"...Fat Lip fest boasts an impressive array of local and international talent and for any students electing to stick the summer out in Bristol, it's 100% worth the visit at a ridiculously low price point." Matt Alderton reviews Bristol's Fat Lip Festival.
For those familiar with the Bristol rock and indie music scene, the Fat Lip team will be a well-known establishment, promoting club nights and gigs across various venues in Bristol. Head honcho, Ian Chadderton, known as "Chadderz", frequents the decks at Thekla, The Lanes and Rams most nights during the week. But once a year, he turns his eye to curating the line-up of the much-loved pop punk and rock festival Fat Lip Fest. Before I even talk about the bands (of which there were many) huge recognition has to be given to the fact that the price tag for the festival was only fifteen pounds for first release tickets. You'd expect to pay that amount to see headliners Mallory Knox alone, but for twenty quid you get ten hours of music and change for a pint too: madness. I dropped in this year to see what headliners Mallory Knox and co. would deliver in the one-day festival split across stages in SWX, The Lanes and Rough Trade.
The first band I caught in the mid-afternoon were main stage rockers Tigress. With only a little time to sell themselves, they had to impress quickly and duly they did; fourty minutes of fuzz-fuelled riffs and impressive vocal duties from frontwoman Katy Jackson. It was also encouraging to see some good platforming for women in rock music in Bristol.
Pushing Daisies are an up and coming grungy, emo-rock, in your face band and you can͛'t fault the lads on their enthusiasm. Despite being tucked away on the smallest stage in the back of Rough Trade, the Bristol 4 piece brought the temperature of the room up during their showcase of material from new EP͚ Take Me Back To The Light͛. They are worth return to the Mother's Ruin on the 16th of September this year.
The one band that really took me by surprise when I cast a first glance over the line-up was Asteroid Boys. They͛re not a band I'm overly familiar with and their unique blend of punk rock and grime was certainly not something I would have booked for a pop-punk/rock festival. But there͛'s a reason that I don͛'t book artists for festivals since the boys drew one of the largest and liveliest crowds I saw all day over in The Lanes. Main man Benjamin Kendall oozes energy and pumps up the room with minutes of jumping onto the stage and it͛'s easy to see why grime is exploding and beginning to seep into other genres. I͛'m a convert.
As the evening drew to a close, the majority of coherent punters drifted their way towards SWX to catch headline act, Mallory Knox. After a difficult period featuring the loss of lead vocalist Mikey Chapman, the remaining boys have had their work cut out convincing their fans that it's business as usual. In reality, it's not. Business has stepped up a notch. Some of the older Knox tracks definitely lack the tone of Chapman's voice, but where the set did turn around and stride much further forwards than where the band previously sat was in the reveal of new material.
Currently, the band have only released a single track with bassist Sam Douglas assuming vocal duties, February͛'s 'Black Holes͛'. This track and the other handful which made an outing at Fat Lip all push the heavier side of the band͛'s music and they instantly felt and sounded much more comfortable in this territory. The newer numbers relied less on core vocals and were a lot more riff-driven and if they were a sign of the band͛s new direction then there's definitely reason to keep both eyes on Mallory Knox right now.
All in all, Fat Lip fest boasts an impressive array of local and international talent and for any students electing to stick the summer out in Bristol, it's 100% worth the visit at a ridiculously low price point. Get on it next year.
All images: Epigram / Matt Alderton
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