Pylons

Picture the tumultuous nature of trying to keep up with it all, seeing the future speeding away as you wonder why you are are still in the rear view mirror. The 21st century zeitgeist is a stern courtesan that capital dwellers The Pylons know all to well. Encapsulating the never ending spinning-wheel of modern day life, the free-spirited quintet have returned to the fore with their zealous and ever-consuming new instalment. ‘The Chase’ draws from a compendium of indie-rock facets, blissfuly unafraid to chew the meat and spit out the bones.

This overstuffed slice of introspection is the first in a trinity of singles to grace the airwaves before the release of their debut EP ‘Thanks For Coming’ in the autumn. With a refreshingly laissez-faire attitude and an arena-grade sound, The Pylons have addressed an enthralling memorandum to the unsung.

“Pylons have a squeaky clean sound you can tell has been perfected with time” – Fresh on the Net
“One of the best things I’ve heard today, this is SO good!” – Sarah Gosling – Clash Magazine

When it comes to sonics, The Pylons are millennial maximalists. They say you can’t have your cake and eat it, but it seems the London-based quintet have unapologetically misheard. Mondegreen’s aside, their matryoshka doll of influences boils alternative indie down into its salient essentials, fusing the psychedelia of Tame Impala with Arcade Fire’s punchy pop-tinged anthology. It’s gloriously garish at times, gorging on a polished smorgasbord of splashy distortion, and vibrant synth-work.

Garnering attention from the likes of BBC Radio 1, RADIO 6, these five multifaceted free-thinkers are unafraid to throw caution to the wind as they seek to frame the capricious nature of reality through rose-tinted eyes.

Olivia Dean

In the grips of a worldwide pandemic, it’s important to find your own sunshine. Whether that’s adopting new self-care hobbies or getting creative with working from home, we’re all growing and adapting, finding new ways to keep positivity alive. For Olivia Dean, a summer without live music wasn’t an option.

Making good on the community spirit of early lockdown and her empowered, do-it-yourself upbringing, the rising East London star teamed up with Clarks to present The ‘From Me To You’ Tour – a self-contained, open-fronted yellow truck that allowed her to share her soulful voice with fans right across the coast. “This was meant to be my first summer of playing festivals, and I just didn’t want to accept that it wasn’t going to happen,” she explains. “I spent the first three months of lockdown alone and it was hard. I threw myself into being creative; what could I do that would make me happy, but hopefully make others happy too?”. Since, she’s amassed over 8 million streams on Spotify alone.

An emotional and confessional songwriter, her journey to music started at a very young age, the result of parents who encouraged her natural talents before she even recognised them herself. “I got a guitar and then a second-hand piano for my sixteenth birthday, but at school, I definitely felt like the odd one out, that kid who just wants to perform and sing in all the assemblies. I realised I needed a change of scene, and my Mum was like, ‘what about the Brit school?’”

Though she didn’t think much of her chances, that Brit application ended up changing Olivia’s life. At her final college performance, she also met her now-manager – a woman who was so impressed by Dean’s voice that she invited her to audition for another client – Rudimental. “I went straight from college to touring with them,” Olivia beams. “I was in New York for the Jimmy Fallon show, festivals all over…and I was so young! I’m 21 now, and all that was three years ago? It’s just mental. Obviously, it was an amazing opportunity, but I didn’t want to be a backing singer forever. I think I probably get it from my mum – I just knew what I wanted to do and the kind of music I wanted to make. She’s always instilled that in me – you can do absolutely anything you put your mind to.” It’s no surprise to hear that Olivia’s mum, Christine Dean, is an inspiration force – as head of the Women’s Equality Party, her leadership strength can be heard in Olivia’s songs, vulnerable and gentle but always carrying a strong thread of female independence. “Now I’ve just got out of this big relationship, I’ve really realised that you don’t need someone else to complete you,’ she explains.

Knowing her worth and singing about it too, the soft jazz of new single ‘Echo’ could well be about a boy, but it also applies to a host of situations in life where we look to those around us for emotional reassurance and equitable support, particularly during tough times. Although not explicitly linked, it’s a fitting soundtrack as Dean explores the relationship she has with herself and the world, thrown into sharp relief under 2020’s heightened conversation surrounding Black Lives Matter. “To be honest, when George Floyd’s death happened, it was some of the worst few weeks of my life,” she reflects. “It was so, so heavy, being in my flat by myself and trying to process it, but it’s something I want to speak about because it’s part of who I am. Being mixed race and growing up in East London, I’ve definitely struggled with my identity – I used to straighten my hair every single day until about a year and a half ago because I genuinely didn’t think I could be pretty without. How sad is that? Now, it’s so important for me that I keep my hair how it is. I want people to see that. If I have young black or mixed-race fans, I just want to be like your hair is cute, it’s not a problem! Being mixed-race can be confusing – at times it feels like the world is on two sides and it’s difficult to know where you fit. But it’s a very present conversation that everybody needs to be a part of, and with that on top of the virus, I’m just constantly trying to bring as much positivity to the table as I can.”

Sad Boys Club

London’s Sad Boys Club have released new EP, Echoes In A Shallow Bay.

Echoes In A Shallow Bay is a groundbreaking release from the four piece, ushering in a new era and taking the band’s emotive sound to darker territories more indicative of their early emo and rock influences.

The EP features the singles ’25’, ‘Could Have Beens & What Ifs’, ‘Can’t Help Myself’ and glorious new cut ‘What Is It Like To Be A Bat?’ a series of tracks that helped define this new journey for one of the capital’s most creatively defiant outfits of the moment.

Packed full of urgent vocals, painfully relatable lyrical craft and soaring instrumentation, each track showcases the band’s remarkable creative approach, and an adept ability to showcase the relatable anxieties and chaos of living in London in your twenties as you further define your identity through culture, religion and inevitably failed relationships. 

Bringing fans old and new into the fold in the build up to release Echoes In A Shallow Bay is a remakable statement of intent from Sad Boys Club, and the sign of further huge things to come.

Echoes In A Shallow Bay is out now, listen here:

The Activators

The Activators are an 11-piece band whose eclectic style transcends Ska, Reggae, Celtic, Punk and Dub, even venturing into Balkan folk and Tango! The Activators have received acclaim for their sensational and chaotic live shows. Their songs have a political edge and depth, yet maintain an immediacy that makes them irresistible to live audiences.

Their energy, style and liking for utter mayhem has led to them becoming regulars on the festival circuit in the UK and in Europe. The band has headlined the Avalon Café Stage at The Glastonbury Festival, China Town CourtYard at Boomtown, graced Guilfest main stage and the Isle of Wight festival amongst others. 

They have raised the roof at venues across Europe from Paris to Bologna to Reykjavik, and across the UK, sharing the stage with many great acts from Jimmy Cliff to The Beat, Fat Boy Slim to The Damned, and The Selecter to Fraebbblarnir (Iceland’s finest!) to name but a few.

One thing is for sure, when The Activators walk on to any stage, things start to get…..interesting! Music Beyond Boundaries – check it out!!

Vocals: Nathan Berger
Guitar: Chris Moon
Guitar: Josh Lord
Bass: Harry Poxon
Keyboards: Derby John
Drums: Nigel Lobley
Trumpet: David Gibbons
Trumpet: Steve Gibbons
Sax: Jane Hancock
Violin: Rob Rosa
Percussion: Pablo Cook

Rebekah Fitch

Rebekah Fitch is a new Irish alternative-pop artist, combining a love of melody with thought-provoking poetry; powerful vocals with vulnerability; and forward thinking production with enigmatic visuals. The power of music is in its ability to carry a message, and this is exactly what Rebekah does.  

With influences ranging from Florence and the Machine and Daughter, to Kanye West and Childish Gambino, she was hotly tipped in Hot Press and The Thin Air’s 2019 Watch Lists, even before she sold out Belfast’s The MAC Theatre with a 350-seat headline show. 

Drawing from her fascination with experimental electronica, she produces unique sonic worlds around her fresh, memorable melodies. Her dynamic multi-instrumental live shows, complete with mesmerising live-looping, flute, and impressive vocal ability, have attracted serious attention and are now in constant demand. 

She has already amassed over 100,000 Spotify streams, has performed in the SSE Arena (and for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), and was one of five nominees for Best Emerging Act in the Northern Irish Music Prize. She has toured the UK and Ireland, performed live sessions for Sky One, BBC Two and  UTV, and gained early commercial success with playlisting on Cool FM, U105 and Dublin’s FM104 (as their Select Irish Artist). Her songs have made No. 6 in  Chordblossom’s Top NI Releases 2017-18-19, and No. 75 in The Thin Air’s Top Irish Releases of 2019. With two critically acclaimed EPs already under her belt, 2020 promises the release of new music.

Who’s Misty?

Who’s Misty? are a female fronted, Lincoln based Indie-Pop Band. We write upbeat songs with bright melodies and catchy lyrics, inspired by artists such as; The Wombats, Anteros and Wolf Alice. After forming in June 2019 we had less than a year to make our mark on the industry before COVID hit! We supported Mosaics for their sold out headline show at Liquor (Lincoln) as our debut gig. Closely followed by a crazy slot at Lincoln’s 2Q Festival kicking off the main stage at Home NightClub. We have written and released three singles, Supernova, Love Sick Blind and God Only Knows, and have been lucky enough to have had the support of our local BBC Introducing show with Hannah Fletcher, who has given us so many opportunities to be heard. From our first ever radio play/ interview to this slot at our first, LIVE summer festival, she has backed us from the start! We were recently shortlisted for BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge Competition with a live session of Supernova and a Indie-Pop cover of Taylor Swift’s Willow. We have also had the pleasure of working with some really creative directors and animators who have done an amazing job at capturing our sound visually through some unique music videos. Despite half our band’s life being in lockdown we are all pretty pleased with the opportunities and experiences we have had so far and can’t wait to get back out there! 

It means so much to us to finally be playing Beyond the Woods Festival, live, after playing for the BTW Live stream last summer and enjoying and supporting Joe and the festival from the beginning! 

Vigilantes

The story is simple. After a chance meeting by being the last 4 in a Mario Kart tournament, Vigilantes became friends. They quickly put down the pads, picked up their guitars and never looked back. In 2020, they were chosen to be part of the unique festival experience of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in isolation and on top of that, Mike Skinner a.k.a The Streets selected them to be one of his picks from the BBC Introducing uploader.

Championed by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens & Phil Taggart, Vigilantes are continuing the British tradition of taking American sounds and stuffing it with classic British tone. They do it so well that they have been placed on Radio 1’s Best Of BBC Introducing playlist and had repeat airtime on Amazing Radio & Radio X to boot. Noted by Fresh on the Net’s Tom Robinson as ‘On a mission’, Vigilantes are known as one of the hardest working live bands in the UK circuit by putting every fragment of energy into live performance. Due to this, Vigilantes have deservedly shared stages with the likes of Circa Waves, The Sherlocks & Fickle Friends.

“American influences with British hearts” Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1

“There’s good and there’s very good. This is very good”Phil Taggart, BBC Radio 1

“The power and tightness of the playing. Vigilantes will blow your socks off live” Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6, Fresh On The Net

“Powerful Indie rock!”Elise Cobain, Amazing Radio

“These are very exciting!” – Janice Long, BBC Radio Wales

Project Hilts

Project Hilts is an eight-piece Jazz & Grime Fusion band from London to Leeds. Their sets are energetic and danceable whilst displaying virtuosic musicianship and challenging songwriting. The band comprises of three vocalists, drums, percussion, two brass players and keys from a range of different backgrounds and disciplines who come together to marry Jazz Musicianship with styles and influences from early 00’s Grime, Latin, Soul and Hip Hop.

Since forming in early 2019 they’ve supported bands such as Submotion Orchestra, Tetes Des Pois and Too Many Zoos and have been hugely present in the Leeds Jazz scene, selling out their headline shows in May and December, as well as performing all over the UK in London, Sheffield and Liverpool.

Kings & Bears

Kings & Bears are a Lincolnshire rock trio who believe love and music have the power to change the world. Inspired by rock, funk, soul and reggae music, the band tread the line between classic bands of yore and new musical explorations; sometimes with great subtlety and at others with a complete unashamed hammer blow. They have built a reputation as a live band that needs to be seen, their live show being a celebration of music and joy, an attempt to hit you over the head with the love they want to project into the universe. 

Since the beginning Kings & Bears have not wanted to stand still, releasing a varied collection of singles and live album to date, receiving big support from BBC Introducing and airplay on the likes of Radio 1 and Radio 6. They have also built a committed fanbase, headlining a number of sell-out shows and festival stages and spreading their infectious energy across the country.

Kings & Bears are a band that invite you to share the love and dare you not to have a good time!

© Beyond The Woods Festival 2021