANCESQA
(3/5). Today they find themselves playing the
windiest show of their careers thus far! Fortunately,
this doesn’t affect the sound too much and
they rattle through an impressive set of songs
both old and new. Stand out tracks ‘All
I Had’ and ‘Ghosts’ showcase
their masterful approach to writing the perfect
Unsurprisingly, MAYDAY PARADE (4/5) pull a huge
crowd. Opening with the songs ‘Jamie All
Over’ and ‘Kids In Love’, it
is clear that they mean business. With two records
under their belts they are by far the most experienced
band of the day so far, and this shows. They are
slick, polished and fine-tuned; a pleasure to
Fresh from releasing their second album, Go Now
And Live, WE ARE THE OCEAN (5/5) are one of the
best British bands around. Having toured the length
and breadth of the globe, WATO look at home on
a stage in front of thousands of people. Set-closer
and latest single, ‘The Waiting Room’
sounds almost anthemic and it sparks the biggest
circle-pit HUB has to offer. A truly enjoyable
set from the Essex quintet, as per.
The atmosphere is palpable as the crowds gather
in anticipation of tonight’s headliners,
Welsh sextet THE BLACKOUT (4/5). Sean Smith and
Gavin Butler appear to be having a wail of a time,
a feeling that is clearly reciprocated by onlookers.
Despite one too many Scouser jokes, Smith and
co. are given a welcome usually reserved for heroes.
The Blackout were made for occasions like this,
they have showmanship and cracking songs in equal
quantities. For tonight, at least, they are The
Best In Town.
HAWK EYES (4/5) are setting up just as we arrive
for day two of Liverpool’s HUB Festival.
Once again the weather isn’t proving too
spectacular, but if the crowd isn’t blown
away by the wind then they are about to be by
this band. They are loud, raucous and fucking
awesome. Having seen the band when they were Chickenhawk
and not being too sure, it’s pleasing to
see that they have really honed their live performance
and make for an excellent start to our day.
fter a longer than expected interlude whilst festival
staff monitor the wind and whether it’s
safe to continue, THE KING BLUES (5/5) eventually
take to the stage. Blistering through a set including
favourites ‘Headbutt’, ‘Save
the World, Get the Girl’ and ‘I Got
Love’, it is clear that the band is loving
every second of their HUB experience. The band
sound absolutely phenomenal and are definitely
the highlight of the weekend so far.
Next up are YOUNG GUNS (4/5), another band that
seem to have had a stratospheric rise to fame
in the past year or so. And from their live performance
today, it doesn’t take long to see why.
Lifting most tracks from their 2010 album All
Our Kings Are Dead, YG shake away the cobwebs
from the ska-folk-punk we have just enjoyed from
The King Blues. The rain does little to dampen
anyone’s spirits as they get a reception
worthy of any headlining act.
The crowds gather once more for tonight’s
headliners and worthy festival closers FUNERAL
FOR A FRIEND (5/5). Tonight they use this opportunity
to delve into their back catalogue and throw out
old classics ‘Juneau’ and ‘Escape
Artists Never Die’ as well as more recent
favourites, ‘Into Oblivion (Reunion)’
and ‘Damned If You Do, Dead If You Don’t’.
Matthew Davies proves the ever-entertaining frontman,
rather unfortunately securing the biggest laugh
by falling on his arse not long into the set!
And with that, HUB Festival 2011 is over. All
of that and with change left out of a tenner.
It is easy to see why the accolades are racking
up on HUB’s mantelpiece. The nice thing
about this festival is that there truly is something
for everyone, the skate-obsessed son, the frontman-obsessed
daughter: you name it, HUB has it. Roll on 2011.
Review By Ben Connell
Photos by Rick Caughey