Drill Festival – a weekend of music, art and film curated by Wire and Brighton promoters One Inch Badge – succeeded in breaking the barricades of live performance, as promised. As the third Drill Festival to take place and the first in Brighton, the four-day event provided a dynamic, unpredictable and completely unique experience to all of those in attendance.
Wire, one of the most important and innovative genre defying bands, created Drill as a way of celebrating bands and artists of our generation who happen to challenge preconceptions of modern music and whose work they are influenced and captivated by.
Thursday certainly didn’t ease audiences into the proceedings, with Wire themselves headlining at the Sallis Benney Theatre, as well as bands such as The Wytches, Bad For Lazarus and These New Puritans playing. Renowned for their impulsive live performances, Wire delivered an astounding set of almost all new songs.
Keeping things highly contained, the art-punk quartet only managed to show their unpredictability towards the end of the 2-hour set. Accompanied onstage by The Pink Flag Guitar orchestra, a 20-piece collective of their fan club, they presented an extraordinary rendition of the last song.
As this was taking place, Brighton’s own The Wytches stormed through a much-hyped set at The Haunt whilst some festivalgoers were let down to find full capacity at Audio for These New Puritans.
Friday allowed for larger audiences and fuller venues. Highlights included a hypnotizing set from post-punk girl band Savages in one of Brighton’s best live venues, Concorde 2. Breaking all ideas of the female rock band, they brought intensity with superb instrumentation.
As well as this, other big names such as Blood Red Shoes and British Sea Power performed. Lively local’s The Physics House Band played a set, which resulted in a blood smothered drum kit and a band member in A&E.
Saturday saw an extended line up with music starting from midday and artist talks from the likes of Wire’s Edvard Graham Lewis, Swan’s Michael Gira and Claudio Simonetti of Goblin. As well as this, more electronic acts such as AK/DK and East India Youth saw a younger generation take to the venues of Brighton and pick up the pace of the festival.
With hangovers looming and heads heavy, Sunday afternoon was probably not the most appropriate time to have metal and post-rock band’s Sea Bastard and Zu take to the very small and cramped stage at the Prince Albert. However, queues descended nonetheless.
With an unfortunate cancellation from the highly anticipated Gold Panda, it was clear a lot of audience members at Swan’s didn’t quite know what they’d let themselves in for. Their disturbing two hour set consisted of twenty-minute build up’s and relentless mechanical repetition, along with the festival’s typically bizarre finale featuring Wire performing ‘Drill’.
Unlike any other festival, a dull December Drill managed to drag people out of the warmth and into a totally distinct and discordant collection of live performance. Although somewhat under-attended despite its promotion and interest, the variation of ages and music fans displayed appreciation for the festival ethos and its expected intentions. The efforts and consideration behind it also made for a completely inimitable festival experience.