a plastic homecoming ~ belfasts adopted sons return to headline major festival

As Spectrum Festival 2014 nears ever closer (Saturday, 7th June), here at Encore NI we thought it would be useful to give a run down of each act playing at the beloved festival and why this year's line-up is well worth the £12 entry price. (£10's for students!)

Here, Taylor Johnson gives his analysis...

(Homecoming Heroes - A Plastic Rose)
Fresh from their hugely successful stint on Radio 1, Belfast's own A Plastic Rose will return to these shores once more, headlining this years fantastic second ever Spectrum Festival. Having gained consistent airplay on Britains most popular radio show, as well as a slot on the upcoming Vukovi tour, it's fair to say the APRmy have had no troubles in signing recruits across the water. The release of (the sublime) new single 'Someones Daughter' has also whetted the appetite for album number two, building on the success of their stunning debut 'Camera.Shutter.Life' and highlighting the drive, work ethic and determination that saw them head bang their way into the people of Belfast's hearts.

(Mojo Fury)
Playing alongside the returning conquerors are Mojo Fury, the Lisburn alt-rockers who's edgy riffs, rough vocals and subtle electronic elements (see the awesome 'We Should Just Run Away') have saw them build their own dedicated fan base over their ten year life span. To add to the sentimental vibes from this years joint headliners, a sold out Limelight was recently the venue for the bands tenth anniversary celebration - a testament to the love and admiration Belfast has for their very own.

(Kasper Rosa)
For the slightly more aggressive gig going punter, prog-rockers Kasper Rosa will also be taking to the stage. Know for their big hitting sound, the band have recently began to embrace vocals (an element deemed unnecessary in much of their earlier work) and with it has came the double A-Side 'Icebreaker', a swirling, ambient mass of complex riffs and ghost like vocals. Expect a wave of swaying bodies when this lot take to the stage.

(New Ancestors)
Times have not always been so good for folk duo 'New Ancestors', but thankfully for the Belfast born, adopted Glaswegians they certainly seem to be now. After building a respected and beloved reputation under original guise 'The 1930's' the two piece took the brave decision to change their name, perhaps on the back of the similarly titled 'The 1975's' unexpected chart success. Despite the initial problems of changing such an established name, the newly christened New Ancestors went about their regeneration project with class and humility. Now boasting the swooning 'Dagger' and 'Rose' (which includes the awesome Mumoford and Son's-esque 'If You Let Me') double A-Sides, the two piece are enjoying the sort of  freedom that only a re-branding can really ever give a band.

(The Late Twos)
Also on the bill are the indie pop stylings of 'The Late Twos', a band commanding a huge following as one of the leading lights in Belfast's 'Indie Revolution'. With the back catalog of a band way beyond their years, their debut self titled EP  has won them cult status, with a legion of young mods following the bands every move. Armed with arguably the most charismatic front-man in the local music scene today in Matty Legge, it speaks volumes that the Belfast boys consider a gig without a stage invasion 'a bad day at the office'.

Following in the footsteps of local giants such as Ed Zealous, the brilliantly named 'Affleck' use synths, electronic bass lines and the haunting vocals of Aidan Kelly to gently craft a Muse styled soundscape of the weird and wonderful, culminating in a sound quite unlike anything you're likely to hear in Belfast. 

On shortly before Affleck come the increasingly exciting indie guitars of 'Hurdles', most recently being shortlisted for the incredible chance to play this years Glastonbury Festival! (Yes, that Glastonbury Festival) The four piece's vibrant, upbeat sound and dynamic live performances have drawn comparisons to The Strokes and The Libertines amongst others, but it's fair to say their brilliant original material has (despite their young age) an authentic and original style. A difficult task to master for any new band, yet one Hurdles have embraced with maturity and confidence. A hectic gigging schedule show's these lads aren't scared of the hard work which comes with being one of the countries most exciting prospects.

(Go Swim)
Finally, opening proceedings come 'Go Swim'. Equally filled with indie-pop optimism, this 5 piece play heavily off the fantastic vocal harmonies between guitarist Julianne Shawe and front man Steven Smith. Songs such as new single 'Call Sign' emphasis their potential and dance evoking rhythms. No doubt, a band willing to kick proceedings off with vigor and energy, you'll want to come down early for this one.

With such a varied and explosive line-up, you'd be a fool to miss out on 2014's Spectrum Festival. Like Little Solidarity before it, this could be the festival that pushes some of these bands to the national radio heights of it's returning headliners. For that alone, you'll want to be able to say you were there.

Taylor Johnson.

8 Artists - 1 Venue - 1 Night

Spectrum Festival 2014
Speakeasy, Belfast
Doors - 6:30pm
Saturday, 7th June, 2014

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