Fylde coast's up and coming musical talent sets the stage for the Lytham Festival

Blackpool cinematic indy rock band Blanket on stage at the Lowther Pavilion for the BBC Music Introducing concert for Lytham Festival
Blackpool cinematic indy rock band Blanket on stage at the Lowther Pavilion for the BBC Music Introducing concert for Lytham Festival
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Lytham Festival got of to a soaring start with a showcase of five music acts showing the breadth of young talent in the county.

The Lowther Pavilion had the honour of hosting the first night of the 2019 festival with a BBC Music Introducing gig hosted by Radio Lancashire's Sean McGinty designed to shine the spotlight on new up and coming musicians.

Young Blackpool band Jekyll at the BBC Music Introducing concert

Young Blackpool band Jekyll at the BBC Music Introducing concert

First to take to the stage was 15-year-old Emily Rhodes. Despite her lack of years, the Kirkham singer is a seasoned performer with a surprisingly mature voice and a great choice of guitar chords to frame her self-penned songs.

Excuses Excuses was followed by the immediately catchy Weirdos and Always, before Get Out of My Way, a song produced by the guys from Blanket and aired by Sean McGinty on his two hour weekend show. Emily's pop sensibility tinged with shades of folk and country was also perfect for her last song, a cover of Jade Bird's Going Gone in tribute to the UK singer who is feeling poorly and unable to play the festival on Lytham Green as a support for Stereophonics.

Next on stage were Blackpool indie rockers Nana White Pepper. With a no-nonsense brand of raucous rock they were at the other end of the sonic scale to the previous act, a theme of contrasts for the night which worked brilliantly.

Five songs featuring muscular drums and chords, twin axe riffing and a natty line in floral pants, saw the Nanas whip up the audience. Highlights were Live or Die, Untouchable and Come Alive with its sing-along Na Na Na chorus and exuberant drumming.

Preston, singer Pip Hall

Preston, singer Pip Hall

Lively with shades of White Stripes and Royal Blood, they bossed the stage for their five song set.

Taking the noise levels down again was Preston's Pip Hall with her beautifully crafted country-tinged dark pop.

Accompanied by her acoustic guitar, her beguiling, soaring vocals tell bittersweet takes of love, loss and growing up. My Eden stood out along with a new song, which has yet to find a name, but featured suitably melancholy finger-picking. The US influence is plain but the craft and lyrical strength of the songs is very much home grown.

The noise levels went up again as Blackpool indie band Jekyll took their turn. This band are on the up with their new single played on Radio One this weekend gone, they are being compared to Radiohead and although such a comparison to global superstars would do no young band any favours, they do have an intelligence and innovative attitude to their songwriting like Thom Yorke's boys.

Raucous indy rockers Nana White Pepper, from Blackpool

Raucous indy rockers Nana White Pepper, from Blackpool

Powerfully dynamic with plenty of moments of light and dark, So Wrong and Plan A, are classic indy rock while Echoes is reminiscent of Killers or Kasabian.

The band can really rip it up with throbbing Rickenbaker bass lines, thundering drums and Muse-like vocals. The showed their true potential with Mania with its descending chord sequence and harmonies rising to a falsetto pay-off. This was followed by a blitz of a rock-out ending amid a storm of feedback.

The mood changed once more for the headline act. Blanket are something that bit different on the music scene at the moment.

Mostly instrumental, they paint epic soundscapes with a wash of subtle guitar tones, a style which some expecting pure indy thrash may find unusual. If you like Sigur Ros, The Cocteau Twins guitar sounds backed up with meaty drums in an anthemic swirling mix, then this is the band for you.

Emily Rhodes from Kirkham on stage at the Lowther Pavilion

Emily Rhodes from Kirkham on stage at the Lowther Pavilion

The four piece came on to the delicate piano intro to How to Let Go which then opens out into a shimmer of guitars drenched in echo.

The Blackpool lads played most of the album of the same name, with stand out tracks Let the Sleepers Awake and the stunning Turn Ourselves to Stone complete with a back projection of a slow motion drive through their home town.

Sky Full of Ghosts should be the soundtrack to some art house movie, with its cinematic sweeps of sound and soaring vocal lines and in their finale Bobby Pook, Simon Morgan, Steven Pellatt and Matthew Sheldon, showed why many people are tipping them for greater things and why they will not be out of place at the Bluedot Festival in the shadow of the Jodrell Bank Telescope on July 19.