Butserfest 2016 was by no means the wettest day for a festival (nothing can get much worse in that respect than Download this year…) but it was very much a soggy one. With the Introducing Stage having to be shut down at around 3pm after a member of a band was electrocuted onstage as the rain was blowing straight into the front of the stage, the weather proceeded to increase the crowd numbers in the Crossroads Stage (the only one of the three main stages in a tent), much to the pleasure of the bands throughout the day playing there. Elsewhere, no more bands dropped out on the day which is a good start, and every band playing had a great time.
Positioned straight after the openers Seething Akira on the Crossroads Stage were the male/female dual-fronted metalcore outfit Faultlines, who were the first real beneficiary of the lashing rain. With the pop hooks provided by frontwoman Christina and groundshaking screams from frontman Jake which cemented a duel-natured sound that blew away the crowd in the tent. Bringing the set to a close with Drowning, the band left a good reputation with the sheltering punters who may not otherwise have heard of them.
Following on from Faultlines were Griever, a made-up metalcore band who have some seriously big tunes. Featuring multiple bass-slides in every song, it’s clear to see the band are trying to be heavy and it works out for them; frontman David Seymour standing on the monitors at the fore of the stage could command the crowd any way he wanted, which induced circle pits and all-out crowd-killing for the remainder of the set. Despite clearly not having many existing fans (except one group running the pit and screaming along the whole set), the band definitely made some new ones to keep them rising up the lists.
Essex alt-rock 5-piece Tigress were next up on Crossroads, and came on with some flaring guitars and a whole lot of attitude. Vocalist Katy Jackson has the ability to manipulate the behaviour of the crowd with just a vocal melody and within minutes the whole crowd were moving. As with the bands playing previously, it was clear they didn’t have too many dedicated fans around but what they did have were catchy tunes which won over the sheltering crowd pretty quickly and will have earned them some more fans for their upcoming releases. (Read our interview with them here)
As one of the only bands during the rain to draw a reasonably-sized crowd, it was clear that the expectations were high for the set from the Liverpool outfit were pretty high. Opening with Brainsick and closing with their fantastic cover of Limp Bizkit‘s Break Stuff was a good move and kept the crowd moving the whole way through, despite the miserable weather. Sadly, the band announced this would be the last time the cover would make an outing, but with their debut album set for a mid-January release it looks like there will be more killer original material to listen to instead.
Despite only having six songs released which are spread over five singles, the Welsh rockers took most of the crowd by surprise. They started off seeming fairly calm with the more alternative/indie-rock side of their tracks then flipped to the screamed vocals and back again, both alarming and exciting those Butserfest punters watching on. The Crossroads tent was packed out – half because it was raining and half because of the huge sound of the band – and everyone was moving within a few minutes of the music commencing. Definitely one to watch again, and with new music coming soon, Casey have the potential to be huge within a very short space of time.
As It Is (Acoustic)
One of the best-spirited moments of the day was the performance by Brighton pop punkers As It Is in the Acoustic Shack, which allowed for fans to hear in an intimate setting four tracks by the band including Winter’s Weather, a track which hasn’t been heard acoustically very much at all. The set was clearly well-rehearsed though, and After finishing with “thirteen minutes left” as co-vocalist Ben Langford-Biss reliably informed the crowd, the band were expecting to pack up and going off backstage until a few eager fans suggested a Q&A session, much to the amusement of guitarist Andy Westhead but true to their word they did it! See below for a fan-filmed video of Dial Tones from the set.
The One Hundred
The One Hundred have played Reading & Leeds festival and other relatively huge shows, so Butserfest would be a breeze as proved to be the case. Rattling through released and unreleased tracks alike, the band promised more of it to be recorded and released soon as they battered out one of the heaviest sets of the day despite the rap infusion. Their energy and enthusiasm throughout the set more or less doubled the size of their crowd in the tent, and the incredible crowd reaction right from the off was no coincidence. Diminished chords and down-tuned stringbends ruled the set to prove these are very capable of being “the next Limp Bizkit” as they claimed.
Fort Hope came out to one of the smallest crowds of the festival, which didn’t get much larger throughout the entire set. They played through track after track with little energy or enthusiasm, and the crowd were mainly not particularly involved, bar the superfans stacked by the barrier. The set was generally uninspiring as they played through their EP material with the announcement of new music to come which fell effectively on deaf ears. Not a terrible set, though not necessarily one to watch at future festival dates (that’s not to say not to go on tour, they could be completely different there!).
Blood Youth came onto the Butserfest line up as an honest, brutal hardcore band from Leeds and left the site after one of the best performances of the day, definitely bagging a whole load more fans. While tearing through tracks from the EPs including 24/7 and Mood Swing, the band brought reference to some new tracks coming soon which will be first played on the Closure tour at the end of September while creating some of the best crowd interaction of the day as they screamed and moshed along with the thrashing hardcore beats. A triumph for the band that will surely mark the cementing of their name in the scene at the moment. (Read our interview with them here)
As It Is
As South Coast pop punk band As It Is get ready to end the Never Happy cycle once and for all by releasing the next record (which is finished and ready to go…) and playing Butserfest before the Against The Current support slot, they looked to finish it off in true style. They had already played the acoustic set earlier on in the day which let fans know that they were definitely on form and they did not disappoint. Frontman Patty Walters had his signature leaping demeanour he holds onstage and the harmonies between himself and co-vocalist Ben Langford-Biss kept the set grounded through the pop punk mania. The muddy ground may have put a slight dampener on the crowd reaction, but the crowd were clearly liking what they heard anyway.
Bristol fusion-rock band Area 11 were one of the most diverse acts onstage all day, judging by their musical style. The electronic/hardcore/blues rock they mash together makes for a setlist that is never the same twice, but due to the festival arrangement a fair few of the electronic parts fell quite flat. This was shown through the people just flowing in and out of the tent and lack of crowd interaction, and the pull of Young Guns on Main Stage pulled away a large portion of the punters to leave a mainly empty tent. The highlight of the set though was recent single The Contract which has been well-publicised, and was one of the only tracks that took off successfully but as a first festival appearance for the band at Butserfest, it was anything but a bad effort.
Having made a shift from their signature early punchy rock sound towards a more electronic-fuelled Ones And Zeroes in 2015, Young Guns hit Butserfest on the verge of releasing their fourth album Echoes, coming 16th September. The album features more of their older sound again, coming back with more instrumentals than electronics. The set featured just two songs from pre-2015 in the form of first album favourite Weight Of The World and set-closer Bones from the second album of the same title, while featuring four from the new album and filling the rest of the nine with those from the 2015 collection. All in all a solid set, though future sets between now and the next album are bound to be more settled and rehearsed with the new material.
The headliners of the Crossroads Stage were local band Creeper, who have been more than making waves throughout the scene of late. They made the Butserfest appearance in the middle of their ongoing PR campaign of disappearing surrounding the storyline of their EPs in preparation for more music to come soon. The band came on in masks and several times made reference to the fanbase watching eagerly about how they still hadn’t cracked the mystery while ripping through their punky, horror-fuelled set with aplomb. The tent was full and everyone was involved, and if that doesn’t pay tribute to the band then nothing ever will.
As the lights went down for the entrance of the headliners, the crowd were all in ecstasy. The Cambridgeshire rock & roll outfit took to the stage and proceeded to play out anthem after anthem, starting with Asymmetry track Shout At The Moon. Throughout frequent breaks to have a bit of a chat with the crowd, there was an atmosphere created that was characterised by a low-level murmur as the crowd had to vocalise their feelings after each punchy track. As they closed up the festival with Lighthouse, the band had successfully proven why they were there and why they had been granted the top slot with the biggest singalong of the set.