Image by James Bridle

REVIEW: Community Festival 2018

Community Festival was born from a multi-venue event featuring hundreds of breaking bands across Shoreditch, which took place in 2015 to great acclaim. Last year saw the event reach new heights with Catfish and The Bottlemen, legendary Liverpool band The Wombats and a whole host of other bands descending upon Finsbury Park. To keep their momentum going, the festival enlisted a wide array of talent including Two Door Cinema Club, The Vaccines and Rat Boy.

Kicking off our day at the gloriously sunny Finsbury Park was Sundara Karma, whose set was dominated by tracks from their debut album Youth Is Only Fun In Retrospect. Their art rock sound perfectly complemented the weather with standout tracks including ‘She Said’, ‘Flame’ and set closer ‘Explore’.

Next up on the main stage was Rat Boy who whipped the crowd up into a wild frenzy. Rat Boy’s tracks infuse energetic riotous energy with social commentary to create sing-along hits with an unmistakable charm. Of course, singles such as ‘Sign On’ and ‘Move’ prompted the most disordered anarchy seen from the London crowd so far.

Circa Waves were next up on the Main Stage, effortlessly managing to cultivate the energy that Rat Boy brought to the Main Stage. Understanding exactly what the crowd wanted is evidently one of the band’s strengths with Circa Waves powering through a set dominated by hits from their breakout debut album.

Alongside obvious highlights such as ‘Stuck in My Teeth’ and ‘T-Shirt Weather’, ‘My Love’, from their debut album, was met by an enthusiastically reckless response from the crowd as the band infused the new-found grit from their follow-up album in the very DNA of the tune.

After nearly overheating in Circa Waves’ riotous mosh, a quick stroll to the conveniently located second stage led us to Pale Waves. After touring extensively across the globe, they treated the biggest crowd the second stage had seen all day to their unique brand of indie pop.

Opening with their hit ‘Television Romance’ demonstrated the amount of confidence the band have in the rest of their material. This confidence wasn’t misplaced as the Manchester four-piece had the crowd completely enthralled, delivering shimmering pop perfection and concluding with their breakout track ‘There’s A Honey’,

The Vaccines then delivered a masterful set, reaffirming their position as one of the UK’s biggest bands. In their 16-song set, they gracefully powered through their sing-a-long classics and new material from their latest albums Combat Sports and English Graffiti. The band are absolute masters of crafting a setlist, delivering a set filled with excitement, intensity and vitality.

Vaccines’ set could have easily headlined the entire festival and if their upcoming releases are as good as their recently-penned track ‘All My Friends’, premiered at Community, then they’ll soon be taking their rightful place at the top of festival bills.

Tonight, however, this honour is bestowed upon Northern Irish trio Two Door Cinema Club, who played a set dominated with material from the album that put them on the map. However, all their three albums were well represented, with their latest album ‘Gameshow’ surprisingly being the least played.

They opened their instantly recognizable ‘Undercover Martyn’ followed swiftly by some of their most iconic songs, leaving ample time for fan favourites such as ‘Eat That Up, It’s Good for You’ to be played towards the latter end of the set. Thankfully, incredible break-up anthem ‘Changing of The Seasons’ also made an appearance mid-set, prompting a mass singalong from the devoted crowd.

Unusually they ended their 19-song set with ‘Sun’, lifted off their second album ‘Beacon’. Although much less than energetic than their typical set closer ‘What You Know, the accompanying fireworks made sure the track provided a heavenly, euphoric end to a delightful day of music


Photography by James Bridle

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