The third annual event under this banner; our second visit.  A one-dayer at the multi-venued Esquires in Bedford. We were attracted back following last year’s visit simply because it represents a great value-for money day, featuring a great selection of under the radar bands.

With the stages timetabled to dovetail one another, this is a full-on day.  We maxed out on music all afternoon, knowing that we were taking in an evening break for food and the Champions League Final at a nearby hostelry.  But we were able to return the Esquires for the closing ‘lounge set’. So despite missing 2-3 decent evening acts we still managed to catch 10 bands:

Noah & The Loners – The opening band for us and the find of the day. Uber-confident lead singer, with more modesty and humour than attitude.  Pop punk with a hint of a Libertines sound in places. As the set progressed the songs took on a more spoken-word vibe all  laced with humour rather than anger, not least in ‘Hell Of  A Day’ where we find Noah expressing the woes of being a Spurs supporter.  

Deadletter – an early afternoon slot for arguably the best recognised name on today’s bill. Ably supported by 2 guitarists, bass, sax and drums,  the early hour doesn’t stop lead singer Zac Lawrence taking things to an anarchic level. A full 45 minute set, included a couple of new songs alongside the now well established Deadletter standards Snitching Hour, Binge and Fit For Work

Bloody/Bath – 5-piece guitars. A couple of quiet numbers but for the most part this was highly accomplished  thrashing

Enjoyable Listens – the moniker of Luke Duffet, accompanied by Jamie Savage, who we first saw at last years event.  Luke’s  performance is a mash up between Hamish Hawk sartorial elegance and Duncan  Wallis (Dutch Uncles) dance moves, at complete odds with the dead pan Jamie (from Romford). Announcing with tongue firmly in cheek: “Normally when we play Bedford we do a 4-song set. Today we are contractually obliged to double that”, the set featured songs  from 2022 album The Enjoyable Listen. Thoroughly entertaining and the song lyrics and between song banter are truly funny. 

Treeboy & Arc – Dancey undercurrent to an otherwise guitar band (with keys). From Leeds, their vibe reminded me of seminal band The Music from the same neck of woods.

Charlotte Carpenter – electro acoustic on outside stage. Battled valiantly with the competition  from the pizza munching, chattering crowd

She's In Parties – From Essex, She’s in Parties are fronted by Irish-born Katie Dillon on vocals and keys, with the line up completed with guitar, bass and drums. Genuinely pleased to see so many people in the room. This set was something of a slow burner with the pace picking up 3-4 songs in. The best numbers were those where Katie picked up a guitar and band had a wig out. By the last 2 songs they were really in their stride and rockin’ the room.

Snayx “We are snakes S-N-A-Y-X’ we were reminded several times.  Crashing bass and wild drums gave free reign to the vocalist to spit out his in yer face lyrics

DIVORCE – The most enchanting band of the day. Indie pop tinged with Americana in places. Tiger Cohen-Towell leads on vocals and plays bass, with Felix and Adam on guitars;  and today the band featured Will Blackaby on drums, following on from  his recent sessions with Honey Moon (ironic).   Opened with Services with the familiar  ‘That’s where my miracle ends’  refrain. Most intriguing song of the set was Birds with it’s changing time signature and intricate drumming. Concluded with Checking Out   

Enjoyable Listens ‘Late Night Lounge Set’ – featured a rather inebriated Luke performing highly entertaining karaoke to Angels,  Total Eclipse Of the Heart, White Flag and Suspicious Minds while climbing perilously across tables and chairs. All heartily lapped up by the crowd. So much more than an enjoyable listen, this was a hilarious, near-riotous way to round off the day’s proceedings