All music styles served at Over The Hill festival's celebration of local and international artists
Over The Hill festival Rejerrah, near Newquay
Review by Gareth Bartlett
"LOCAL bands for local people," proclaimed the huge banner above the main stage.
Yes, it's true – none of your sell-out, mainstream nonsense here.
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You go along to something like Over The Hill either being a fan of a band that's playing and knowing some of their songs, or you prepare yourself for a taster session of the incredible variety that our small county has to offer. The closest you get to a bit of Nicki Minaj here is a stripped-down acoustic cover version by some up-and-coming youngster.
What you don't expect though is to fall in love with an act you've never heard before and hope they get signed quickly, just so you don't have to wait too long to hear more of their original work.
That's what happened at my Over The Hill experience.
Over the course of three days there was much to take in – more than 60 bands playing everything from ukulele pop and Stratocaster blues to Cornish Casio rap, filthy beats and balls-out rock.
And while many at the festival were already worshippers at Kezia's church of beautiful composition, I was yet to become a convert. Yes, I'd heard whispers about what a phenomenal young talent she is, from many different sources, but never quite expected the hype to match the ability.
Although impressive from start to finish, it was a new song of hers that was so good I could've sworn it must have been a cover that blew me away. It could – and should – be a huge hit while maintaining artistic integrity. She sings great stories with memorable melodies, accompanying herself on guitar or piano and left me, like most of the audience, spellbound.
But of course there was much more to take in – and while there's not enough room here to review them all, here's a few mentions for those that stood out for all sorts of reasons:
Hedluv & Passman need little introduction on these pages, but their comedy rap routine early on Friday afternoon made putting up our ridiculous tent all the less stressful, and Veller Lia stood out not just for their fun folk-rock musical offerings, but also for being the only band (we think) to have a horned-helmet-playing tambourine player.
Sound of the Sirens and Lily & Meg both impressed with their beautiful harmonies and acoustic instruments, while we were shocked after hearing how good Ten Zero One sounded to see how young the rockers were.
Even Nine took the festival through its transition from day to night, using their anthemic rock tunes to bring the crowd out and set them in the mood for the evening's festivities.
Irish folk punk rockers Black Friday were the perfect follow-up, with their high-energy tunes typifying a festival spirit that was rounded off by My Preserva. Ultra-tight, they brought the attitude and took the night into its live band finale in style. Sure, they had a few gimmicks – throwing out tees, balloons and CDs, but seemed like festival pros.
We were a bit surprised the next morning to be sat in the sun listening to Frank Zappa's Broken Hearts over the PA at a festival where there was plenty of families with small children, but no one seemed to mind.
After a children's magic show, the music kicked off and it seemed a bit more hit and miss than the first day's talent.
The Emerald Dawn were three people who didn't look like they should be sharing the stage together – and their songs sounded like they weren't on the same stage either. Solid drumming and some fantastic rock guitar licks but I'm not sure how many actual songs they had.
Meanwhile, we'd take a good bet the Arctic Monkeys are among the primary influences of Forever 27. A good rhythm section was accompanied by continuous punky chord strumming, but the highlight of their set was when the female bass player took over lead vocals for a couple of songs, transforming them into a band in a different league.
The Raise brought the afternoon's rock riffs and beat-boxer Reefus was a huge hit on the main stage.
The evening was a battle of the giants, and it seems the consensus was Land Of The Giants just about edged the headliners by fusing funk, rock and ska, among other genres.
It all felt a bit Britain's Got Talent on Sunday morning when The Mix took to the side stage, with what appeared to be two talented young sisters (11 and 13, we're told) combining stunning acoustic guitar/vocals with dance.
Moonlet and The Lovemonks were among our favourite new discoveries. A bit Barenaked Ladies at times, they kept things upbeat with a singer that seemed to have just knocked back plenty of caffeine; they were very strong, winning the crowd over with song after song of surprising structures and interesting dynamics.
His version of Need Your Love So Bad may have been "self indulgent" according to Albert Jones, but the crowd loved it. So much, in fact, that they shouted and whistled for more and threatened to throw the running order out, such was their vocal demand when the band eventually ran out of time.
The People's String Foundation combined classical music elements with pop melodies to offer something really unique before making way for Wille and the Bandits to close the festival.
There was so much to take in, that you'd have to have a very specific type of musical passion to not find something you love here.