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Sound Check - Umbria Rock Festival ft. Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs, Charlatans & Peter Hook

Sound Check - Umbria Rock Festival ft. Paul Weller, Kaiser Chiefs, Charlatans & Peter Hook
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Amy Gravelle (@AmyGravelle) checks out a host of acts about to tour, in a special from the first ever Umbria Rock Festival, here’s her recent highlights who will be playing a UK or Ireland venue near you soon.

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Umbria might be better known for its landscapes and jazz than rock’n’roll, but multi-millionaire-cum festival organiser, former Lehman Brothers director Yashant Bajaj made it very clear that all was going to change this summer. Staging the first ever Umbria Rock Festival earlier this month (1-3 August), a Brit-heavy line-up with a twist descended on the heart of Italy, as the likes of James, BMX Bandits and The Cribs took to the stage at the event’s picturesque site. I headed out to the rather rural location to check out some of the acts about to hit the road in the UK this autumn. A couple of bands dropped out after a few logistical hiccups, but those who made it helped make the weekend a hit with both the locals and those travelling in from further afield, all of which suggested Umbria Rocks should earn a regular slot on the European festival calendar.

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After Basement Jaxx’s last minute cancellation, Peter Hook & The Light were bumped-up to headline the Friday (1 August). With the bassist’s combined legacies residing with Joy Division and New Order there were always going to be looming comparisons to his past glories, but let’s get this straight: Peter Hook & The Light sound nothing like either. Pulling power stances similar to what you’d expect from Jack Black in The School Of Rock, Hooky has perfected the art of the ‘dad rock’ cliché. Their festival set suggests they won’t gain too many new fans, but with waves of electro melodica resonating with the older loyalists in the audience, the bassist and his band offer an enjoyable burst of nostalgia to those who want to relive the past every now and then.

On tour: Londnon O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (27 September), Bestival (4 September), Pool Heartlands (13 September), Manchester The Ritz (25 September)

Saturday night (2 August) was obviously a date set firmly in the locals’ diaries – Umbria is a focal point for Italy’s strong mod scene – and the biggest crowd of the weekend turned-up to witness Paul Weller and The Charlatans. With a stunning sunset for a backdrop, Tim Burgess and co opened their set with Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over before whizzing through a firestorm playlist of Buzzcock-esque guitars and powerful choruses. And The Charlatans’ frontman even managed to steal the show, joining Paul Weller onstage for A Town Called Malice during the Modfather’s encore, thus providing Umbria Rocks with its first piece of festival folklore.

On tour: Tim Burgess supports Grumbling Fur at Corsica Studios (12 August), The Charlatans play Dublin Leopardstown Racecourse (14 August)

Used to larger venues Ricky Wilson opened his band’s set on Sunday night (3 August) declaring: “Intimate means you’re just going to have to scream a lot louder!” and that was the exact result as Kaiser Chiefs helped to round off the festival with a set filled with upbeat sing-a-longs. With tracks such as Oh My God, Ruby and Never Miss A Beat inspiring full audience participation from start to finish, the singer also later took time to surprise bandmate Vijay Mistry with a birthday cake. The crowd cottoned on quickly and sang him Happy Birthday in Italian, before Wilson surprised everyone and launched the cake into the unsuspecting drummer’s face for full comic effect. With the frontman running then through the crowd and climbing up the sound tower scaffolding during I Predict A Riot, the band proved that whatever your opinion may be of them on record, the Kaiser Chiefs always deliver one heck of a show.

On tour: V Festival (16-17 August), London Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (14 September), London O2 Arena (13 February 2015) Leeds 02 Arena (14 February 2015)


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