Split reviews

SPLIT 2011:Little Comets
SPLIT 2011:Little Comets
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Young reviewer Charlotte Riley gives her view on the weekend’s festivities.

THIS year’s Split festival provided a wonderland of entertainment for all ages.

Stilt-walkers, jugglers and face-painters drew on the tale of Alice in Wonderland to provide some alternative fun during the two-day feast of musical entertainment.

But it was the huge range of bands – from international stars to local hopefuls – which drew most people to Split. It was a line-up which should have pleased even the most cynical of music fans.

Bands to catch my eye included Dinosaur Pile-Up, who provided a combination of catchy songs and fantastic lighting. Littlecomets, King Blues and Dutch Uncles were stand-outs too.

Sunderland-based We Beat the System played a cracking set – once again proving themselves worthy winners of the Best Alternative Act title in the 2010 Live and Unsigned competition.

Punk band Leatherface, a staple of the Sunderland music scene since 1988, had the crowd on their feet and yelling with an eclectic style of hardcore punk and upbeat folky music too.

And the stripped-back sounds of Saturday’s headliners The Drums wowed both me and the audience, as did Hyde and Beast, B>E>A>K, Spector, Mystery Jets, The Rifles and Ganglians.

It was Frankie and The Heartstrings – an indie rock band from Sunderland – who hit the No. 1 spot with me. Not quite a headliner on the main stage this time around – but very, very close.

Frontman Frankie was as charismatic as ever, wooing festival-goers with his personality and songs. His stage persona is magnetic – sparking an almost hysterical reception from the crowd.

It’s just a shame the plug was pulled too early on the set. Frankie and the band were all geared up to sing a last number when the electricity failed – plunging the main tent into darkness.

The sound of boo-ing filled the air as thousands of disappointed fans gave vent to their annoyance. Surely, with a following like this, it is only a matter of time before Frankie and his mates are huge.

Split has been hailed by music critics as the “Glastonbury of the North East.” It is certainly edgy, entertaining and musically educational – but thankfully not as muddy.