Live Reviews

FESTIVAL REVIEW: Community Festival 2022

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Ebsworthy

After a few years away thanks to that big global event which you’ve definitely heard enough about, Community Festival returned to Finsbury Park this month. In one of the biggest and best weekends of live music which the park has ever been graced with, the show was nestled between Sam Fender’s huge Friday night headline show and George Ezra’s superbly summery Sunday show. Offering up the perfect dose of indie-rock in the glorious sunshine, we head down to Finsbury Park to get involved in the action!

Held across two stages, we started our packed day with an electro-indie pop burst from Just Wondering. The Dublin based trio took us on a journey to the beach with Beach Me and showcased their synthy sound with latest single idk, maybe. It was clear the band were loving their time on the stage, showcasing their friendship and oozing in energy making sure the early birds at the festival were suitably warmed up. As their set went on, it became harder to distinguish between tracks as these began to fade into each-other due to the similarities which in turned led to the crowd beginning to be more interest in what was going on around them rather than up on stage. 6/10

With their debut album Guitar Music set for release in September, there’s a real buzz around Courting at the moment and this buzz translated into a fiery live set which even saw a feature from Alfie Templeman and Just Wondering. Their Brit-pop, spoken-word sound made us want to grab our mates, shout in their faces and cause some chaos as we watched them cause carnage onstage whilst showcasing material from their debut EP Grand National. Treating the crowd to as they described “arguably the best song we’ve ever written” but one which was hard to play live, they made this look a breeze as vocalist Sean Murphy-O’Neill also managed to find the time to get up close and personal with the crowd and making Courting hard to forget. We even had an unexpected encore, it’s like they knew exactly what we wanted! 8/10

CRAWLERS are on a band who deserve everyone’s attention and they made sure they got it when performing on the Community main stage which just so happened to be their first festival main stage slot. Packing their set with tracks including energetic TikTok famous Come Over (Again), riff-filled Fuck Me (I Didn’t Know How To Say) and chaos-inducing Placebo which saw the band letting their hair down, with the crowd understanding the assignment dancing/jumping along despite the overwhelming heat. CRAWLERS touch upon consent and mental health wrapped up into a fun musical package. Shouting out all those who can’t drive but have their provisional (including us!), came with I Can’t Drive, we felt united by the music and couldn’t wait for our next CRAWLERS show. It felt like a really intimate show as vocalist Holly Minto reached out to the crowd throughout, checking in on them and even commending those with anxiety who made the show today prior to Hush. At the start of their set vocalist Minto said “we’re gonna be besties by the end of the set” and we truly were left wanting to be besties with one of the fiercest bands on the scene right now. 9/10

Bears In Trees are fun, pure sugary indie-pop/rock fun packaged as a dirtbag boyband. Sadly, due to interview commitments we were unable to catch the band’s full set but here’s what happened in the part of their set we caught on the day. Opening with Cut Corners on Short Walks, the crowd lit up and an air of happiness surrounded everyone at the N4 stage. For anyone who wasn’t sure who they were watching, vocalist/bassist Iain Gillespie cleared that up informing the crowd “we’re Slipknot without masks on“. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again but the band’s fanbase and the band’s love for their fans is truly admirable which is partially why it’s such an exciting set to watch. It’s impossible to not dance along to Good Rhymes For Bad Times with its sickly, sweet harmonies. Dual vocals from Gillespie and Callum Litchfield (who even took the time to just down and high-five all those down the front!), a bouncing crowd and the gorgeous sunshine helped make Heaven Sent Is A Coffee Cup one of our highlights of the whole day. We chatted to the band later in the day and can confirm, they’re just as bright and delightful offstage! Keep an eye out for the interview over the coming days. 8/10

In what was without a shadow of the doubt, the most anthem filled set of the day was when The Wombats took over the main stage. Kicking off with Moving To New York, the crowd didn’t need any time to get warmed up as front to back were singing along and opening those pits up to Matthew Murphy and co. Offering up a packed set of tracks taken from their five studio albums, there were moments suited to fans both old and new from rowdy Kill The Director to their take on a love song; If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You. Some bands are just made to be performing outside with the sun beating down and The Wombats are one of these bands. As Murphy summarised; “I know it’s hot and you’re probably dehydrated and somewhat effed up” prior to Lemon To A Knife Fight it was exactly how the crowd were feeling, but did it stop them giving the band every bit of their energy and love? No chance! Closing off their set with a trio of indie-bangers in the form of Greek Tragedy, Let’s Dance To Joy Division and Turn as the crowd drowned out the band onstage; you did feel like Christmas had come early for everyone watching their set. 7/10

As with any day festival, clashes happen and as we reached the later part of the day this became more evident. Earlier on in the day we’d seen a flyer with a mysterious QR code on, spiking our curiosity and leading us to find out it was promoting Liverpool duo Police Car Collective. Despite the clash with The Wombats which caused a heavy reduced crowd size, we headed along unsure of what we’d find. Worlds apart from the indie-pop on the mainstage, the band provided chaotic electro tracks proclaiming “I wanna be famous” and even their take on Jump Around which led the intimate audience to do just that. Referencing that awkward clash, the duo acknowledged the support of those who had watched them “Thanks for being here and not listening to that bang sing about Joy Division or whatever they do” (the band’s set finished prior to this track so fans got to witness both!). Police Car Collective are set to take on Reading and Leeds Festival this year, which will no doubt see them getting the attention deserve. Sadly we felt we hadn’t seen the best of the duo today but we know we want to see more of what they’re about in the future. 6/10

Bringing his grunge-pop sound to Community was Daisy Brain, again due to interview commitments we were unable to catch the full set on the N4 stage. Opening his set with latest single Small Matters which touches upon reaching that breaking point we all have; here the audience of those who may have stumbled upon the set or be one of the many dedicated fans which Daisy Brain have acquired, saw just what they’re all about. His set encompassed sultry vocals, edgy-distorted guitar lines and choruses which are impossible to get out of your head. Our short taster of Daisy Brain live showed us why they’ve been on many of the ‘ones to watch’ lists recently and with a support slot with Lauran Hibberd and headline dates later this year we know we’ll be hearing a lot more of them. 8/10

From a headline show at The O2 arena last year to the main stage of Community Festival, Nothing But Thieves kicked off their set with hit Futureproof. During fan-favourite Is Everybody Going Crazy? That’s exactly what the packed-out main stage crowd were doing as pits erupted, items were flying through the air and the temperature continued to increase. Over the decade which the band have been on the scene, their profile has risen, their sound has evolved but one thing which hasn’t changed is their tight knit friendship; those moments of looking at each other and realising this was all their doing and hard work paid off. With a supportive crowd giving back as much to the band as was received from them, Sorry saw the crowd taking over the chorus of the track as Conor Mason (in a banana themed outfit) listened on and smiled in awe. There were opportunities for breathers as the pace was slowed down during emotive number Particles which made way for a chance to just admire the musicianship and talent, we were watching in front of us soundtracked by the haunting vocals of Mason. Even after battling with a rapidly reducing crowd due to their crossover with Circa Waves over on the N4 stage, this was a really special set to witness from the band. Closing their set with a confetti-filled Impossible, as we’ve watched the band’s journey over the year’s we were left wondering what actually is impossible for them to achieve? 8/10

Closing Community Festival 2022 was Two Door Cinema Club and after such a busy and brilliant line-up before them, the pressure really was on. Throwing the audience into a frenzy with opener I Can Talk then into Undercover Martyn (completed with confetti, obviously) this is why they’re one of the slickest indie outfits in the game. Complete with a hypnotising light show, new single Wonderful Life was layered with guitar-rock lines and electro-influenced keys. It’s been a while since the band have played in London, which helped to create a full-on party atmosphere across Finsbury Park and as Alex Trimble reminded the crowd “you’ve survived the 40 degree heat” (it was only 30 but definitely felt hotter) part of them was definitely celebrating the cooler surroundings of the evening breeze. TDCC are one of ‘those’ bands where you just simply forget how many indie anthems until the opening notes begin. Rounding off their set with What You Know, it was uplifting, joyous ending to the set. However, an underwhelming part of their set was the setlist as with their new album Keep On Smiling around the corner, they played on the safe-side with a plethora taken from their debut album Tourist History meaning at times the setlist felt a little too samey for our liking. But regardless, we all left with a smile on our face and dancing out of the park but wishing for something a bit more special given their headliner status. 6/10

Community Festival was a day where we fell back in love with some of our old favourites but found new favourites thanks to the upcoming talent showcased on the day. Hopefully 2023’s edition will continue to bring all the indie-lovers to the beautiful surroundings of Finsbury Park.

Written By: Nicola Craig

Photo Credit: Caitlyn Ebsworthy

Photo gallery features Courting, CRAWLERS, Alfie Templeman, Pale Waves, Daisy Brain, Nothing But Thieves and Two Door Cinema Club

Nicola Craig
Head of Live with an unwavering love for the seaside, live music and writing about others instead of myself. Twitter: @nicolalalalar