It's that time of year again.
Standon Calling is upon us once more, a weekend long musical extravaganza in the rolling fields of Hertfordshire.
Thousands of fans are already on site, so with Clash packing its bags for all weather possibilities here are a few must-sees from across the bill.
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A titan of cool, a leviathan of style, Bryan Ferry’s career contains more twists and turns than a Thorpe Park rollercoaster yet his temperature never seems to rise above freezing.
From frontman of Roxy Music to solo crooner this louche lounge lizard remains a vital presence in British music, and his Standon Calling set will draw on the full force of a truly seminal catalogue. Where others fear to tread, Bryan Ferry waltzes past, forever dressed immaculately.
Tapping into that uniquely British art school perspective Django Django have become a universe unto themselves. Secluded away in their studio, the band’s psych-pop meets electro meets bashment meets tropicalia sound is unlike any other, a group whose crate-digging tendencies is only dwarfed by their ability to draft ear-worm melodies.
The perfect summer band, Django Django’s set at Standon Calling will mix up songs from their superb new album with fans favourites, making them the perfect Hertfordshire pick-me-up.
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Part of the much-mythologised South London guitar underground Shame have become one of 2018’s defining groups. Politically outspoken the band walk it like they talk it, an insurrectionary force whose counter-cultural stance is marked by remarkably self-effacing sense of humour.
With their star continually rising this is the perfect time to catch a raw, punk-etched sonic force in the live environment. Simply, a must-see.
Manchester’s Pale Waves are instant stars – simply add water and stir. Goth-pop with an outrageously ambitious streak, their lipstick-daubed anthems to adolescence seem to grow in stature with each passing show. A hard-working bunch – their summer itinerary alone is breathtaking – Pale Waves are slated to release their debut album at the end of summer, but you can get an exclusive glimpse at Standon Calling.
A phenomenon in waiting, their set will undoubtedly be a riot of glitter, leather, gothic shades, and hopelessly devoted fans – make sure you’re one of them.
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Brought up around soulful reggae music Hollie Cook makes each performance look remarkably natural. Graceful, modest, and hopelessly charming onstage, her supple voice is matched by material which increasingly finds the singer coming into her own.
Pop meets reggae in a soul format, her sunshine songwriting bristles with tropical energy, but is delivered in a uniquely English slant. This could be your surprise performance of the weekend...
Ibibio Sound Machine
An afro-soul explosion, Ibibio Sound Machine are a simply remarkable live force. Driven by the vocal dexterity of Eno Williams, the group are London-based but global in their outlook, a true 21 st century creative fusion.
The band’s 2014 debut album was a cult success, while last year’s ‘Uyai’ full length took Ibibio Sound Machine in fresh directions; unpredictable but hopelessly addictive, they’re definitely an experience you’ll want to favour.
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Indie meets psychedelia meets West African rhythms, Flamingods emerged from the south coast’s DIY scene, a distinctive, totally original voice laced with colour, intention, and no small degree of funk.
Now working with tastemarker imprint Moshi Moshi, the band’s live shows are packed with surprises, from off piste covers to deft re-workings of their own material. 6Music favourites, Flamingods might not be the biggest band on the bill, but they’re certainly one of the most talented – a riot of bright tones and percussive attack, it’s impossible to stay in one place when they’re onstage.
Right from the start Dream Wife have been an inspiration. A group with a female-forward perspective, their shows – booking other female musicians to support – have been anthems of empowerment, a means to change a male-dominated industry.
Of course, it’s more than mere rhetoric; barbed guitar lines, anthemic songwriting, Dream Wife’s debut album was a tenacious joy, a record you should definitely track down. Winning over fans one show at a time, their Standon Calling set is a must.
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Standon Calling runs between July 27th - 29th.
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