Hit The Deck 2013

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hit the deck 2013
This was my first festival of the year, I was getting bored waiting for the season to start in earnest, so I took a punt on “Hit the deck”. I like to credit myself with a fair musical knowledge, but I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of a single band on the line up, a proper “punt” then!

 “Hit the deck” festival was held at 4 of Bristols top live music venues, the O2 academy, the Thekla, the Fleece, and the Exchange and entry to all these was a one off £25, which I thought was extremely reasonable and it turned out to be one of the best days weather wise we’ve had in a long time, so wandering between these venues was a pleasurable experience, even though it was ten minutes or so between some, so by the end of the day quite a lot of valuable music time had been spent walking. 
  So, like I said, had no real idea of what I was about to experience at hit the deck, but when you see names like “Fearless vampire killers”, “Bleed from within”, “Silent screams” and “this or apocalypse” on the line up, you kind of feel like you maybe in for a bit of Doom? Not that I’m one to stereo type…. 

  With most of the bands except the headliners having just 30 minutes to prove themselves it was all action from the start and even those filling the early slots were quality, putting in some stunning performances, it has to be said that even if this isn’t your kind of music, and even though it was so loud most of the time you couldn’t distinguish individual instruments from the tsunami of sound that was desperately trying to pin you against the wall and peel the shirt off your back, it was good to see passion of this level so early in the day.

 Sonic boom six were the first band of the day to catch my eye, playing the biggest venue of the day, the O2 main stage, really charismatic, seriously tight, and if I hadn’t been told by security to put my camera away, would have made great photos easy, the place was packed especially for such an early spot and I was wondering… “should know these?”, everybody else seemed to! But that’s what’s so good about taking a punt on something like this, you usually find you like something you never knew existed. 

 Following several jaunts back and forth between venues getting there just as the band was finishing and everyone else was leaving for somewhere else, or sitting through bands that had the ability, the look, the equipment, but without wanting to be unkind, just didn’t have the songs or that certain something to make them memorable, I stumbled across my band of the day. 

  O2 main stage again (or O2- 1 rather than O2- 2, all very confusing), Never shout Never came out to the type of reception normally reserved for a teen idol, but having since noticed that they have over 3.5 million facebook “likes”, its not that surprising. A 3 piece from the U.S.A, the young singer as well as having catchy songs, a very accomplished band, good looks, confidence, and stage presence that would shine through a lead casket, obviously has a yearning to be the next Dylan, wearing a hat similar to the one worn on the cover of Dylans debut album, skittering around and effecting a similar nervous laugh to the early Bob (plus emulating “freewheeling” and “subteranian homesick blues” in his own youtube videos), but the songs were more Pop than bob. This was the only band that captivated me and kept my attention for the entire set, there was just three of them, no lead instrument, just good songs and great fun. 
 There were so many bands playing here across 7 stages it was only possible to see a small percentage of what was going on, and if, like me you had turned up for a day out, with no idea who any of the bands were, planning was no help and what I saw was always going to be left to chance, and it was only by chance that my train station was nearest to “the Fleece” that I managed to get to see “Bleeding through”.

  By all accounts from California and purveyors of Metalcore, this was a fitting headline to what had been a predominantly metal and grunge festival, arriving on stage looking mean, malevolent and like Mike Tyson ready to do someone harm, the vocalist dressed in nothing but muscles and shorts tore into the first number shaking his head violently, staring into the crowd, then stopping to flex his muscles and mouth the words that someone else or maybe on a backing track was singing, before ripping into song again. This was a really tight and well put together show, again, not really my thing, but I seriously had to admire what they were doing. 

 This was a very well put together festival, with loads of music at really good venues, as well as being reasonably priced. I guess if I had done my homework and checked the websites of some of the bands on the line up, I probably would have seen more music I knew I’d enjoy, but I wouldn’t have come away with the feeling that I had seen something different, so I’m very glad I didn’t, definitely worth the punt!

Published on 25 April 2013 by insomniac jack

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