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SPLIT 2011: B>E>A>K

SPLIT 2011: B>E>A>K

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With more than 40 acts performing at last weekend’s Split Festival, a host of Echo reporters were there to cover the action. Here’s some of their reviews.

Ian Laws enjoyed the Saturday main stage line-up.

WELLIES, beaks, a tasty Swedish Blonde and painted faces.

All this could mean just one thing: Saturday at Split Festival.

On paper, it looked like being the best Split Festival yet. The organisers certainly got themselves an impressive line-up of tents, anyway – 10 out of 10 on that score.

And there was the obligatory VW camper van to greet hungry fans in the very tempting gastro tent – though, disappointingly, no veggie option from the Borneo bunch.

The sight of Futurehead Ross Millard apparently flogging second-hand frocks opposite the chip van was the perfect introduction to a day of surprises.

The Generals and B>E>A>K are musically poles apart, but were favourites on a day when, mercifully, the worst of the weather was reserved for the hours before most of us gathered at Ashbrooke.

Split was where The Generals really came to a lot of people’s attention last year so they might have felt under a bit of pressure to deliver and wow all over again.

If that was the case, it didn’t show during a gritty, punky set that once again delivered.

I’m not really sure what B>E>A>K are, or want to be. I sometimes wonder if they’re making car-chase music for a remake of The Sweeney or Get Carter.

But the sound they make is engaging and rich and fun and while they are managing to put smiles on faces, why worry about pigeon-holing them? (See what I did there?)

Littlecomets, with their washing line of percussion, were quite simply fantastic, Dutch Uncles a little too freaky for my liking, but the night was back on track when The Rifles fired out half-an-hour of stomping indie rock tracks that left me surprised I didn’t already have them on my iPod.

I’m afraid The Mystery Jets left me feeling a bit cold – this seems a band that doesn’t quite know if they are pop or rock and the result was a bunch of middle-of-the-road tracks that didn’t grip me.

With such a quick turn-around time between bands, there was a fair amount of the tactical talk about the best time to weave round behind the footy court to the toilet zone, ensuring that none of the music was missed.

It has to be said, there was more dancing going on in the loo queue than for some of the acts in the main tent.

This was chiefly down to some of us getting caught out by the waiting time and resorting to a nifty little jig that we hoped would con our bladders into thinking they weren’t so full of Maxim Brewery’s ale that they were about to burst.

Of course, if you were lucky enough to have a pass into the pavilion, you could happily head indoors for a posh pee. But somehow that felt unfestival-like.

Far better to keep it real and wait for your turn in a plastic latrine before heading back to the bar and beginning the whole cycle over again.