REVIEW: Brian Wilson brings some good vibrations to East Sussex event

Returning for a second year, Brighton's Together The People took pride of place in Preston Park for another weekend of music-based thrills aimed at all of the family. With a capacity of 5,000 and an impressive line-up packed to the brim with show stopping headliners and exciting up and coming talent, the weather may have been gloomy but that didn't stop the party.

Brian Wilson at Together the People. Photo by Jamie Macmillan.
Brian Wilson at Together the People. Photo by Jamie Macmillan.

Home-grown talent Voodoo and the Crypts kicked off proceedings on the BIMM stage with their catchy hooks, shimmering guitar lines and blissed out rhythms. By the time they were finished with their half-an-hour long set, the crowd were warmed up nicely and started to swell gradually.

Penelope Isles drew in a demographic of all ages on the same stage and cast a spell upon the audience with their bewitching tracks. Their set reached an elated high with a rendition of latest track ‘Gnarbone’ which brought bouncing galore to the tent.

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Over on the Concorde 2 New Bands Stage were everyone’s favourite local five-piece Fickle Friends, who appeared entirely in their element as frontwoman Natti Shiner danced around the stage. The band reel through the hits and incite sing-alongs and heckles of adoration in a setting that enables them to shine brighter than ever before. Their latest single ‘Cry Baby’ is the high point in a set full of highs and proves they are made to tread stages 10 times the size of the one they took to at Together The People.

Rendering the rain a swirling irrelevance, Brian Wilson, along with his 12-strong band, brought iconic charm to the main stage. The most anticipated act of the weekend by a mile, Wilson mixed cuts from the celebrated ‘Pet Sounds’ with earlier Beach Boys material, creating a kaleidoscopic exhibition of what has been a momentous career.

The ground-breaking nature of ‘Pet Sounds’ has been appraised and revalued for two generations, and the crowd – mainly comprised of euphoric adults and a smattering of children – sensed the presence of a musical legend on stage. Wilson’s personal battles have been well documented, yet his modest affability shone, and his aged voice added an extra shade of nuance; the timeless ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and ‘God Only Knows’ sealing a stellar set.

Sunday saw a set from young local band, Beachtape. The band are stylistically similar to The Magic Gang and their set was packed with recognisable numbers and quasi-shoegaze vibes. One look at the swarm of bodies present for their set is all it takes to indicate how well they were received.

MarthaGunn’s early evening set on the Concorde 2 New Bands Stage was potentially the highlight of the weekend. The band appeared more polished and locked together than ever in what they declared to be their first festival performance. Their golden moment came in the form of new track ‘Honey, Let Me Know’ an affecting number which receives rapturous applause and the promise of a bright future ahead for MarthaGunn.

BIMM band The Island Club make one hell of a racket and come across as a fistful of youthful energy live. They reek of a band with a point to prove and a real sense of euphoria filled the tent for the entirety of their set. Latest hit ‘Let Go’ is a live set staple that is night on impossible to not sing along to and the crowd ate it up.

Indie rockers The Horrors balanced their set on the main stage between old fan favourites and newer cuts. The four-piece’s flawless performance offered a complementary lead up to the main act on everyone’s agenda, 80s Britpop legends Suede.

Suede’s thunderous performance was a fitting end to a brilliant weekend of music; hit after hit was executed to perfection, whilst frontman Brett Anderson’s innate charisma ensured Suede are still more than relevant.

Review by Lauren Wade.

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