Glass Butter Beach 2015

Glass Butter Beach is an action sports and music festival in north Wales. The concept according to the website ‘good times, healthy lifestyle, chilled beach culture and a cool vibe, with music playing an important part‘ sounds like a mash-up of top Instagram hashtags. The truth is that maybe the festival organisers are a bit too chilled out, as the festival is always slightly underwhelming, with low turnout and not enough prominence given to the beach activities which are part of the festival’s main draw. That being said, it was still an awesome weekend, with lots of Wakeboarding talent on show in the Abersoch marina on Thursday, delicious food all weekend, and a great range of artists. Here are my top 5…

1.Akcademy

It’s always nice to show up to see a band with no expectations and get completely blown away by them. Akcademy are like nothing I’ve heard before. The five-piece from Manchester stormed the main stage on Friday afternoon with almost enough energy to get everyone up off their picnic mats. Impervious to the nonchalance of the crowd they blasted through their set with the swagger of a much older band on a much bigger stage. The mix of funky bass, rocky guitars, rap and soulful singing took the audience on a musical journey, starting slow and upping the tempo until their energy was palpable. Each member seemed to be doing his own thing, the guitarist, topless and grinding his hips could have been in young guns and roses, while rapper Andy C would have looked more at home in a grime rave. Somehow this mash-up is what makes them really work, and I can see them going from strength to strength. Catch them at Leeds festival this weekend and you wont be disappointed.

Check them out: https://soundcloud.com/akcadamy

2.Less Than Jake

When I first heard that Less Than Jake were playing Glass Butter Beach my inner 14 year old nearly pissed her chequered girl boxers. For a festival that usually consists of a few moody families and a crowd of underaged ravers it seems like they finally hit the jackpot with a line-up that fits right in with the concept of the festival. If you haven’t heard LTJ’s unique brand of ska-punk I strongly suggest you get on Youtube and clear up a dancing space in your room, because it’s the kind of music that’s impossible to stay still to. The only negative point was that the festival wasn’t better advertised. Less Than Jake should have drawn a much bigger crowd, however lead singer Chris assured us that what we lacked in size we made up for with enthusiasm (there was even a moshpit at one point!) Veterans of playing intimate shows, LTJ weren’t put off by the turn-out, and as usual connected with the audience, making jokes about hot, 40+ divorcés and singling out familiar faces in the crowd. It seems that they chose the set-list with the festival’s location in mind. ‘Look what happened‘ ‘the science of selling yourself short’ and of course ‘history of a boring town’ all resonate with people who grew up in small towns in North Wales. As if this reminded them of their own boring town, they finished with Gainesville, Rock city, setting headliner Kosheen up for inevitable anti-climax.

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3. Matt Hamer

One of the gems of the Lee Knowles Surf Shack Stage, Matt Hamer paid tribute to his late friend and the stage’s namesake, dedicating his last song to his memory. An acoustic act, Matt Hamer delivered a unique cover of Linkin Park and Jay Z’s Numb/Encore Mashup, and threw in Katy Perry’s Firework for good measure. While these were brilliant crowd-pleasers for a festival, his original material was even better. Playing guitar and doing that quirky drumming thing on the side, Hamer is like a hotter version of Ben Howard. His voice skips between strong and gravelly and soft and angelic, with catchy and heartfelt songs. I’ve had his Youtube channel on loop since the festival…Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/matthamer1987

4.Southbound Train

A local cover band from Abersoch, South Bound Train played ‘Rock me mama’ from which I’m guessing they got their name about three times thanks to the very public sound-checking on the Lee Knowles surf shack stage. The truth is that I could have listened to them playing it all day. The two female vocalists had the best voices that I heard all weekend and their harmonies sent shivers down my spine. They covered a range of songs from Bastille’s Pompeii to Paramore’s Still into you, hitting the range of notes more powerfully than Hayley Williams herself. It was great to see such fantastic local talent, but I was quite surprised when Googling them that they don’t have much of an online presence. With a bit of promotion this band could go far.

5. Geraint Rhys and the Lost Generation

My initial impression of Geraint Rhys was that he was wearing way too much white to be singing about a revolution, and it was quite strange being preached at by a man who had purposely died his hair a different colour to his beard. However once I was over this and acclimatised to the constant political barrage I started to enjoy it. Although his lyrics were simple and a bit twee at times, his songs were catchy and his energy infectious. His message fits right into the current political climate and Corbyn-mania, and even if the music wasn’t exactly my cup of tea I can always get on board with a bit of lefty propaganda. It was also nice to see him practising what he preached and giving out free CDs.

Definitely worth a listen: https://www.youtube.com/user/geraintrwhittaker

Chilled...

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