As ever, Friday at Indietracks is designed to ease the audience into the weekend’s proceedings. With just three bands taking to the bill, Friday evening is meant to mark a somewhat sedate jumping off point for the early birds, all while accommodating the post-work crowd for the more local attendees. It’s a plan that’s slightly thrown off in our opinion by booking some of the weekend’s most anticipated sets. Also hotly anticipated was the rain, and the organisers make the very sensible, but slightly sad, decision to move all the bands to the Indoor Stage.
Taking to the stage first are Lost Map signed quartet, Kid Canaveral. The band, who formed after meeting at St Andrews University before relocating to Edinburgh, draw a large early crowd. Much of the set draws from most recent album, 2016’s Faulty Inner Dialogue, their sound showcases soaring anthemic choruses with some thrashier poppier ideas thrown in for good measure. Recalling the likes of Frightened Rabbit or Local Natives, it’s a highly polished, professional and enjoyable set.
If it was busy for Kid Canaveral, it’s full to bursting by the time former Fortuna Pop signees Chorusgirl take to the stage. It’s a return to the site of their triumphant opening set two years previously, and the jump in their profile since then is obvious if just from the number of Chorusgirl t-shirts people have adorned to watch them. It’s not just the profile that’s upped though: musically they seem to be stepping up to the next level as well. Front-woman Silvi Wersing has become a stunning performer, a blur of pogoing energetic chord thrashing, while new guitarist Faith Taylor (Suggested Friends) adds impressively dextrous riffing and subtle backing vocals to the mix. They showcase a number of new tracks from a currently label-less new album, for the most part these build on the success of their debut, still walking the previously untapped middle ground of The Shadows and The Jesus & Mary Chain. It’s left to some old classics to close the set, a particularly brilliant rendition of Oh, To Be A Defector is a highlight as always. Now would somebody give this band a record deal immediately, because the world needs this new record in its life.
If you were to carry out a straw-poll of the Indietracks audience’s favourite band, we’d be willing to bet Martha would take some serious beating. As with Chorusgirl, the decision to move the bands inside leaves them returning to the scene of their triumphant set of two years back. Since that set they’ve released their break out second album, Blisters In The Pity Of My Heart, sold out The Scala and generally established themselves as the new Kings & Queens of the DIY-scene. Backed by a dazzling, and at times almost blinding light show, the whole thing looks a bit like the middle ground of an Ibiza nightclub and a massive metal shed. Thankfully they resist the urge to break out into a David Guetta covers set, and stick to their winning brand of DIY-punk and social commentary.
Whilst it’s a shame they didn’t get to step up to the festival biggest stage, as the band run through a set of tracks from their first two albums, and the crowd whoop and sing along throughout, it’s impossible not to get swept along by just how vital this band are to the community they exist in. Here for this hour and half set, Martha are the biggest band in Derbyshire, and Indietracks is their arena. They close on a somewhat odd, but undeniably brilliant, cover of Semisonic’s Closing Time, and no we’re not entirely sure why either, but like everyone else here we’re not complaining. Martha have closed Indietracks for tonight entirely on their own wonderful terms, but thankfully the festival is just getting started.
Read on to our review of Saturday at Indietracks – HERE