LIVE REVIEW: EXIT CALM (AND SOME T’OTHERS) @ V FESTIVAL by Michael Hardy

V Festival! Not the usual hang out for up and coming indie bands, although in 2008 there were great performances from The Guillemots and The Young Knives. However, in 2013 it’s become more a showcase for Simon Cowell’s creations. Sandwiched inbewteen Gamu (the one that got deported from X-Factor the other year) and Diana Vickers (the one that didn’t win the X-Factor the other year) and originally booked to open the New Music Stage is Barnsley’s very own Exit Calm. Glad to see that on the day they had been promoted to a more reasonable mid afternoon slot. However, this schedule change meant they clashed with another South Yorkshire band, Reverend and The Makers. Having seen Jon Mclure getting the audience to bounce on several occasions over the last few summers, Exit Calm seemed the sensible choice.

I arrived at the Futures tent in time to catch the end of the first song, now usually at festivals at this time of the day people are generally sat in front of the stage contemplating the day head, not the case with Exit Calm. The sheer noise they were making brought everyone to their feet. The loudest band of the day, if not the whole weekend (no offence Mark Owen). The band were so loud I had to give up my usual position at the front of the stage so I could hear them more clearly. This wasn’t the bands fault completely, it’s what happens at festivals when bands only get a ten minute sound check. In a very short twenty minute set the band were able to squeeze in songs from their debut album and their soon to be released second album The Future Isn’t What It Used To Be, including latest single When They Rise and potential single Albion – both sounding great. The band played to a few dozen people, which I’d like to think weren’t just family members or really keen Diana Vickers fans. The banter between songs was first class too. Nicky Smith often speaking directly to people walking past the tent but not venturing it. As they came to their last song, Holy War he caught the attention of two men walking out of the tent and shouted to them, “don’t leave now this is the best one, enjoy your shit pop..” Said men were blissfully unaware the front man was trying to get their attention. With backing vocals provided by Jon Mclure from the all too nearby stage. For such a large festival the stages are far too close ( Jamie Cullum struggled to be heard above Calvin Harris later in the weekend). This was a surreal but fun gig, hopefully the band will have gained a few new fans in the lead up to the release of their second album when they will be embarking on a tour of their own, beginning at Leeds Cockpit, 12th September.

Follow Exit Calm here and here.
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