Review: Hit The Deck Festival 20th April 2014 – Part One.

As weekend summer festivals in the UK become less attainable (a three-day extravaganza is likely to set you back in excess of £200), and the weather continues to be woefully disappointing throughout the summer months, indoor day festivals are becoming one of the best alternatives to catch some of your favourite acts in an affordable and (mostly) dry setting.

Over the past few years Hit the Deck Festival have done a phenomenal job of securing themselves as one of the premier indoor day festivals in the UK with dates in both Bristol and Nottingham with an impressive 40 or so acts performing throughout the day – ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Upon arrival we head straight on up to the main hall of Rock City to catch Aberdeen rockers The Xcerts (★★★★★). Never known for being very chatty they pack their thirty minute slot with as many songs as they can muster. Kicking off with Cool Ethan and Scatterbrains they easily pull the crowd to the floor from their resting spots across the back third of the room and the bar area. A few new tracks make it into the set that show an interesting upbeat change in direction for the trio on their upcoming third album and we look forward to hearing more. They round off their set with Slackerpop and a healthy dose of ‘woo-oohhs’ bowing out with solid applause from an initially indifferent crowd. Not bad for the second main stage act of the day.

Next up was Hawthorne Heights (★★★★) who had earlier announced that to celebrate the ten year anniversary of debut album The Silence in Black and White they’d be playing it in full. Eager for a trip down memory lane fans began filling the main hall 30 minutes early and only got more enthusiastic when the Ohio quintet hit the stage. With minimal introductions they throw themselves into their packed 45 min set with hits including Niki FM and Silver Bullet. Closing the set with Ohio Is For Lovers frontman JT jumps down to the barricade to get up and close with the crowd who love every moment of it.

Arizona natives The Summer Set (★★) burst onto the main stage with straight into Rescue, followed by the catchy Chelsea. Unfortunately though this crowd is looking for more than just a good hook and not even introducing a song with ‘this one is about sex’ manages to completely hold the their attention. While the crowd was enthusiastic it was sparse, and while frontman Brian Dales gave it his all (the cheesy dance moves were a bit much though), perhaps they’re a band who feed on the energy of their audience, or perhaps they just weren’t worthy of a late afternoon slot on the main stage…

Descending the stairs of The Forum mid-afternoon it feels like we’ve been transported back to 2004. Patent Pending (★★★) are mid-set and doing an exceptional cover of Andrew W.K.s anthemic Party Hard. The enthusiastic and slightly clammy crowd are loving everything they have to offer from Hey Mario – a song full of Super Mario Brothers soundbites – all the way through to synchronised dance routine to Douchebag. A perfect early 2000s pop-punk treat.

Read part two!

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