Forwards Festival 2022: Billy Nomates bring swagger, Kae Tempest left me in tears, Chemical Brothers incredible

Sleaford Mods - ‘I was surrounded by people moshing and the first crowd surfing I had seen all weekend’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)Sleaford Mods - ‘I was surrounded by people moshing and the first crowd surfing I had seen all weekend’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)
Sleaford Mods - ‘I was surrounded by people moshing and the first crowd surfing I had seen all weekend’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora) | Giulia Spadafora

Bristol goes again! Day two of Forwards Festival promised a lot. Let’s see if it can deliver? The line-up was jam packed of music I was excited to see. It pays to get there early and to have a coffee.

Well, I thought I was early, but a big crowd had beat me to it watch Melt Yourself Down. From the moment they started it felt like I had been there all day with people moshing and jumping up and down. I was so impressed I spilt my coffee.

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Frontman Kushal Gaya was clearly feeding off the crowd’s energy by jumping and kicking the air in very tight leather trousers! What a skill. There were funky basslines which got me moving before I even knew it.

The two saxophonists took centre stage driving the fast tempo party punk music along. The saxophonist was so hot Gaya was fanning them with a towel he found on stage. As ‘Crocodile’ dropped the whole crowd jumped with some kids behind me having a great time as Gaya orchestrated whilst jumping/skipping shouting “Jump, Jump, Jump!!!”.

There was no time to wait around as I jogged over to watch Billy Nomates on Stage Two. Tor Maries was on fire by the time I got there! So much swagger and yet high energy as she performed with every inch of her body. Dancing with intent and flailing arms like a funky Ian Curtis.

Billy Nomates: ‘Dancing with intent and flailing arms like a funky Ian Curtis’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)Billy Nomates: ‘Dancing with intent and flailing arms like a funky Ian Curtis’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)
Billy Nomates: ‘Dancing with intent and flailing arms like a funky Ian Curtis’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora) | Billy Nomates: ‘Dancing with intent and flailing arms like a funky Ian Curtis’

‘Call In Sick’ was a highlight, it combines anger, wit and groove inviting the crowd to call in sick for work… if they so wish! There was a shout out to Big Jeff and I had thought a few times he should be here! I know he’s a big fan of Billy Nomates as I’ve seen him bopping to her before.

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What a great start, two great acts. Next up Self Esteem. I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have said she is a must-see live. The first thing that struck me was how much fun she has performing in front of pure adoration from everyone involved.

There were kids on shoulders, and I lost count of the amount of people singing with arms out and eyes closed. She clearly means a lot to a lot of people. This was her last show of the summer after 31 festivals! Which is a mad amount of shows, so no wonder the band were tight and the dancers moving in complete unison doing the haka in hotpants whilst Rebecca hit a drum and screamed her heart out.

Self Esteem: ‘I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have said she is a must-see live’ (Credit:Giulia Spadafora)Self Esteem: ‘I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have said she is a must-see live’ (Credit:Giulia Spadafora)
Self Esteem: ‘I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have said she is a must-see live’ (Credit:Giulia Spadafora) | Self Esteem: ‘I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have said she is a must-see live’

“Can I interest you in popping off with me?” she asked I think the crowd had already popped off! As she launched into crowd pleaser “You Forever” which I’d had in my head this morning from the moment I woke up.

This felt like a headline set, it seems like it won’t be long before she a headliner surely. Fingers crossed for her at the Mercury prize too.

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It felt amazing to know Kae Tempest was up next. Going from one inspiring performer to another. Kae Tempest were on form. When are they not? Their intense delivery oozing metaphors like its easy. Being slightly selfish and unreasonable at festival I wanted complete silence so everyone could appreciate them. High fives and loud laughter felt a bit odd during such intense songs!

The showstopper and closer “People’s Faces” had several people around me (and me) in tears. Festivals can be a rollercoaster of emotions sometimes, in a positive way.

Sleaford Mods - ‘I was surrounded by people moshing and the first crowd surfing I had seen all weekend’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)Sleaford Mods - ‘I was surrounded by people moshing and the first crowd surfing I had seen all weekend’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)
Sleaford Mods - ‘I was surrounded by people moshing and the first crowd surfing I had seen all weekend’ (Credit: Giulia Spadafora) | Giulia Spadafora

The next stop was Sleaford Mods where I went from tears to laughter, and I was surrounded by people moshing and the first crowd surfing I had seen all weekend. I was tempted. Not many bands end a song with a giant fart through the mic at the end of a song (“Mork ‘n’ Mindy”) and also an unintentional mic drop to close the set.

The Sleaford fans I spoke to during the set were all enthralled and smiling away with it.

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Roisin Murphy was next. Opening for me with “Incapable” soothing and grooving. This was another set that felt like I’d seen a headliner. It seems that Murphy’s law is to change costumes during and after every song whilst still dancing and singing.

The best costume for me was the one which made her look like a giant lobster. She cleary channels all her creativity and craziness into her live performance. Her voice was perfection even with all the spinning around.

The light show during the Chemical Brothers performance (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)The light show during the Chemical Brothers performance (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)
The light show during the Chemical Brothers performance (Credit: Giulia Spadafora) | The light show during the Chemical Brothers performance (Credit: Giulia Spadafora)

I quickly darted over to caribou for some Ambient Glory and a little dance in time for them to play my favourite song “Can’t do without you” then it was time for Chemical Brothers.

I think I was the only person there who hadn’t seen them before. Everyone filtered over. This was their 31st show this summer and the stage show and back drop was something to remember. I started the show close up to be with the hardcore fans and jumped around before retreating back. This meant I could take in the dazzling stage show.

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The moment I did this two giant red and blue robots appeared from nowhere to huge cheers and yelps! The light show was incredible I now feel a bit silly not having seen them before. Their list of great tunes is endless, and they played them all - ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’, ‘Go’, ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’ and even New Order’s ‘Temptation’ to throw in the mix.

The encore was set up in lights saying ‘HOLD TIGHT BRISTOL’ before ‘Galvanize’ blew Bristol away. Goodbye and Good times.

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