Community Festival – Finsbury Park, London – 1st July 2018

With festival season well underway, London’s Finsbury Park has become hope to this year’s Community Festival, a day-long event with arguably one of the best line-ups for any indie lover across the entire country this year. As the punters descend onto the burnt-out field, there are sweet tunes being carried in the air and we’re all invited.

If there could be any band more suited to getting the summer vibes underway, Sundara Karma were the right band for the job. Their infectious choruses, sweet guitar licks and generally unique image has put them on the map and they are continuing to amaze. Showcasing all their biggest hits from A Youth In Retrospect and even demonstrating a few from their upcoming follow up album which has just started recording, things are certainly looking up for this band. Whilst the sweet tunes from Sundara were a great way to start, a following set from Rat Boy proved to be a far punchier and angsty vibe which this crowd were eager to mosh, dance, rave and clap along to with great enthusiasm. Rat Boy’s performance is incredible and provides a real sense of modern DIY rock and roll that you don’t commonly come across from any artist of his size, so for that, there is nothing but admiration.

With half eaten chips and empty plastic wine bottles littering the dusty floor, a quick trip over to Circa Waves was next and reinforced why they are continuously pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a modern indie-rock band. There is no doubt that their 2015 record, Young Chasers, was a defining point within the indie scene which can definitely be seen when they play ‘Get Away’, ‘Stuck in My Teeth’ and of course the infectious ’T-Shirt Weather’, all sending the crowd into absolute anarchy. However, it seems Circa Waves have really come into their own following their last release, Different Creatures, bringing a far heavier, but infinitely more structured and developed sound, leaving an overall far bigger impact that definitely transcends equally well into the live environment.

With so much choice on today it was inevitable that there would be some clashes, however, because the stages were so close together, it was easy to flick between them as you pleased. Heading to the smaller N4 stage, heartthrob Sam Fender was eager to get his crowd moving and did so through his incredibly chilled out persona and remarkable high tones which send shivers through the air. He is a definite rising name in the making and one who will surely be making some big waves in no time at all. Speaking of waves, none other than Pale Waves followed Sam’s set and, as always, were keen to showcase why they are arguably one of the biggest and best rising bands to be found today. Once again reinforcing the summery tunes as the crowd jump, sway and bounce along to their refreshing sound.

You Me At Six were next on the list and were dedicated to only playing their biggest and best tracks. ‘Underdog’, ‘Room To Breathe’ and ‘Loverboy’ all made appearances whilst singer Josh Franceschi proceeded to start a series of: “It’s coming home!” chants. Whilst not the most memorable of shows today, they certainly got the crowd moving and hyped for the following set from the titanic force of indie-rock, The Vaccines. Opening with ‘Nightclub’ from the 2018 release, Combat Sports, the entire crowd reaches a state of hysteria and throw every limb they can into the air with as much force as they can. The Vaccines’ set only continues to grow and morph into an ode to what it means to play indie rock in the best way imaginable, with tracks such as ‘Teenage Icon’, ‘Post Break-Up Sex’ and ‘If You Wanna’ all popping up as the crowd impulsively chant along until they can chant no more.

With the day almost done, there was one more act still to come to round off what had been an incredible day of smooth tunes. Simply put, Two Door Cinema Club have possibly put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, opening with a blast of blue and white streamers to ‘Undercover Martyn’, the band proceed to explode into colour whilst the crowd simply lose their minds. The first five tracks to the set are unbelievable, bringing out four of Tourist History’s biggest with ‘I Can Talk’, ‘This Is The Life’ and, surprisingly, an early rendition of ‘What You Know’ comes into play; the last of which sees 45,000 people jumping in perfect harmony with what is arguably the anthem of an indie generation. Of course, the band are also eager to showcase a few from their 2016 record, Gameshow, and they are also received well, however, judging from the response of each track, the set quickly shifts into almost an entire play through of Tourist History, which many are clearly more than happy with.

Vocalist Alex Trimble maintains his mysterious and cool persona throughout, whilst guitarist Sam Halliday and bassist Kevin Baird rile the crowd up through some intense dancing of their own, using the entire stage to their advantage whilst up keeping every crisp note to each track. As the set seamlessly seeps into its latter stages, it feels as though it’s only been a few moments due to so many sing-along hits. The band are still eager to keep everyone on board, though, and proceed to bring out ‘Come Back Home’, ‘Eat That Up, It’s Good For You’ and ‘Someday’ before ending with a final flicker of finesse through ‘Something Good Can Work’ and ‘Sun’, whilst letting off a series of fireworks. It’s immediately clear that everyone in this crowd has come away having had a phenomenal time.

Overall, I would deem Community Festival a complete musical success, the quality of almost every artist playing today was exemplary and demonstrated some of the best names in both rising and legendary British indie. Personally, I could think of no better way to spend a sunny Sunday.

Ben Walker