Deer Shed Festival 2023, Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire, UK, July 28-31, 2023 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, May 24th, 2024  

Public Service Broadcasting

Public Service Broadcasting, Pale Blue Eyes, W.H. Lung, DITZ, Panic Shack

Deer Shed Festival 2023, Baldersby Park, North Yorkshire, UK, July 28-31, 2023,

Aug 02, 2023 Photography by Adam Houghton Web Exclusive
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Having fallen in love with Deer Shed Festival last year it was inevitable that Under the Radar would return for its 2023 edition. In fact, we were chomping at the bit in anticipation for an event that defines itself as “A wonderland of creativity” and it’s probably fair to say no one came away disappointed. Situated in the picturesque surroundings of Baldersby Park just outside the village of Topcliffe which also plays host to Queen Mary’s school, this weekend the home of artist liaison.

What sets Deer Shed apart from so many of its peers and contemporaries aside from its ethos are the way in which it prides itself on creating an overall customer experience. While the musical, comedy and theatre programs are all first class, Deer Shed has so much more to offer than just watching bands and artists in a field. There’s a whole area devoted to crafts and science with activities ranging from den making, rock painting and various toy crafting workshops to synth making, retro gaming or the genius or infamous (*delete as appropriate) Feral Farm, where kids spent hours rolling around on or building with bales of straw in an enclosed area. Add the supervised tree climbing, wand making, wild swimming and sports field that hosts a wrestling workshop, BMX and skateboard ramps, cricket and pretty much every grass sport imaginable and you have a festival unlike any other.

The Utopia Strong
The Utopia Strong

With all food and drinks locally produced and supplied by a range of independent vendors at (mostly) reasonable prices and arguably the most polite, helpful and altogether friendliest team of staff and volunteers we’ve ever encountered - from security to bar staff, the medical team and beyond, you have to wonder why can’t every festival operate like this? Because the vibe immediately transcends onto its clientele creating a safe environment that should become the benchmark for all festivals in the future.

Public Service Broadcasting
Public Service Broadcasting

Nevertheless, Under the Radar are here primarily for the music and Friday starts with a bang thanks to Wakefield’s finest exponents of melancholic, lo-fi indiepop, Mi Mye. Fronted by the dual vocal dynamics of Jamie Lockhart and Emily Ingham, Mi Mye provide the perfect introduction to the weekend’s festivities that even sees the sun make its first appearance of the weekend during their set. Meanwhile, Brighton five-piece DITZ announce their arrival on the In The Dock Stage in traditionally raucous fashion. Arguably one of the most exciting live bands in the UK right now, DITZ play a set heavily weighted towards last year’s excellent debut The Great Regression (which vocalist Cal Francis announces several times is available again on vinyl!) with early single “Seeking Arrangement” and a new song entitled “Siniestro” added for good measure. One of the most captivating frontpeople around, Francis is a lively bundle of enthusiasm and excitement that is equally at home singing among the audience as they are from the stage, even scaling one of the big tent’s pylons at one point. By the time regular set closer “No Thanks, I’m Full” brings their show to a grand finale, there can be no doubt DITZ have left a lasting impression on Deer Shed.

DITZ
DITZ
DITZ
DITZ

Back over on the Main Stage, W.H. Lung also live up to their growing reputation as one of the UK’s finest exports. With a US tour coming up in September and October it promises to be a busy few months for the five-piece. Playing eight songs this evening that included three each from 2019’s debut Incidental Music and its 2021 released follow-up Vanities along with two brand new songs (listed as “Will Set Fire” and “High Pressure”), W.H. Lung’s music is an insatiable collage of psychedelic pop, funk and post-punk that elicits a bout of freaky dance moves both on and off stage. Frontman Joe Evans cuts an excitable figure, as “Showstopper” gives way to an elongated “Inspiration!” at the end.

W.H. Lung
W.H. Lung
W.H. Lung
W.H. Lung

The improvised jazz of London-based collective Steam Down leads admirably into an epic performance from The Utopia Strong on The Lodge stage. The trio - Kavus Torabi, Steve Davis and Michael J. York - are a colossal live experience. Musically there’s elements of prog, psych and ambient in their make-up - or Gong meets The Orb as one onlooker near the front of the stage describes them mid-set. Although the show only lasts forty-five minutes, it makes for a truly mesmerising experience and one that ends Friday’s music spectacle on a high.

The Utopia Strong
The Utopia Strong

Saturday starts before midday with Rozi Plain’s soothing performance on the Main Stage, before Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan‘s unmistakeable brand of electronica brings the In The Dock stage to life. Playing a set of mostly new material but without the aid of his usual visual accompaniment, Gordon Chapman-Fox (aka W-RNTDP) bares all the hallmarks of a one-man Kraftwerk. There’s also elements of Jean-Michel Jarre in his sonic palette and with a new EP (Building A New Town) out later this month, we suspect this won’t be the last you’ll be hearing of him any time soon.

Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan
Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan

Cardiff five-piece Panic Shack have amassed a reputation as one of the “must-see” bands on the festival circuit over the past eighteen months, and its easy to see why from the moment they walk on stage. Apologising for being sober and playing any songs that might contain swearing, Panic Shack immediately endear themselves to everyone that’s made the effort to come out early and watch them. Songs like “Baby”, “Jiu Jits You” and “The Ick” have become festival standards over the course of the summer, while “Mannequin Man” and “Who Stole My Lighter?” prove genuine contenders to get any party started.

Panic Shack
Panic Shack
Panic Shack
Panic Shack

Pale Blue Eyes have also emerged as one of the finest live bands on the planet in recent months, and their infectious blend of motorik-driven psych rock, chamber pop and shoegaze makes for an exciting forty-five minutes In The Dock. Their ten songs set showcases both last year’s debut Souvenirs and September’s eagerly anticipated follow-up This House, which is already being touted as one of the albums of 2023. Even drummer Lucy Board’s parents are present on the front barrier, getting their groove on with the rest of the packed tent. As songs like “Globe” and “TV Flicker” segue wonderfully into recent single “More” and early 45 “Motionless”, before an elegiac run through “Chelsea” gives way to regular set closer “Dr Pong” for a fanfare-like finale.

Pale Blue Eyes
Pale Blue Eyes

Dublin four-piece Sprints also create an incendiary racket that leads to a one-in, one-out scenario at the In The Dock stage. Musically reminiscent of DIY bands past and present such as Martha, Comet Gain and Huggy Bear, they also house a formidable presence in the shape of frontperson Karla Chubb, whose energy rubs off on those of us fortunate to get inside the tent as the first moshpit of the weekend breaks out down the front.

Pale Blue Eyes
Pale Blue Eyes

Public Service Broadcasting are one of those bands whose whole ethos runs in parallel with that of Deer Shed, so it’s quite fitting that they’ve been chosen to headline the precocious Saturday night slot on the main stage. Their set doesn’t disappoint either, watched by a huge crowd who’ve come to hear “the hits” and more. Complete with visuals and spoken word samples that turn the likes of “Sputnik”, “Spitfire”, “Go” and “Gagarin” into euphoric anthems for the weekend.

Public Service Broadcasting
Public Service Broadcasting
Public Service Broadcasting
Public Service Broadcasting

Sunday is the calm before the storm, literally. Nevertheless, Nottingham’s Divorce ably demonstrate why they’re one of the most hotly tipped bands in the country right now, while the delectable sounds of Gwenno ease us into Sunday teatime complete with her Cornish eulogy to cheese, “Eus Keus”, which is rapturously received by all and sundry.

Divorce
Divorce
Gwenno
Gwenno

The first rain of the weekend threatens to dampen spirits (yet doesn’t) while a medical emergency curtailed Under the Radar’s Sunday musical excursion earlier than scheduled but one thing’s for certain. Deer Shed is fast becoming our favourite UK festival and we believe it could be yours too. So, here’s to seeing you same time, same place next year.

The Mary Wallopers
The Mary Wallopers
Panic Shack
Panic Shack
The Big Moon
The Big Moon
DITZ
DITZ
Divorce
Divorce
W.H. Lung
W.H. Lung
The Mary Wallopers
The Mary Wallopers
The Big Moon
The Big Moon
Pale Blue Eyes
Pale Blue Eyes
The Utopia Strong
The Utopia Strong
W.H. Lung
W.H. Lung




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