~ Lincoln ~
On a weekend when rain had fallen very heavy in some parts, Lincoln hosted the annual 2Q Festival which takes place in ten venues around the City Centre.
With disruption to the train service we arrived slightly later than we had planned but lucky for us Nottingham’s Reflekter were starting later then scheduled too. The stylish looking four-piece had the room for the This Feeling takeover at Red Five literally shaking with their no bullshit Rock ‘n’ Roll. Frontman James Gooch didn’t do much chatting between the tracks and instead let the music do the talking, Reflekter had the almost full to capacity venue dancing along to their infectious tunes, previous singles ‘Caught in a Storm’, ‘Alright’ and set closer ’75 Trips’ went down particularly well with the crowd but is was the Billie Eilish cover of ‘Bad Guy’ which raised the biggest smiles.
All of the venues which were participating in 2Q Festival were incredibly close together and easy to get to. Coming out of Red Five, we headed straight to Back to Mono, a record store that had DJ’s spinning the best tunes on vinyl all day but at 5pm it was to host an acoustic set by festival headliners The Twang. Just after 4pm there was already a queue to get in the shop, when we were given the ok to go in, we headed up the staircase and into the record store which had vinyl records around the outside and a shelf of CD’s down the middle. It was a bit of a tight squeeze and could not have had more than 50 people in there. After an hour wait the band arrived with Phil Etheridge saying, “It’s fucking cosy in here.” Phil and Jon Watkin tackled the vocals, Stu Hartland and usually the drummer Grandmaster Ash Sheehan were on acoustic guitar duties.
The Twang mainly played a set of new tunes from their fifth album ‘If Confronted Just Go Mad’ which was released the day before (8th November.) Starting the set with the trippy ‘Dream’, it was great to hear the track in this stripped back way, similar to the way they performed the track for This Feeling TV. Phil and Jon were in great spirits, interacting and having a laugh with the crowd between songs, some of them fans also had to walk through the middle of them both to go to the toilet. Two fans told Phil that they got engaged during their gig at The Welly Club in Hull, this genuinely touched Phil, he seemed chuffed to bits.
The Twang now have the two girls Cat Mctigue and Rio Hellyer, these weren’t there during the acoustic set and the parts that Cat sings on ‘Everytime’ were sung by Jon. The first taste of classic Twang came with ‘Two Lovers’, during the classics it felt as if the floor was going to go through with the movement of the fans, ‘Took The Fun’ also nearly took the roof off with the “Laa Laa Laa Laa Looow”‘s ringing around. ‘Mainline’ had a rework and was in a style that you would expect of an Amy Winehouse cover of the track. ‘Mainline’ was going to be the last track but calls out for ‘Cloudy Room’ had Phil laughing and he said, “Nahh, we can’t do that in here, you’ll get that later.” Half way though packing up they decided on doing one last song and gave the mesmerised crowd ‘Either Way’, how the floor didn’t go though during that is a mystery.
By this time most of the venues were all full to capacity and running the one out, one in policy, after a little wait outside Liquor we headed up the stairs to see Hotel Lux. Under the red lighting, Hotel Lux made the atmosphere a very tense one indeed, I guess when you’re named after a hotel in Russia that communists were exiled to and many killed, the tense atmosphere is to be expected. The angry sounding frontman kept you on edge throughout the set and ‘The English Disease’ broke that mood for a while before ‘The Last Hangman’, a tune which was also on the soundtrack during a pinnacle moment on the latest series of Peaky Blinders, this track soon had everybody on edge again, even more than before.
The Twang took to the stage at the biggest venue on the circuit at the Engine Shed, this time Ash Sheehan was off the acoustic guitar and back on the drums, Jon was near the back playing bass, Stu was in a similar place on the other side and the girls Cat and Rio diagonally placed to the side. Joint frontman Martin Saunders left the band last year and Phil did his best to make use of the extra space on stage, bouncing around from left to right and then standing on the rim at the front towering over the front rows, also having a little dance with Cat and Rio.
The crowd were instantly into it and although the venue wasn’t quiet full to capacity, everybody there was a diehard fan, bouncing and singing along to ‘Either Way’, ‘Mainline’ and ‘Ice Cream Sundae’. Security got involved when a fan was on another fan’s shoulders and Phil Etheridge wasn’t best pleased with the guard and announced that people were there to have a good time, nobody was fighting or being a dickhead and he encouraged fans to get on their mate’s shoulders if they wanted to.
With the new album ‘If Confronted Just Go Mad’ released now, they seemed so natural slipping the new tunes into their set, the cover of The Blue Nile track ‘Tinseltown in the Rain’ demanded everybody’s attention. ‘Everytime’ was the best tune for a good dance and with this track being a duet between Phil and Cat, it was a great sight to see that chemistry live. The day was also Cat’s birthday and bang on a year since she was on the same stage with wonder kid Tom Grennan. Cat and Rio also gave an extra dimension to ‘Barney Rubble’, the tune has a Balearic vibe anyway and now with the female vocalists, it amplifies that feel.
Phil made the decision that they wouldn’t do the whole walk off stage encore thing because it’s fucking boring and just carried on instead, for the next tunes, it was all limbs and bodies for debut single ‘Wide Awake’, the Bran Van 3000 cover of ‘Drinking in LA’ and finally giving the record store mob ‘Cloudy Room’.
The Twang are a band that I personally class myself a big fan of and I have been since the release of ‘Wide Awake’, one thing’s for sure with the lads and lasses, their live shows are full of passion and the band always look like they are having the time of their lives, this bounces off them and makes their crowd go mental and then the band buzz off that.
With over one hundred bands and ten different venues, we didn’t even scratch the surface of 2Q Festival but what we were part of felt special, right from the first band to the last and the people that we met along the way were all in good spirits. 2Q is a festival that I will be marking in on my calendar for next year.
(Review by – Marc Whiffen)
Photo by – Marc Whiffen
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