It's that time of year again when we head for the hills and the picturesque surroundings of Ramsbottom for one of the few remaining unspoiled festivals on the circuit. Day One of the festival for us capture further evidence of The Slow Readers Club remarkable rise from the Northern Quarter venue circuit to turning away people at the door wherever they go as well as Glass Caves, Larkins, Lake Komo and LIINES.
LIINES have the graveyard slot, opening the festival's Smaller Rooms Stage at five o'clock, just as doors have opened. However as their set progresses, the powerful bass lines booming out of the tent draw in a crowd that includes everyone from young kids to the old hippy. As they finish they offer free demo CDs and there's no one who turns them down which tells its own story. These dark festival tent stages are perfect for LIINES' sharp angular assault on the senses. There's a couple of new songs in their set which excite us at the prospect of their reported debut album next year, whilst the duo of forthcoming double A-side Disappear and Be Here are dispatched with fire midway through and seem set to win over more hearts. They finish with their powerful calling card Never There, possibly the single of 2015, and you can see them winning over the gathering crowd. Hopefully Ramsbottom will invite them back next year with a slot more befitting of their status.
We stagger out blinded by the sun across to the Hills Stage for Lake Komo and we feel more sorry for them than we did for LIINES. You can make a tent intimate at any time in the festival, they're taxed with the problem of the wide open expanse of the fields and the fact that their intricate often delicate melodies are a little too fragile for it at this time of day. Songs like Let Go, Think Tank and their closing song Milwaukee would have been perfect on one of the smaller stages where their beauty could shine through. Their time will come though.
It's then back into the tent for Larkins and they confirm the very favourable impression they gave us at their recent Club Academy headline and you sense the growing crowd getting into them as the set progresses. Front man Josh knows how to get an audience involved too, urging them to step forward and join in which they do as their infectious energy transmits itself across the gap from stage to floor and the response they get tells its own story. The only minor quibble we'd have is the omission of songs like Dragonfly and Let Your Hair Down, but it's a good place for a band at their stage of development to be at when you're making tough choices on a half hour set.
We wander the site for the next hour or so catching snippets of bands and catching up with old and new friends before securing our space for The Slow Readers Club's headline slot in the tent. It's a wise move as they're turning people away well before they even come on stage and whilst the band might be surprised by that, no one else is. You could put them headlining the main stage here and they wouldn't feel out of place.
Their eleven-song set features a mix from both Cavalcade and their self-titled debut. The songs from the latter are barely recognisable such is the way they've shaken off the shackles of the production to sound like huge anthems made for nights like this - Sirens, One More Minute, Feet On Fire and Block Out The Sun could and should have had the impact Cavalcade's recent singles have done and they probably feel like new discoveries to those seduced by I Saw A Ghost and Plant The Seed as the band's star has risen. They're a remarkably tight unit these days, not even phased when Aaron's mic lead falls out at the beginning of Start Again or at the growing chants of "Readers, Readers" between songs.
They're still winning over new admirers and tonight there's a barrel-load more although as Aaron tells us with a huge grin on his face, they're aren't any tickets left for their Ritz headline show in November. And it's not difficult to see why as they deliver eleven songs that don't have a weak spot amongst them, each one though with its own personality, its own tale to tell that connects with the audience, some of who have been converted, the others who are during the set. By the end you feel now that they're almost unstoppable, a fan base growing by the day, Cavalcade still winning them new admirers fifteen months on giving them the space to work on album three. They're no longer Manchester's best kept secret.
LIINES' official website can be found here. They are also on Twitter, Facebook and Soundcloud.
Lake Komo's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.
Larkins' official website can be found here and they are on Soundcloud, Facebook and Twitter. Our interview with them can be found here.
The Slow Readers Club can be found at their website. They are also on Facebook and Twitter.
Our Introducing The Slow Readers Club piece can be found here.